The meaning of words, or rather, how society chooses to use a word often makes me skirt* around its edges. Sisterhood is one of these words. Whenever I hear it I think of women flocking together to paint nails, bitch about other women and drink champagne. I think it’s been caused by the way that female friendships have been marketed to me through movies, TV series or magazines … but I can’t necessarily pin point the culprits.
It may also be because in the all girl school that I attended from years seven to ten I was the subject of bullying and
not too many none of my ‘sisters’ came to my aid. The sisterhood that was going on there happened in isolated groups and even then, I don’t know how many truly understood the concept of standing by one another. Perhaps that is unfair of me … perhaps that understanding is only reached after many years. It is possible that children and teenagers don’t really ‘get it’.
Nonetheless for a very long time in my life I found the company of boys easier to handle. They didn’t bitch. They didn’t pick on me because I was poor or because my father didn’t eat fish (yes – that definitely was a topic I was teased about – why I mentioned it I don’t know). They didn’t care if I got along with the teachers or if I got good grades or if I enjoyed drama.
I found ‘sisterhood’ in my family difficult too – when I was growing up, the 11 year age gap was noticeable – it was difficult to find common ground. Understandably so – when I was six, my closest sister in age was seventeen and I don’t think playing with barbies or cars or Lego was her choice of leisure activity.
It wasn’t until I had my son that I began to see connections that had previously alluded me. Something about the experience of being a woman in a very clear and defining way made me view other women differently. And there are moments when I have felt connected to my sisters:
- The midwives and nurses at Ballarat Base Hospital after the birth of my son
- The day I called my sister when I’d had a bad experience at play group with my son (14 mths) and cried to her for half an hour
- ABA meetings in Caulfield
- The days when my son would only eat a few vegetables and I had an “oh my God I’m such a bitch” realisation regarding my own judgmental comments to others about their children eating habits – I have since apologised!
- When I spend time with Diana – just the two of us
- My fellow Clinical Teaching Associates at the University of Melbourne – nearly every session I teach
- The night our father decided to walk out of Royal Melbourne Hospital
- Nearly every walk with my friend Casey
- Each time I hold one of my friend’s children
P.S: For a bit more sisterhood I thought I’d link this poem by Christina Rossetti called Goblin Market
Now, dear sister, comes the time to administer your topic – lets see … how about: The benefits and difficulties of prioritising.