I’m sitting in a Texas Starbucks near a large university. The Starbucks is filled with people, many of whom are young women in the midst of their college journeys. Some are giggling, others are working intently on their school work. And two girls sitting next to me are discussing their relationships, their experiences at college parties, and their beliefs about other women
When the two girls sat down, one of them asked the other, “So, are you (and your undefined boyfriend) still fighting?”
The other responded with, “I just told him, we’d talk later.”
The girls proceeded to speak about each of their undefined relationships and everything they do for the men they love: the cars they’ve loaned, the food they’ve purchased, the errands they’ve run, the verbal and emotional abuse they’ve withstood, the endless cycle of cheating, and the breaking up and making up.
They sat with one another plotting ways to make these men jealous, in an attempt to show them what they have.
The girls spoke about the women their beloved men slept with. Calling them whores. Asking one another if they were prettier, more desirable, worthier of love.
They recounted stories of kicking women out of the boy’s dorms, of calling them more hateful names, or demanding these other women never speak to “their men” again.
On and on they went. And it took everything inside me not to turn to them and ask them to stop and take a minute. Take a minute to breathe and reflect with me. To really think about who they were blaming, who they were questioning.
Instead of letting go of these boys who were clearly not ready to be partners, they set in on self doubt. They launched into comparison and hate. They tore down themselves and other women. They played games and manipulated, hoping love would arise.
But what these girls couldn’t see…they are completely worthy of love.
However, in order to really be ready for it, they need to love themselves, each other and all the other women out there.
If we do that, if women empower women, we learn our own strength, our own divine power, our own worthiness. And we refuse to allow little boys into our lives who play adolescent games.
When we come together in love, we become clear in our boundaries, in our wants and needs and we learn to communicate clearly with the support of the women around us.
I didn’t lean in and talk to these girls. I couldn’t find a way to do it with grace and tenderness, I was so stirred up I was nearly in tears, listening to this women blame themselves and blame each other. They were full of so much hate. And I was transported back to my own time in that vicious cycle of hate and self-loathing.
But it is a cycle we can break.
May we put our hate away, and breed love for ourselves and one another. This love, between a strong community of women, is far more important than the love of any man.
So, toady I send out tender healing love to you all and implore you the share it with the other women in your life!