by Lexx Brown-James
In the May issue of Essence is dedicated to the importance of gilrfriends. You know those sistah gurls, ultimate homies, real chicks, and beloved support systems that women tend to have. She’s the friend who tells you that outfit doesn’t work, hates the person that hurt you with a passion and let’s you cry on her shoulder whenever. These are the women that are always there throughout new endeavors, failures, and successes. These are your sistah gurls.
Reading these testimonies of how women were able to rely on and receive support from other women brought tears to my eyes. I recall my network of sistahs, who no matter what, have my back, and I thought about where and who I would be without them. Then I thought about how much television makes us think that Black women are always at each other’s throats – literally – instead of being the backbone for a friend when they need to be. Shows, that I will not name but we all have heard of, feature star’s wives, housewives, or completely made up characters show Black women in fierce competition – all the time. These women are barely, if at all, able to support one another unless there is some type of gain. I would argue that sure, these people exist in real life, but they are not at the essence of Black women’s friendships.
I want to take this moment to ask: Who’s in your support circle? We have all heard that joke about the one friend who would be sitting next to you in jail when you mess up really badly. Who do you have surrounding you? There is a difference between a girlfriend, acquaintance, and frenemy. Who is swimming around in your waters of life? Your girlfriend is going to be the one that supports you when you can’t tread water anymore and feel like you’re drowning and you would be willing to do the same for her. The acquaintance is the one who is going to try to help, but save themselves first, even if that means letting your drown. The frenemy is going to act like they are there to help only to cut you and use and you as shark bait or a flotation device. And I know you are reading and saying “Really Lexx, it’s not that serious,” but I will say that it is.
There is nothing like knowing you have other strong women who have the same values you share behind you. The ones that will raise your children just like you would, take care of your home when you are unable, and finally take care of you when you have given your all to everyone else. I know hands down who these people are for me, and I am thankful to have them in my life, who are they for you? If you don’t have these people, have no fear, you can still heal from past friendship wounds and garner these relationships.