Sistah Gurls

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.

3 thoughts on “Sistah Gurls”

  1. A psychologist sent me an email, in reossnpe to this blog post. She makes some wonderful points and it is worded so eloquently. I so appreicate her comments: I would make a strong recommendation before assuming that the partner of someone who is having sex addiction problems has co-sex addiction issues. I think this fits for some and not for others. I think it can be very damaging to blame someone who has been victimize by lies and deceit. I have now heard from several therapists who work with individuals with sex addiction and their partners that they use polygraph or private investigators to re-establish safety and trust. At least one therapist told me, that she always uses polygraph because she cannot believe what the sex addict tells her until she gets the results back. So, I don’t think it is scientific or fair to then turn around and say that the spouse should somehow have known. I also think that Shirley P. Glasses work on affairs supports the notion that the tendency to trust a spouse or significant other over time increases and that sometimes partners can lie about affairs quite expertly. So if people can lie about affairs that well, they also can about other types of behavior related to sex addiction. Since I work with trauma a lot, I regularly see the effects of victim blaming with people who have been assaulted in various ways, particularly sexual assault. I think there is a tendency for many people, including therapists, to feel frightened by how easily these things really can happen to any of us and there is a counter-activation (counter-transference) that occurs and there is a risk that therapists can seek some explanation or blame for why clients were victimized. In my experience, clients are willing to look at whatever role their own development and life experience might be effecting their choices in life or their inability to move away from harm, etc., but this needs to be done later in the work and not with the assumption that it necessarily plays a huge role in what happened. With being victimized or betrayed all we can do is reduce risk, not prevent it. That is my humble, or not so humble opinion.

    1. The Sistah Gurls post is all about the importance and benefits of female friendships, particularly among Black and African-American women. Perhaps in the future we’ll write a post about sex addiction and its impact on relationships. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Pingback: Celebrating All Love on Feb. 14th | The Ladipo Group: Psychotherapy for Our Community | African American counselors | Philadelphia, PA

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