I find that I withhold a lot of personal information in fear of looking too vulnerable. I think that in my past, I attracted some manipulative sorts and my vulnerability was their feeding ground. Now, at the age of 47, I am aware that this illusive persona I created has only hurt me and that what happened to me in the past is just that—the past. I realize through fits and starts with women, that I really NEED them. I don’t have to divulge my deepest, darkest secrets to them. I don’t need to use them as therapists, I mean there are psychologists for that and no one likes a whiner. We all have our shit to work out. It’s not fair to unload it on a person that’s not trained or equipped to manage that info. What my female friends do help me out with is making me realize I’m not crazy. When I am furious with my husband because I am working, taking care of the kids, my health (cancer), my house, my dog, launching a product, doing all the grocery shopping, cooking, taking my youngest to various activities, writing papers like this (come up for air) and he still hasn’t finished the last ceiling tile in our basement, or finish our kitchen floor—you get the idea, my female friends corroborate my anger. I breathe and realize I am not Lady Macbeth, but a normal woman with quite a normal reaction. That bonding is worth it’s weight in gold.
There is no greater power than the general empathy and understanding women have for each other. It makes me feel like I am not alone in the world. They make me feel guarded and protected and validated when I get angry. They rally behind me when I have a project I am working on. My female friends acknowledge my hard work and praise me for it. They also tell me the truth. They are honest and forthright. If I am being unfair, they will tell me, If I am being close minded—that too. It’s taken a long time to develop true friendships. In part, because I wasn’t sure how approach these relationships and told them too much too soon. Now, I realize that the relationship between women is like a tango dance—based on instincts, sharp and direct, give and take and of course—beautiful.
Paula, New York