My Sisters’ Keeper
Recently I’ve taken on reading empowering and entrepreneur type books to a) help build my empire and b) give me a break from scholarly articles and textbooks for school. Sometimes more so the latter. One theme that I keep coming across is the importance of having powerful and supportive women in your circle, yet what I feel I have seen throughout my career is women ready to shank the next woman who may or may not take their position. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been in jobs where I’ve received nothing but love and support from amazing women who will forever hold a special place in my heart. My problem is that not supporting each other…even once…is just far too many times.
One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was losing the friendship of a woman who I thought was my sister. I swear…I really think I would’ve preferred a million break ups with a guy because losing a woman who I thought was my sister was an unimaginable pain. But what came from this lesson was much more important. After recognizing that I was being used and quite honestly fooled, I learned what it meant to truly love me. To surround myself with those who believed in and encouraged me. To recognize my own potential and forgiving heart. Instead of pulling out the voodoo doll and going to town, I decided to end the friendship. In reality she wasn’t helping me grow and what was I really going to get out of calling her a bitch, staying angry, or trying to get her to see the pain she caused me. I realized that she wasn’t happy with herself and no matter what I said I couldn’t change her or get her to see my perspective. Plus that energy could be expended in bettering myself and supporting other women I love and believe in.
Moral of the story? My beautiful women of color, more than ever we need to stand together and build each other up. What I’ve learned from life and all these books is that we can’t be in competition with each other because we all bring our unique twist and ideas to what we do. No two social workers are the same. No two entrepreneurs are the same. Coca Cola and Pepsi, Chipotle and Quidoba….and yes I’m hungry….and so on. There is no other you and what better way to remember this when you have the support and love of other strong women. We can be the stepping stone, the right direction, the life force that pushes us through when moments like throwing in the towel become all too real.
Send that encouraging text message you’ve been meaning to, take your girl out for lunch, give her space, practice interview questions like you promised, encourage her to cry, and find time to be a friend or mentor. Let’s not compete, instead let’s listen to each other, encourage each other, and build empires for future black and brown little girls who are looking to us to break the norm. It’s our time to shine and the future is already that much brighter.