Chalky Mount Hike, East coast Barbados - Erin, Marsha, myself, Lorena

Occasionally, I ask myself if I could be a lesbian.  Not that I think that I am, but that I sometimes will myself to be.  I have this vision that my life would be so much easier if I was romantically interested in woman.

Here is a truth:  I love men.  They are easy friends, and I enjoy their company.  Yet, surrounded by them in my early days in Barbados, I felt like something was missing.  I felt a sense of being untethered.  I lacked an anchor that was female friendship.

There is a certain dynamic amongst women when men are not present.  This year my good friend Erin wanted to get out in nature more and we started hiking on Wednesday afternoons. [See this blog link for how I know Erin from a previous life.]  Marsha saw our pictures on Facebook and wanted to join in.  Now we have a group of women interested.  They all have kids that are older, and these women now have the space and are interested in connecting with others as individuals, not necessarily as mothers.

Erin and I at Brighton Farmers Market. We have gone there Saturday mornings for two years.

There are times throughout our lives that we are socialized to compete with other women.  Sometimes we feel competition for mates and put extra effort into our appearance before we go out; I am not sure that the men notice, but the women do.  For those of us that entered the corporate world, we received messages that there were only so many spots for women and so we competed against each other for those.  There seem to be more articles lately on why women tear down others that are successful or bold or beautiful.  In a society, in fact a world, that does not value women in line with men, women must do better at valuing each other.

When truly supporting each other, there is a beautiful synergy.  Women have a wonderful ability to empathize and reach out to one another.  I am not saying that men do not do this as well.  Yet, it is my experience, that a small group of women will dig deep to understand and provide a heart-felt support that is unparalleled.  This may be while on a hike, or it could be over a coffee at the farmers market, or even a slow day on the surf break.

Exploring Walkers Reserve with Ryan - East Coast Barbados

Kate and I at Brandons Beach show off Vanessa's swag from her math tutoring company in Toronto - incredible women

Sarah, Lorena and I prepare for a sunset surf

We make a big deal of the man that finds a “bromance.”  I say, good for you!  You now have a taste of what it is like to have a girlfriend who is there to support you.  There have been many times in my life where I have thought that men have it so much easier than women.   Women deal with menstrual cycles, often take the brunt of birth control, play Superwoman by taking the lead in child rearing and running the household, and we can’t easily pee in the bush.  Yet, men often lack networks beyond playing sports together.  Many do not have a friend that they can speak to on a deep level about their hopes, fears, and hurts.  For this reason, I would never trade being a woman and my female friendships.

This past weekend, Lorena’s boys came to my house, and we cooked a Mother’s Day meal – Conrad was away for work.  I told the boys that their mother did so much for everyone else, this was our big chance to do something nice for her.  I love this family with all my heart, and Lorena and our friendship, first and foremost, is the ticket to my connection with them.

I watch the women in my life that are mothers.  The way they care for others makes me want to do the same.  They are an inspiration.  [They are also an affirmation that I chose the right (read: less exhausting) life for me.]

Our society encourages and puts great emphasis on finding one romantic love.  As we age as women, we realize that one person cannot be everything, and we foster and appreciate our female friends.

I may not be “in love” with women, but I love them deeply. Much love to my girlfriends, you are what makes my life a cherished experience and my bonds to you keep me sane.