Sisterhood is a word that I have written about many times and discussed frequently in Women’s Studies classes. I understood its meaning. I understood the concept. It was not until the last few months that I have experienced it personally and come to fully understand it. You see I have never been a “girls girl.” I played sports growing up, had a few close friends that were girls, but I always had more friends that were guys. My experiences with some girls throughout my childhood and teenage years left a bad taste in my mouth. As an adult I worked with lots of women, sometimes more women than I cared for.
I have always held very strong feminist values and beliefs but dealing with women on a day-to-day basis was something I did not like to do. When I first started working with UniteWomen.org a close friend of mine found it ironic that I had joined and was working with a group that was filled with women. I admit I could see the irony as well.
I am proud to say that has changed.
I wake up every morning excited to start the day working with the most amazing, intelligent, and passionate women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I was also one of the those people who thought there was no way that you could form relationships online with people you would never meet in person.
I am proud to say that has changed as well.
You see UniteWomen.org has taught me what sisterhood truly means. I now understand the magic that sisterhood is. I have relationships with amazing women all over the country, all over the world, that I may never meet but yet we are kindred spirits. We are sisters. Some of these women I have had the pleasure of meeting in person. Some women I have talked to on the phone or on google hangout. Some of these women I have only been able to talk to through emails, private messages, chats, or in private groups on Facebook. Some women I have not talked to at all. Here’s the thing though – even if I have not yet had the opportunity to talk to them online or on the phone there is still a sisterhood that exists.
I have come to fully understand the sisterhood that exists with the women that I have formed close relationships with now. I cannot imagine my life without these women in it. However, what has happened in the last 48 hours caused me to discover a sisterhood I never knew existed. It is a sisterhood that exists outside of textbooks, outside of concepts. It is a sisterhood that exists through kindred spirits. It is a sisterhood that brought tears flowing from my eyes.
You see UniteWomen.org lost a member of our family. It was not because of a disagreement or because work and family obligations had to take precedence. We lost a member of our family to the ultimate loss of a person – death. This incredible, excited, amazing woman stepped up just a few weeks ago to become the State Director for Rhode Island. She was excited and determined to lead the women in her state to make a difference for those who perhaps had no voice or did not have the ability to step up and lead. She raised her hand and said “I will do it!” She not only stepped up but was proud and excited to be part of UniteWomen.org and to get to the task at hand of fighting for women’s rights. She told her friends about her decision and how proud she was, and how excited she was to get started making a difference in the world.
I remember the day her Regional Director gave the exciting news to our group that a wonderful woman from Rhode Island had taken the challenge to step up and take on this momentous leadership role. I sent a friend request on Facebook to this new member of our UniteWomen.org family last week. I saw her post in her state group encouraging the members of the Rhode Island UniteWomen.org family. I spent the next several days providing information to the group in Rhode Island and noticed that our new State Director had not posted in a few days. I didn’t think much of it because it is summer and everyone is enjoying the break with family and friends.
Then I received the news from a dear sweet friend of hers. When I read the message I was immediately in shock. The tears started flowing down my face and I felt such a tremendous sadness and sense of loss. In the 24 hours since, I have sat and cried several times with other women who I am close with. The sense of loss I felt was so deep. I tried to sleep last night and tossed and turned all night. This news had shaken me and affected me in a way that I could not comprehend.
I had not yet had the opportunity to speak with this woman, not online, not on the phone. I had never seen what she looked like because her profile pic was a sock monkey, which I loved because I love sock monkeys. I looked forward to talking to her, to finding out why she had to come to join our family, and what her story was. I looked forward to asking about her sock monkey and telling her about my love of sock monkeys, which included sock monkey Christmas ornaments that my mother had found for me. I looked forward to helping her get started on this new journey on which she was going to embark and help her along the way. I realized the tears I cried was for the loss of a woman I knew would be a kindred spirit. I knew she would become part of my new family – the sisterhood that is what I now know.
I felt guilty for not sending my friend request sooner because I had been wrapped up in the details of our organization. If I had just sent that request sooner then I could have had the opportunity to meet and talk with this kindred spirit who would become part of this incredible sisterhood that so many of us share.
However, I have reconciled that guilt with the thoughts expressed by her close friend, that this kindred spirit I had not had the chance to talk to, was excited and proud to be part of UniteWomen.org. It was then that I realized just how deep this sisterhood runs. It is the “thing” that cannot be expressed adequately in words. It is the “thing” that no one can truly understand until they experience it for themselves. It is the “thing” that makes us powerful.
So wherever you are right now I hope you are watching us and know that we are proud to have you part of our family. We will carry on this fight. We will raise our voices to stand up for women everywhere. I will never again put off sending that friend request and reaching out because I let my to-do list get in the way. I am sorry I did not get to talk to you. I am so sorry that I did not get to experience your wicked humor, your smile, or your passion but I promise that never again will I let the opportunity pass to meet another kindred spirit and to expand the sisterhood that is UniteWomen.org.
Sweet kisses and hugs. May you rest in peace while your sisters carry on your passion and joy. (by the way every time I look at my sock monkeys I will always think of you now)
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