From our earliest days in hunter gatherer societies, women have been society’s connectors — working together to raise children, care for households and care for communities. Women seem to know instinctively that to have a rich, full life, we need a tribe of other women — friends, helpers, cheerleaders, straight-talkers. Life, a full life, cannot be fully lived without finding your tribe, the ones who will always have your back, but will also tell you when you are being a “drama mama.” When women come together there is a protective bubble that surrounds us. In this bubble we get real and gritty but we also get stronger. There is a sharing of energy that has no limits.
In my experience, I have seen need for a tribe is a natural instinct. Girls realize this need early on in life, sometimes even before the age of five. We, as women of all ages, need each other’s friendships — we also realize tribes work best when we can look at each other in the eyes and speak truth and honesty. We have to have those who will tell us the gritty truths about ourselves that we need to hear in order to grow.
My daughter has her tribe. I call them the Messy Pony Tails. Seriously. I don’t think they allow brushes, or dresses, and heaven forbid thoughts of makeup, but they carry truth to each other. I love it. For instance, I still randomly check daughter’s phone. On one check I came across a text from a young boy that was polite and sweet, asking my daughter on a date (cue phone calls to my tribe and some handholding for me!). Daughter’s text was just as polite and sweet, but it was definitely a no. I complimented daughter on her wording of this no to which she responded — I didn’t write that, Best Friend did. (I heart Best Friend.) Daughter went on, “whenever I don’t know what to say I go to her and she gives me words.”
Daughter has another Best Friend. This one pushes her during athletic workouts. She pushes her to physical limits and opens up Daughter’s eyes and spirit to what she can physically do. Daughter runs faster, increases her goals,and dreams bigger on the basketball court because of this Best Friend. In return, I have heard Daughter tutor Best Friend in Algebra at night and read the honest text about how Best Friend is reaching “stalking level” with a certain guy. It was met with the laughter emoji.
Female life is celebrated in tribes. We don’t sugar coat life, but we don’t get carried away in the stress of life, either. We just live it, get a bit salty in the retelling of marriage and children woes, but throw in some wine and the woes give way to laughter. For eons, women have known that there is empowerment in the sacred spaces of the female tribe.
Help your girl find her tribe, and do not neglect finding one of your own. Show your girl the beauty of women coming together to love each other, be real with each other, to empower each other, to hold hands, to laugh, to learn, to live. Female tribes, the salt of life.