A Different Kind of Heartache

Today, my heart ached. It ached as it often does and I know always will. It ached for sisters. For women helping women. We are blessed. We are the ones more in touch with our emotions. Often more vulnerable. Often misunderstood. We are women.

I recently learnt the importance of eyes. I avoid eye contact. It turns out you really can see right through a person when you look into their eyes. The term depression eyes is accurate. The vacant stare. The hopelessness. There is nothing behind those eyes. When you recognise that in another, it feels like eyes meeting your own same expression. You relate. You ache. You cannot walk away from that. So you help. In whatever way you can. You talk. That is what I do. That is what I will always do. I will always be that safe place to fall apart. I do not judge. I listen. I feel with you. I sit with you. I put aside myself for you.

Today, I did a very me thing. Suddenly, I felt like me again doing it. I saw those eyes, that expression, that worry, that panic. I sat with it. I spoke and calmed it and read to it. I listened. I sat there being a source of what every young girl needs and I realised, this is what I do, over and over. This is my gift to this world. This is my way of saying thank you for all the lights that have appeared in my life. I have seen so many angels come and go. They inspire me. To never leave a girl alone. To talk. To support. To make her a cup of tea. To buy her chocolate. To give her my time and my attention if that is what she needs. I realise my strength and my kindness in these moments. I realise my gifts. Giving is important.

All that I need sometimes is women helping women. I need to  nurture because that way we will all grow together. I choose to pick people up. I choose to walk with them. I choose to ensure people know their importance. I am the stranger that will stop for you on the street and you can come to me, anytime you need. You can cry to me. I am the one who will always pick up the phone. I do not care about sleep or who I am with or what I am doing. I care for others. I will never change that gift. It is one of my favourite things, because it is the thing keeping me alive, after all. I have received more unasked for help than you would believe.

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This, is for my sister

She needs to know how amazing and incredible she is. She got me through years and years of tears. She is my rock. She has no idea what it feels like to come into this life with a sibling before you. She had no one and nothing. My entire life, I have had someone to turn to. Someone to fight with and get on with and enjoy life with. I have never known a time when I was not climbing into her bed feeling like my world was crumbling for whatever reason. I have not wanted to write about her, because her impact on my life has been a special one. I do not think of her as anything but constant. She will always be there, always be related to me. There for me. I remember when she left to go travelling. The very first time I was at home on my own without her. After we dropped her off and we were in the car driving home, I put my iPod on. It was the song Home by Michael Bublé. I felt like an absolute disaster. I could not stop crying. My heart could not stop aching. I wanted to see her again, even for just a second, I wanted to run into her arms and my world to be complete. She was all I ever knew. I never made friends in school, I was bullied, but I got to come home to my sister every single day. I used to watch her and think she was incredible, everything I wanted to be. I would follow her, do what she did and there was never a day without a smile. Just because the kids at school made fun of me or my mum was harsh on me, I was still happy. I was happy that I had her to raise me and befriend me. She used to get me the best presents and I would watch her wrap them with one eye open as she thought I was sleeping. I thought I was the luckiest kid out there. I still listen to that song a lot. I always hear it and I remember that home, is really a person. I hear it and I think that I want to go home so badly, to my sister. To my rock. I always had so much to tell her and even if it was pointless and meaningless, just seeing her and speaking to her made me complete. I remember all the years waiting anxiously and patiently until I was an adult just like her. I thought about everything we would do together. Two powerful incredible women conquering and facing the world. There is so much more to say about her that I am sure I will get to one day. But for my sister, it will all be alright, I am coming back home.

Women helping Women

I want to express my gratitude. Women helping women. There is nothing quite like it. After all the experiences of bullying and bitchiness, I did not think there would be a time in my life where I am so grateful. I know truly remarkable women. My family is built of independent black women, who have gone through hardship and are still going. My grandmother, my mother, my sister: all people who have taken care of me, raised me and taught me what it is to be a woman. My best friend: the greatest love I have and will ever know. The people I meet and love instantly. The ones I work for, but never lose. The strangers out there who show kindness. The friends who are always there for me. The laughs, fun and support. Women helping women.

International Women’s Day could have been a very international occasion for me. My last year, I have met people from all over the world. I have been inspired. Yet, my day was something else entirely. It was filled with women from the city I live in. It was the reminder I needed that home is all about the people. I am truly blessed.

Midnight struck and I was in the car giving two girls a lift home. This is important. Women should never let women go home alone or unsafe. Women will watch their friends with care. They will call and text and sometimes, even make sure to see you go through the door. Women do not trust easily, but care strongly. I was exhausted, but I would never leave someone stranded. One stranger, one friend. I dropped of the stranger first. Then onto the next house and we chatted. Small things at first, until issues arose. “Would you like to come in?”, she said. Women helping women.

Inside we sat, both with tired eyes and talked. A man came in. The comfort was broken. We laughed, fairly and tiredly. Then we talked and really talked. Stories came out. Trauma. Abuse. Love. Loss. Words I did not know I had in me. Words I had not heard before. Tears. Advice. Comfort. Listening. Women helping women.

I went home tired and peaceful. Reluctantly, I woke to my early morning work out. I was motivated my a text. A girl I have not known long. I have learnt that time is meaningless. Actions are something else. That text motivated me. It turned to laughing, chatting, reassurance. I felt strong. Really strong. It was simple. True friendships always are. It does not take much. It is easy to learn from one another. Women helping women.

I picked up a friend for brunch. I learnt more about her than I had known. I was impressed. I saw beauty. I had realisations. I felt safe. I felt a common connection and an understanding. There was a great deal of talk. Not simple things, but the issues people do not address. The real harshness of what it is to be a woman. The difficulties. The fear. The loss. There is always the healing though. The opening up. Women helping women.

I was inspired. I wrote. I bought a ukulele. I drove to a friend’s. She was home sick from work. She needed me as much as I needed her. We spoke. I told her of my day. I told her my story. My bravery. I showed her what it is to be a woman. It is as beautiful as it is painful. We sung songs and had ice cream. We watched a cheesy film and ate well. I drifted off to sleep and woke to move to the bed. We chatted. Shared quotes. Thought about many things. Then slept. Well and long. I do not sleep that well often, but I had needed it. I feel safe with someone beside me. Women helping women.

I think about them all. All the women who inspire me with their strength or kindness. I think of my own strength and bravery. I think, that no matter where I am in the world, I will always find my girls. Boarding school gave me so many sisters. University has thrown me hilarious, incredible and beautiful women. Even on Erasmus, I had my girls. Here. Now. Everyday. I see women. I meet women. It is special. It is women helping women.