Yas Sis Yas!
“Sisterhood” is a word that is proclaimed, preached, encouraged, and spewed within the black female community. The word is used to entice a sense of unity, a coming togetherness, a declaration of a safe space for black women with varying experiences but a shared identity to be heard, to be understood, to be felt, to just Be.
But what makes a sisterhood?
What initiates the formation of a sisterhood?
It seems commonplace for sisterhoods to be formed from the standpoint of the struggles of being both black and female in this world. Deemed by many grandmas of old as a “double negative”. Formed from struggles of being undervalued in society, sometimes undervalued by our own men, other females, other races, being appropriated, stereotyped, hypersexualized, cast as less than beautiful… the list goes on. Sometimes we don’t understand or recognize how deeply those issues live in our psyche, Even if one has not experienced these things personally, the representation and the stories of these issues is widely known and felt. Henceforth, a mutual bond is born. A community of women demonstrating that together we can overcome the stigmas and pain. That you are not alone in these experiences. To aid in guiding you through the struggles. That our togetherness is our validation of these issues being real.
Sisterhoods also form as a means to promote the uplifting of each other. A desire to belong, a means to create a kinship that you weren’t born into but chose to grow with, a place of camaraderie, of emotional, mental, and spiritual support, of shared undertakings, of networking and empowerment. The community is created in this sense to appreciate the individual beauty, talents, experiences, and ideals of the black women involved as a healthy reflection of the whole.
“You can always tell who the strong women are… they are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.” -unknown
It needs to be considered and recognized however, that when it comes to finding, forming, or being a sister in sisterhood, it is not so much the mission or popularity of the group that weighs its success, but of each woman themselves. That’s right, a genuine, and flourishing sisterhood starts with YOU, the individual. With the energy you are harnessing within yourself, on your own accord. The self-motivation to do better for you first. For what is a sisterhood if we remove the context of feeling excluded? Of being “forced” to support each other because the assumptions/experiences that if we don’t, no one else will? Of external dynamics of society, men, cliquey women etc? What can a sisterhood feel like when the support begins from an individual internal effort?
Fulfilling. Yourself fulfilled, in turn strengthening the sisterhood. You’re a brick in this growing structure of unifying sisters. Constructing a greater platform for the betterment of black women in this world. But if that platform wishes to stand tall… their must be quality and accountability in every brick that is laid.
Sisterhood is a bond between black women who truly know, honor, love and promote each other. But, to genuinely give that to another, you have to learn and apply it to yourself. To know, honor, love, and promote yourself and your journey. When the driving force that brings you to the community starts with recognizing the building of these qualities within yourself, this creates a bond, a sisterhood of the purest kind. It’s organic, unforced, unassuming.
Just as with “when one of us wins, we all win” (I’m rooting for everybody Black” -Issa Rae); that energetic principle holds the same with forming and participating in sisterhood, except the “win” and work begins internally and moves outwardly. The self-motivation to do better for you first spreads to your sisters, like a candle lighting another candle, then that candle another… until the place is filled with radiance. And no candle’s blaze is diminished in lighting another. But, that spark, that love, respect and advocacy has to first be formed within You. Unite with You, and watch how that naturally ignites those around you to connect with themSelves the same.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Whether the sisterhood be with an established organization such as a sorority, church group, brand… or is just with the group of women you carefully chose to have in your circle and share your energy with… the importance of having this unity with Self in sisterhood holds true no matter the reason for formation or participating. Our journeys are our still, we journey together in understanding, love, acceptance, and strength.
You are the biggest contribution to a sisterhood, to your sisterhood, to our sisterhood. As we celebrate our striving sisters near and far, don’t forget to celebrate yourself Sis. Embrace your unique individuality to the whole. For that’s what true sisters do.
**image from elitedaily.com