...or so I've heard. Granted I've used an inflammatory title to lure you in, I don't believe that one bit. And that's what this entry is about and since you're here you might as well stay for the read.
I was born the youngest child to four boys, making me not only the youngest but the only girl. I never had sisters. And in a way, I imagine God knew what he was doing by not giving me any. He was perhaps setting my heart up for my calling, and creating a purpose of my pain. I always kinda quietly mourned that I never got blessed with biological sisters. I'm sure if I had, I undoubtedly would've been a social recluse because I would've made a home of my sisters never thinking to entertain company with any other general crowds.
It truly would've been me and my sisters against the world. But because that wasn't Gods plan for me, I reorganized destiny in a way that could work for me. I simply made sisters of my friends; but of course that was a more diluted version of sisterhood because there's just an exclusive spiritual tie that bonds those who've come to life through the same birth canal, which is solidified by blood relation creating a life-long loyalty. I knew I would never have that intimate experience with another woman, but to even have sisterfriends who could mirror just a modest fraction of that sacred bond satisfactorily compensated for that void. However, in inviting friends to be close to you and walk alongside you, something happens—the risk of betrayal. Throughout my series of friendships with people I call sister, I've learned not everyone will share the same sentiments about sisterhood. I've also learned that while sisters make for the perfect friends, they can make for the perfect ones to betray you as well. I learned this very early on and even wrote about an experience of betrayal in my first book which can be ordered at: http://www.lanishaporter.com/home.html.
If I pattern my thoughts to believe all women secretly mean harm, and are incapable of being sisters, then it’s easy to become socially dislocated while subconsciously demonstrating behavioral patterns that are resistant to nurturing those sisterly bonds.
From that experience very early on, I had the choice to distrust women and always assume the worst about them. From my experiences of being bullied, talked about, being lied to, manipulated, and laughed at by girls who look like me and share my heritage, I could have very easily subscribed to the idea that would hold as a strong staple for a book titled "Black Women Make For Horrible Sisters," but I've always chose to rise above that cynical pattern of thought for 3 reasons.
Firstly, I believe that we give our minds permission to think; and so as a person thinketh, they become. If I pattern my thoughts to believe all women secretly mean harm, and are incapable of being sisters, then it’s easy to become socially dislocated while subconsciously demonstrating behavioral patterns that are resistant to nurturing those sisterly bonds. Secondly, I believe that it’s us everyday regular women who channel what the culture will be among other women. It is a widely-held conception that women have trouble working alongside one another without there being coveted rivalry and betrayal. If we wish to change that culture, we have to change what our day-to-day intimacies, or lack thereof, look like. Automatically assuming the worst from women perpetuates that culture. Lastly, it’s been my sisterfriends that have uplifted me and inducted me into the society of true womanhood based on the strength of their love.
Overall, I have always felt safe enough to embrace women as sisters opposed to expecting them to become enemies. However, that hasn’t made people shy away from advising me that I shouldn’t be so trusting of women and their ability to be a sister for a very simple reason—jealousy. It has been offered to me that the more exposure I gain in my career, the more selective I should become of the sisterfriends I keep around me simply because there will be people anxious to see me fail and eclipse my shine. NOW…I’m not sure there’s anyone who thinks more highly of me than my own self (well maybe my dad) but even I don’t believe people just sit around and use their precious time to strategize on the best ways to bring me down. (Now…wait! Before you decide that I’m naïve, please keep reading) I don’t worry about anyone beating me out for opportunities because as a believer I know that what is FOR me is sealed by the power of fate and dead-bolted with the security of destiny. That puts me at ease. Ergo, I am not always on defense priming myself to believe every woman I meet will become jealous of me. Nor do I conclude that from every episode of conflict that someone is jealous and/or is hating. In fact, I think that’s a very underdeveloped way to look at the world. I think it’s the cheapest excuse to employ that avoids taking accountability for one’s action. I think before we assume that the world is hating and/or is jealous of us, we need do a self-evaluation and reflect on what we could have done to create friction in that relationship; because perhaps you actually did do something inadvertently. I always take it upon myself to self-check to ensure I am being a fair sisterfriend to the women around me—especially if I sense there is or was tension that’s unaddressed. Admittedly, some people just will not like you for your success because it forces them to take inventory of the success they don’t have; but STILL, I do think it is unhealthy to create your own fanfare and assume that everybody is hating on you so you shun away the idea of sisterfriends.
Someone's vent of personal information shouldn't make for a serving of tea to be shared among a circle of others, behind their back. Someone's absence of knowledge isn't a chance to ridicule them. In sisterhood these instead should be moments to teach, console, build trust, encourage, and motivate.
I contend that if we all aimed to just be better friends, the importance of sisterhood would be celebrated more. As women we should know that someone's weakness isn't a chance to showcase how much bigger you are. Someone's vent of personal information shouldn't make for a serving of tea to be shared among a circle of others, behind their back. Someone's absence of knowledge isn't a chance to ridicule them. In sisterhood these instead should be moments to teach, console, build trust, encourage, and motivate. When one fails to do so, they--in fact--are being a horrible sister. Sisterhood is a current that has carried women through the darkest of times. It has been a tenet to the very survival of women from generation to generation. We, especially as Black women, often get cultural amnesia and look at other women and don't realize you, but for the grace of God, are her. When I hear Black women divorce sisterhood or their ability to have tolerance for other women—saying things like “Girls are messy. That’s why I don’t mess with them” it makes me cringe. It acts as an indicator letting me know that perhaps an understanding of her own history escapes her. It is basic knowledge that the best way to conquer is to divide. Therefore, when us women offer our own division, I wonder if we realize how much easier it makes for us to be conquered and squandered by the social ills that pit women against one another. We are stronger together than we will ever be on our own.
Being a sister is a constant test of loyalty, integrity, and positivity. Being a good sister has been something I’ve learned through a continual process. I do not wear a crown of perfection but each day I make it a rule for myself to be the sister to other girls that I’ve always dreamed of someone being for me. I hold many secrets of great sensitivity belonging to other women such as tales of abortions, STDs, suicide attempts, infidelities, rape and more--but neeeeverrr has it crossed my mind to share that information, even in betrayal, because there's a certain level of privacy and respect you afford to someone that you consider a sister. Although I’ve been turned against before, and have experienced the lows of sisterhood, it is with a blowout in comparison that I’ve been blessed with tremendous highs in my sisterships as well. The speck of bad will by no means ever dissolve the love in my heart I have for the service and community of sisterhood. Whether it’s lending a shoulder to cry on, consoling my sister through her f**kboy issues, being bedside by my sister while she’s in labor, offering an uncomfortable but necessary truth, or playing assistant to my sister while she bosses me around because she has an event and needs help—I am here for it. And as a call to action, I encourage my Black sisters to get on board too. There is a generation of young girls forming their own ideas about sisterhood and womanhood based on the very exchanges they see from us older women. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that it has been my Black sister queens that have taken me in, clothed me, supported me, lent out couches, cars and money when needed, but I am also saddened to admit that it is also my own kind who I’ve become more guarded around because I know they would betray me if provided the chance. That mentioned…to Black women I say: Do better.
Welcome to my views from this horizon!