I looked around the living room of my home, on my fortieth birthday and I realised how lucky I was to be surrounded by those who meant most to me. I was also surrounded by the wishes and love of even those who couldn’t be there with me in person. I felt blessed.
I also realised that I had finally become my true age. My age has finally caught up with my body, mind and soul. I had always been in a hurry to grow up, as a teenager I couldn’t wait to be officially an adult, most of my closest friends in my twenties were at least eight to 10 year older than me. As I came in to my late thirties I finally started bringing in to my life, men and women closer to my age. I was 40 and finally feeling comfortable.
When I look around this room I also realised that I have been abundantly blessed with my girl friends. My living room had many of them seated around my coffee table, eating finger food, drinking wine and connecting with each other, because some of them come from different social networks and don’t always meet. I had my school friend of 30 years, I had friends who were my work colleagues almost 15 years ago, and I had friends who were my clients and then became firm friends. I missed a couple of friends who studied with me on my MSc in England, but I knew they were there in spirit.
Apart from my family who I have been so blessed to have been born to, these were my chosen family. They helped me to get to this birthday, with some tears, a lot of conversations, lots of cups of teas, a lot of hand holding, but always and always with lots and lots of giggles and laughter.
There is something about your friendships with your girl friends that’s special. That’s more intimate. That is more knowing. That is more open. I am finally at that age that I can look back at the evidence and appreciate the kind of support and love that women can give each other.
As girl friends we have held, loved, supported, hugged and sometimes pushed each other when needed. We have been gentle and brutal with the truth with each other. We have held mirrors to each other. We have stood by the wrongs, the rights, the hurts and joys.
Women to women relationships are not without their issues and complexities. However, for most part I have been incredibly lucky with the women who have helped my with the patchwork quilt that is my life. I think of the movie ‘How to make an American quilt’ and the women who sit around the table weaving their stories in to the quilt. I get that. We are complex creatures with our little peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies. Yet, we care enough about each other to love each other for it and sometimes despite it. And together we help each other through the patterns that our lives, and help us sew them, treasure them in to a canvass so that our lives will be witnessed and acknowledged and made to feel worthy, and so that others can snuggle under, be warmed, be covered and comforted by the lives we have created for ourselves.
How to make an American Quilt … the movie shows the up and downs of women in friendships as they help a young girl find herself and love.
Something that women often do, is have many many conversations, tell each other stories, over many many cups of tea, coffee, glasses of wine. So to all my girl friends that I do this with, who I hold close in my heart, and to all the girl friends I am yet to meet and have coffee with, I dedicate this poem.
Women bringing to life our stories
Exposing, exploring, expanding our lives
we talk our lives in to shape, in to form, into stories,
in to the future
making meaning, shaking, dusting and reinventing the past,
laughing and teasing out the ridiculousness, the irony, the sadness, the hurts, the anger
bearing into joyfullness, into loveliness, in to abundance
in to the present
in to the witch in us, the sex goddess, the angel, the hussy, the mother, the little girl
enfolding our children, our husbands, our lovers, our parents, our friends, our enemies
making stories in each others lives
from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the profane to the sacred
choosing our battles, winning wars
reclaiming lost selves, crafting our outer and inner clothes
unabashedly wallowing in the muddy murky waters of not knowing
diving deep in to the clear blue sea to cleanse
like mermaids that come up for looking for lost love
we come ashore and then go back again in
to the primordial womb
when we know we are losing ourselves
we sigh, we cry, we laugh, we scream
in anger, in joy, in love, in pain, in delight
circling our stories
kneading, baking, brewing, munching, cutting, sewing, knitting, painting, crafting ourselves
in to each other, in to ourselves, in to the world
creating, meshing, moulding, finding our selves
witnessing, acknowledging, loving, accepting
the female soul
the female self
Wishing you too be held lovingly, comfortingly and wisely by your friends
blessings and love, always,
Image credits of the quilt : http://knittingiris.typepad.com/knitting_iris/2008/08/the-handful-that-really-caught-my-eye.html
(C) Mihirini de Zoysa, Please feel free to share my articles and poems, with credit to me and link to the website/page.