As a teenager, I was always open and hopeful with my female friendships, albeit a little fearful at times of being excluded, as it is normal for young girls. And, although I had a happy outlook, and was quite fearless, I still was a little too trusting, often looking to be led and guided because I just wanted to be accepted and included, for I did not yet know the power I had in my own uniqueness.

For example, one summer, at the tender age of 14, I decided to test my resolve and try a new summer camping experience. So, I left my old camp behind, broke out of my comfort zone and dove headfirst into a sea of anonymity and pressure to make new friends. It was a shock to say the least. I just hit a roadblock, and it baffled and overwhelmed me as to why I felt I could not fit in and be accepted.

One night, I remember being coaxed to sit in a circle, after dark, with a bunch of these mean “cool” girls of whom two were supposed to have been my “friends”. One of these girls thought it would be a great idea for us 9 girls to sit in a circle and to tell each other what we really thought of one another. To have “it out”, so to speak. So we could all feel “better”. Well, these mean girls had a toxic field day telling us, one by one what they didn’t like about us.  Instead of it being an “honesty” circle, it made us feel so betrayed, so ashamed, so humiliated. Most of all, it breached the very idea of what a sisterhood should feel like.

That summer, many spirits were broken. Distrust opened up between us all, like a fresh wound that would fester all summer long in a toxic haze of anger and fear, pretending that we were immune to the dark energies around us layered in fakeness.

This form of female bullying, otherwise known as emotional manipulation, put me, as a teenager, in a trying, emotional position. I suddenly doubted myself completely. It felt like my spirit was sinking in quicksand and my eyes were constantly fighting back tears. Had I misjudged my beliefs about female friendships? Perhaps not all women believed in a real sisterhood like I did. Was I was naïve to think that a sisterhood existed?

Thirty years later, the answers to these questions come so swiftly to me like a melody of music and it is a song that I beg all of you to share with your children, whether they are kids or adolescents.

This is what my personal bullying experience taught me about myself:

1.The universe was trying to tell me that I felt different because I WAS different and that experience of alienation highlighted for me that I was worthy of so much more;

2.That I was meant to do things in my life that include others because I was shown how painful alienation could be;

3.It taught me to come out of my shell and to judge my friends a little more carefully;

4.It taught me that it was ok not to fit in, for it enabled me to look from the outside in, to give me the opportunity to honour my uniqueness and not to follow the herd;

5.My bullies were my teachers helping me to strive for greatness. How? They trained me and tested me to be a better person, a stronger more inclusive person, a person who uses their energy to shine kindness. They taught me that sometimes you must experience darkness to appreciate the light.

Last December, while I was hosting a Wellness Night, I spoke about my Fitness journey to date. The evening started off light and fun, and we laughed and joked. I had spoken about my journey before but this time I went into more detail and explained how each exercise program I had taught and still participate in had healed my inner spirit.

During that session, we all felt safely enclosed in a shield of female energy. As I was nearing the end of my talk a thought came to my mind. This is what sisterhood actually feels like. It is real, it does exist, and it was the universe telling me that this is what the magic of female friendships was, a nurturing, safe spiritual circle of delicate oneness with ourselves and the glittering vast universe.

Suddenly, that old painful memory of alienation, of neglect, completely flew away and disappeared up into the night sky. A new circle had now been born: the holy circle of female friendship. It contained free flowing closeness. Guiding each other to our greatest selves. One circle at a time.

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