“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” ~ Audre Lorde
I never expected to receive a transforming therapy session from a dentist I found on Groupon at 9 a.m.
But with my mouth cranked wide open and a sickle probe carving away at my tartar, my dentist, a woman in her early 40s, served me just that.
Moments earlier, her assistant, a girl from Sudan with a supple cocoa complexion and creamy teeth, confessed to me in Arabic that it’s been challenging for her to make friends in Austin. Smiling, but unable to respond as she scrubbed my pearls with Maraschino cherry toothpaste, I attempted a response by batting my eyelashes and lifting my wrist excitedly to imply, “I’m your friend!”
I left the clinic with two new contacts on my phone, a list of book suggestions, and a fiesta of neurons firing. The dentist, it turns out, had curated a TEDx event in Austin for the Empowerment of Women in Entrepreneurship—women (or dots, as she called them) she’d connect me with soon.
I see what you’re doing here Universe…
But if meeting a physician who believes in and practices the Law of Attraction wasn’t enough for life’s magic to demand my attention—“it’s no accident you’re here,” she reminded me gingerly—other supernatural moments have helped break down my skepticism as well.
Women have been randomly popping up in my life either physically or virtually, warming me with unexpected love these past few weeks. A photographer whose work I’ve admired for months, but never had the courage to reach out to, messaged me out of the blue. A second cousin, who shares my name and a birthday the day after mine but whom I’ve never met, created a safe space for me to ramble over Whatsapp. A friend I haven’t seen in years spontaneously landed in Austin for a visit.
It is not always obvious just how much reassurance we need, or how far we’ll go in search of it. The glue on a broken soul isn’t visible to the naked eye. We have to take a deep dive into another’s experience to yank out the weeds and to water a heart that’s been long dried up.
Unfortunately, not all of us have this kind of support system around us or the vulnerability to keep our hearts cracked open despite the circumstances. Religion, tradition, and culture play a big role in how transparent a woman feels she can be with other women. I am equal parts stubborn and blessed to have forged relationships in lands where sisterhood does not often bloom.
But it wasn’t always so. When I was younger and overly focused on my exterior (the easiest way to be validated), I often attracted the company of men. And it’s not that men don’t make amazing friends—they do. My male friends are active listeners and always find the humor in gloomy situations. But sisterhood has the unique ability to power glue a heart together without leaving any trails of the procedure. The combination of a woman’s empathy and her motherly instinct (even if she isn’t one) is piercing.
During my lowest lows these past few weeks—try to imagine thick curly hair that hasn’t been washed or brushed in days, a generous spread of acne, and a musky body odor that intrigues and deters at the same time—life placed women I know well and women I’ve never met at the forefront of awakening me back to my worth.
Audre Lorde speaks extensively about the power of sisterhood, and now I understand why. The word “feminism” doesn’t travel as lightly or as far as “sisterhood,” even though both carry the same weight of intention.
Whatever word you choose to use, the point is this:
Sisters, we need each other. We make this world a calmer and more accepting place not just to live in but to thrive in. I never thought I could walk forward with conviction—insecurities, flaws, doubts and all. With the power of the Internet, I have seen women let their guards down and invite other women to do the same.
Your work is powerful. Your words are powerful. Your love is powerful.
Our world needs a lot of healing right now, and it’s refreshing to see women everywhere working their magic in their corners of the world. Where I come from, many females still struggle with rivalry and betrayal, but with my life’s work and that of the brave women carrying out their dharma, I suspect we can bridge this gap together.
Ladies of the world, thank you for reminding me and so many other humans to stay vulnerable and to keep our hearts cracked open to let love in, so that they may radiate that love back to those who need it.
After falling off the rails for a while, I finally feel like myself again—and it is entirely due to your sisterhood.
Author: Elsa Moreck
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis