Not to worry, sisterhood is but a cry n click away

I rediscovered the essence of female kinship when my daughter was about nine months old. All cried out, body aching from sleeping in awkward positions to accommodate her slow suckling, mind tired by the perpetual tussle between responsibility, love, and self-care – I felt done. How was I going to keep at this… what to call it… job or duty or purpose?

I went online but this time, instead of reading material to put myself at ease, I vented without really caring about how selfish or stupid I was going to sound. Frustration and rage frothed into sentences and I punched away on my poor keyboard. No censoring, no editing. I pressed Publish, wishing that the right people would read it, judge, and shame me into doing better.

The responses and emojis came swiftly, kindly, firmly.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is totally normal.
Do you need help? 
Sorry, this is so hard – I’m here if you need to talk.
Dude, I love your honesty!

Many women wrote in – some who knew me well, others, barely. Their words clumped together to form a gigantic thumbs-up, urging me to cur myself some slack, let go, and keep running the slow, never-ending marathon that motherhood can feel like (no medals, no finish line, maybe the occasional water break). Then there were others who wrote of their own experiences, baring their shame to console me. My post grew into something bigger than a rant; it become a rally for the kind of selfishness that mothers aren’t bestowed with but must learn to claim. I was still learning and they told me – in numerous ways – to take my time doing so.

This was my initiation into a virtual community of supportive, caring, nurturing, funny, sincere women – not all of them mothers, yet each of them maternal in their own capacities. I became a part of a ‘we’ that shared advice, jokes, victories, and pain. The knowledge and acceptance of our own smallness in the journey of raising children comforted on me on days when my daughter did not inspire love. Every assumed imperfection, instead of growing like a mushroom cloud in my mind, stayed still enough for me to observe and work on before being given more power.

This space and its meaning in my life continues to evolve. My daughter is a nine-year old now; I I find myself turning to my tribe less for motherhood related matters and more for enigmas on identity, writing and mental health. We find relief through joint observations and commentaries, embracing differences in opinions; we seek humour as a coping mechanism; we share stories, poems, memes, songs and all forms of art to help process trauma. Some of us are brutally frank, some are mindful of words, some are quiet. Yet all of us are bound by a strain of love that is not so easily found – understanding.

For all the damage that social media does to my self-esteem and neurons, I am grateful to use it to build and sustain authentic, meaningful connections. Imagine: the wonder of knowing someone you’ve never met, the freedom to scream into a well and be offered a glass of water, the practice of seeking help unabashedly because no matter what the world will have you believe about strength and independence, you don’t ever have to do it alone.

These girls are my virtual anchors, escape routes, lighthouses in quiet storms, sounding boards, reality checks, bearers of little secrets. We are connected by the joys and perils of womanhood. And of course, the Internet.

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