OPINION: We consistently overvalue romantic relationships and undervalue sisterhood
Insecure gave us Waiting to Exhale vibes on Sunday night. The spirit of Bernadine, Robin, Gloria, and Savannah were in the building on Sunday’s episode . It was a beautiful reminder to all of us about the power of friendship.
And I’m specifically talking about female friendships. (I love my fellas, but this one is for the ladies.)
There is something magical about the intimacy of our sisterhoods. The way we lift each other up while still holding each other down. The way we can interchangeably be both mother and daughter to each other throughout the life of our friendships.
We open ourselves up to each other in ways that men sometimes find difficult. We let ourselves truly be seen by each other. Our vulnerability spills over into a beautiful trust that pushes our relationships to higher heights of love. We see one another at our worst and hold up mirrors to each other to remind us of our best.
Like the magic of homemade biscuits drizzled with honey butter, we pour divine love over each other and soak in every ounce of sisterly love we receive in return. A tap straight from a pure, unfiltered source. A motherly source. Our wombs are not just for making babies. They imbue our essence with a natural ability to nurture, soothe, or call you to the carpet, depending on what’s needed. These motherly vibes, escape us with ease, finding a welcomed home among each other. We are the warm hug that comforts and cradles because we built that way.
If we learned nothing from Sunday’s episode of Insecure, we learned one important lesson. Water your friendships. This lesson can’t be overstated. Our friendships are the steady hand that helps keep stability and balance present in our daily lives.
It was through this kind of friendship that Issa and the crew grounded each other in Sunday’s episode. From Molly snatching Issa’s phone while she was drinking and dialing her ex, to Kelli, through tears, reassuring Tiffany that they would make their friendship work despite her move to Denver — these women were the living, breathing embodiment of the safety net that sisterhood provides.
And I purposely use the term sisterhood because I’m not talking about just one friend. I’m talking about our tribes as a whole. They do together what one person is incapable of accomplishing alone. Through this interwoven fabric of various personalities — the Kellis whose humor tempers the bougieness of our Tiffanys, and the Issas and Mollys who mutually bring us back to center — this patchwork of women builds a balanced and consistent support system that has the foundation to go the distance.
Where else can you get that kind of consistency? We think it’ll come from “the right” romantic relationship, but even the best relationships, in all their amazing beauty, have rough patches. Even the best relationships have moments that feel like the lowest of the low. Even the best relationships make you feel like you need a break. Yet, we consistently overvalue the support of romantic relationships and undervalue that of our friendship circles.
We pour so much of our energy into our romantic lives. Our man becomes our priority. He gets the majority of our time. We hold that joy up above all other joys. Even when we’re single, we expend our energy on pity parties about our singlehood or by dreamily wrapping our future plans around finding Mr. Right. Finding love (or even just a bevy of hoes to keep us company) is on everyone’s to-do list and gets prime time chunks of our energy.
And all of this is understandable. When love feels good, it feels good.
When you’re in love, your hips have a little more motion in their sway. You feel radiant and vibrant. The energy around you feels so divine that it’s almost as if God himself hand picked this tune for your heart to play. No woman could ever feel more beautiful than a woman in love.
But when love feels bad, it feels bad. It can be gut-wrenching. It can lay you flat on your back, having you forget about all the beauty you possess. It can slice you open so swiftly and have your heart pouring into the streets without hesitation. Have you praying that you never even knew love’s name in the first place.
This up-and-down roller coaster of romantic love speaks to the importance of the steady hand of sisterhood. When you have sisters, the lows of the romance aren’t so low. Someone is there to pick you up, talk you back into your senses, and remind you who you are. The best sisterhoods help you to be better for your romantic relationship. They are not there to compete or detract.
But as a community, we like to have this ranking system and competition between sisterhood and romantic relationships. When truth be told, none of this was ever designed to be a competition with one another. Both romance and friendships are necessary. They can and should co-exist. Both bring puzzle pieces to our lives that help fill in the whole picture. They both work to support our well-being, so we must value the role they both play in our overall well-being. We have to begin respecting the importance of sisterhood in our lives.
As Molly said during the episode, “We have to be intentional with the people we love.” That means being purposeful about how much we are pouring into our friendships. That requires us to be better about showing up, even when we’re in romantic relationships. Our friendships are the safe spaces that we can run to when we have the misfortune of running into our ex, his baby mama, and their break baby.
These spaces are where we can share our fears about experiencing postpartum in a new city. Where the Mollys among us can find the same superwoman support that they consistently give to others. It’s where we can cry and laugh and cry again. These spaces are often our source of strength when we have exhausted all others. So, let’s water them, so they can blossom into the gardens that they are meant to be.
Kamaria is an attorney, poet, writer, and lover of all things created #ForTheCulture. She runs a blog, ‘Words of My Mother,’ has lived all over the DMV (heavy on the V), and enjoys skating, debating, and car karaoke. (Because, why not?!) She can be reached on Twitter at @like_tha_moon.
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