I’ve never been the type of girl to have a group of girlfriends, though I have always dreamed of finding a pack of women I could meet for coffee or cocktails a la Sex & The City. Once or twice in my life, I’ve come close. But, it never stuck. Drama happened and the pack split. Someone would say something about someone else and more than once, that someone else was me. I get it, I have a strong personality and strong opinions and I often rub people the wrong way. I’d apologize for this, but I like who I am and I am learning to care less about what others think or say about me.
Have I mentioned I also have trust issues? This fact combined with the above has led me to avoid large friend groups; especially of women. Despite this, I have always secretly longed for a tribe to call my own.
The minute I got my positive pregnancy test with my son, I logged on to the What to Expect app and scoured the message groups. Through this, I found a mom group on Facebook. In the four years since I joined, this group has been my lifeline. These women know pretty much everything about me – the good, the bad, the ugly and all the embarrassing “mom” questions in between.
They made me feel welcome and safe, which is something I can’t say I’ve ever felt before with a group of women.
Until last week.
I recently started a new job, one that I have been ridiculously excited for and that I think will be a huge opportunity for me. I shared my excitement with this group on a few occasions. I talked about the interviews and my excitement and also my hesitations. I shared with them some of the frustrations I had with my prior job. I shared everything.
On Wednesday of last week, I was in line at Starbucks and noticed a Trump bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It had a black marker line through it. For some reason, this made me chuckle and I took a photo and cropped out the license plate and identifying features of the car and posted it with the hashtag #noragrats. It was stupid and silly. I didn’t think anything else about it.
Then on Friday, I learned that some of the members of my mom group took a screenshot of this post and sent it my new job’s Facebook page with a message saying they were disappointed in their hiring of someone like me that would admit to and brag about defacing a Trump bumper sticker on social media.
Warning: I am likely going to get a bit dramatic here.
My heart broke when I saw who had sent the message. I wasn’t particularly close with the person who’d sent the message, but she was part of my tribe and I’d shared so much with her and the rest of them and she’d used that to hurt me. It also really bothered me that they thought I was capable of damaging someone else’s property (for the record, I’m not and never would). Over the course of the weekend, I learned I wasn’t the only one that had been hurt by this small group of women within our tribe.
I legitimately thought I’d just lost the online friendships and support system I’d leaned on for four years. I was hurt and betrayed and devastated (I warned you I was going to get dramatic). I thought my tribe was gone.
I opened up to one of the moms in the group that I’d been closest to and told her what I’d learned. She along with a few others that I trusted and had leaned on personally before helped to remind me just how important this tribe was and just how strong we all are.
What’s my point?
My point is I’ve realized just how important it is to have a tribe and a support system. I’ve learned that sometimes it is best to take a few days to process before jumping into attack mode, and let me tell you, that was freaking hard to do. I wanted to blast this person and go at her with all my mama bear force – Good Lord that would have felt amazing for a minute, but it wasn’t the right thing to do. I was ready to jump ship and bail on my tribe – well, I did, but only for a few hours. But, I had a tribe to help talk me off the ledge and remind me that I wasn’t alone and that there were more important things.
It also reminded me just how horrible women can be to each other, whether it is out of jealous or whatever, I don’t know. And, I will never know what motivated this small group of women to go out of her way to hurt me or others. We talk. We gossip. We get catty. And let me tell you, I’ve been on both ends of this and they both suck. I hate how I feel when I gossip and it haunts me for weeks after. I despise myself when I catch myself doing catty shit. But being on the receiving end of it is so incredibly painful. I don’t ever want to cause another woman to feel how I felt after all of this.
Men. Don’t. Do. This. Shit.
Women can we please stop hating each other? Can we stop with the jealousy and the cattiness? Can we just stop being against each other and start supporting each other?
Why do we do this? What is it about women that makes us so damn competitive? Why do we seek to destroy rather than build up?
But you know what else I learned in all of this? Most women don’t do this. Most women want to support each other. They hate the gossip and the cattiness.
I am so grateful that my tribe is still there and that they fought for me. They will never know just how much it means to me that they showed up for me when I needed them. But, most importantly, they’ve reminded me how important it is for women to be strong for each other.
Before you send that nasty message about another woman, think about the consequences. Think about how hard we fight to be taken seriously. Think about how you can use your words to help rather than hurt. Be strong for yourself and for other women. Lift your fellow women up and stop tearing them down – it may make you feel better for a minute, but that feeling fades fast.
We are better than this. We deserve better. We can be better.
More importantly, find your tribe. Find your people. Let them in and don’t let them go. They are worth it and so are you.
To my tribe – you know who you are and I cannot thank you enough – and I hope you don’t mind me sharing this story with all two people that read my blog.