Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The healing power of feminine company

I had a few toxic friendships with girls growing. The first most notable was the girl across the street with the vegetarian cats (I hope this makes you cringe). She seemed to have it out for me, though none of us are sure hwy. She went out of her way to try and get me to leave whenever a playdate was arranged for the three of us: my sister, the girl, and me. I remember going home crying on more than one occasion. I remember she doted on my sister a lot. I wonder now why she acted that way, what was missing in her life. I don't think it occurred to me to speak up about how upset this made me at the time.

Later, I had some Muskateer friendships, that is, three people who are all very close and play together and in pairs. It's hard to hang out when there's three of you, esp. when the members of the group are inclined to jealousy. If the other two played without me, I would often get pranked by them. Even when we were all together, I felt like I was picked on. Again, it didn't occur to me that this wasn't okay and I don't think I talked about it much. I just thought I had to try harder for them to like me, to see me as an equal. There were several rocky periods with those two girls, including a time when I shut both of them out. We grew apart over time. Even when I had girl friends and it was just the two of us, I often felt over-shadowed by my playmates. I think I have always been attracted to very passionate personalities. I see this now in most of my friendships and relationships.

In high school, the next Muskateer friendship I had ended when I felt abandoned by one of them during a very difficult time in my life. I attempted suicide and it seemed like she was avoiding me. In retrospect, it was probably difficult for her as well. I'm sure no one has any idea how to help a friend in that kind of situation. I don't think anyone saw it coming. Over the years, I've forgiven her, but I know now that we would have little in common so I don't see a point in trying to reconnect. There's also a lot in that period of my life that I just can't remember anymore, so trying to reminisce would be very difficult for me. It seems unfair to put someone else through that.

This past weekend, some of the "girls" in my group of friends has a Girly Night. Specifically, it was meant to be a Girly As F*ck Girly Night, but it didn't really end up going that route. I had a really nice time just chatting and relaxing with these women, getting to know them better and sharing stories. I felt heard. Most of my life, I've felt like no one listens to me, that I don't know how to speak up in a group, but in this fem group, there was no difficulty. I felt like they cared about what I had to say. It may sound silly, but it was a very healing experience for me.

I have shied away from specific feminine characteristics over the years, being very careful about how I identify myself outwardly as a woman. Pink hair is okay, but pink clothes are not. Painting nails should be done only with dark colors. I tend to wear earthy tones and fear floral patterns. Maybe that will not change, but I feel a little more adventurous now. There are people in my life now who I feel like I can talk to about all of that.

For a long time, I've said that it's easier for me to get along with dudes than chicks. I think I got turned off by a path that had been hurtful for me and went for the easier option. Masculine personalities in our culture are generally defined by being blunt, straight-forward, and simple in many ways. I felt too stupid to try and get to know feminine people, not because femininity is defined by things like trickery and subversive behavior (stereotypes like that really piss me off), but because I was so afraid of getting it wrong and being bullied again. I'm less afraid now. I know I have people in my life that will back me up and I am self-aware enough that I am comfortable cutting off contact with toxic people.

2 comments:

  1. I have also had trouble with female friendships. Maybe I'll address this in my journal. It's been such a struggle. I'm glad we get to see each other and hang out for semi-girly weekends.
    I think guys were easier to get along with in high school and in college. Now, it seems like for me, feeling complicate everything and I'm stuck without guy friends once they get a girlfriend or once I don't date them in a timely manner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm curious how my guy friends view my friendship now that I'm married. I've had quite a few people tell me that (straight) men can't be friends with (straight) women b/c the men always want to get in the women's pants.

      Delete