Thank God For Sisterhood

I always wanted a sister, so I joined a sorority. I admired the women who had come before me, and looked forward to growing with them as part of my tribe.

Unfortunately, everything you meant for good doesn’t always turn out that way. That road was rocky and dramatic. I settled in on my core group of sisters among the hundreds of thousands of sorors my organization has. My core group would get me through.

I retreated to forging friendships outside of that sisterhood, too. Women I could let loose with without the drama of a Greek affiliation trailing behind them. Most of those flames, though, were extinguished before they were fully lit. It was as if every time I struck the match, the lips of God blew it out.

I stressed myself trying to create meaningful relationships, that I ended up having to cancel more people than I could call on. People’s baggage wasn’t good for my health, and while we all come with it, it was important for me to recognize how much of it I could carry, and frankly, whose was worth carrying.

No matter how many ways I tried to force connections, none of them mattered. The women who weren’t meant for me simply weren’t meant for me. While I had never been a stranger to knowing how and when to release friendships, I recognized that I also had to learn how to nurture and protect them. I had to learn how to open myself up to receive women who cared about my well-being. I had to learn to discern which friendships were for me and which weren’t — and I couldn’t hold onto my hurt ego from those that weren’t meant for me. I had to get accustomed to letting my guard down and opening my heart to those who were put here for me. And, I had to welcome friendship — and sisterhood — in the many variations of which it came.

See, not all relationships will be long-lasting, nor years in the making. Some friendships will feel like forever when it’s only been one week. Some will last a short period of time, but leave a lasting impact. Sisterhood comes in all forms, and I’ve grown to hold onto each one of them.

Sisterhood can be different for us all, but how we digest it must be with love, gratitude, and utter appreciation for the gift it truly is.

Sisterhood is turning a brief meetup with Tassika, an internet friend who I’d never met, on campus into a community dinner and drinks, laughing like we’d been friends for years, considering ourselves kin by the end of the night.

It’s sharing my life with Nat, a young black woman whose first words were “I love your podcast,” thinking to myself how crazy she must think this inspirational writer is for divulging her life in the blue bubbles of iMessage, while being constantly reminded that though at first a supporter, she is now a friend.

It’s late nights and early mornings with my college best friend (and sophomore year roommate), India, synchronizing our watches so we could do things we had no business doing and come back to share about it at the same time—as we commemorated our friendship with a mural on my bedroom wall.

It’s shopping for my first apartment with my prophyte (now-neighbor) Eka, and celebrating my first lease with wine nights, outings, and a commitment to watch Power together.

It’s my linesister, Nini, teaching me how to squat in the woods outside of a house party during Spring Weekend when peeing was no longer an option, but an emergency. 

It’s Simone allowing me to claim her grandparents as my own, as we sat up late plenty of nights envisioning the speeches we’d give at each other’s wedding if we ever made it through all the trouble we got into after having lied to our parents that we were at each other’s house.

It’s Shae (aka Petty Wap), who I adopted as my own little sister after a weekend church outing to Holiday Hill, supporting each other through breakups, situationships, and various struggles with spirituality. 

It’s Ashley, who provided tips for my first accepted submission to xoNecole, unknowingly giving me the confidence I needed to do it again.

It’s Mikayla, a gorgeous spirit I met through a fraternity brother, sending me emergency texts about a glitch on the UGG site, and passing my name along to an Instagram group about the work I do.

It’s laughter with Shanee, a Myspace friend turned cousin who wiped the lipstick right off my face when approached with the opportunity to kiss the boy I’d been sweating for years — the woman who flew to CT and surprised me at my job with edible arrangements and tequila, committing ourselves to a weekend of fun after one of the most difficult breakups I’d ever experienced.

It’s my former work-auntie whose daughter I grew up with, keeping me sane during my years at the police department and continuing to root for me and watch me grow, ensuring I don’t miss any steps or come up short.

It’s the friends I made poolside in panama dishing about reality TV, filling up on piña coladas taking turns for who would get the next round and starting a game of volleyball with other black and brown folks that look like us.

It’s my co-workers who listen to me vent and offer up love, prayer, and loads of laughter to ensure we all make it through a challenging day. 

It’s the group chat conversations that offer encouragement and bomb advice about friend-zoning the man you don’t want. 

It’s all of these women and the ones unmentioned. It’s long-term bonds and short-term ones. It’s love and light and everything in between. It’s the good times and the bad. It’s authenticity and genuineness and vulnerability.

It’s divine connection — Something i finally learned to accept.

It’s in these renditions of sisterhood that I’ve found solace, security, and a safe space for me. These relationships — built on nothing but God’s divinity, good laughs, and trust — have provided comfort in my darkest moments, often times unbeknownst to the ones supplying it. These and the countless others I’ve been blessed to experience have fortified me in ways only black women could. These weren’t forced like the relationships I tried to cultivate years prior, these were natural. I didn’t have to fight for them or even find them, we came to each other; often times when I needed them the most, most times unexpected.

I am grateful for these relationships that are built from nothing but God’s love for me, and His love for us: Black women. And I am grateful that He has finally allowed me to experience the true beauty of what He has for those of us who choose to band together and love on one another.

Divinely orchestrated black female friendship is a pinnacle of self-love. I love me, a black woman, so I also love you, a black woman. This is where sisterhood is birthed. This is where it begins.

While I may not have a sister-circle or clique of friends who all get along, I do have a slew of sisters — near and far — who have stood in the gaps for me when they didn’t even realize it. I have both deep relationships and surface-level ones with amazing black women who have in some way — however permanent or temporary — contributed to my betterment.

on my journey of black womanhood i have been saved through the love of black women. I thank God every day for saving me through sisterhood.

This post is part of the DEAR QUEENS’ series Sisterhood Saved Me, dedicated to honoring, celebrating, and inspiring black female friendship.