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The Circle of Sisterhood

ladyinwhite's picture

“I saw them walking as sisters walk, hugging each other, and whispering and sure of each other and I felt how it was not who they were but what they both know and what they were both preparing to do about what they know that was going to make them both free at last.”


Even within the circle of sisterhood, one can be pulled out in an instant. This is what topples me—how fine that line is, and how destructive it can be. It is within these spaces of my own ascribed comfort—with women—that give me the means to leave my protective armor of sorts. I gain the ease to come outside, and then I am shot back out to the alien planet, where I can understand them and they don’t understand me. Pulled away into otherness, I pursue this outcome of sisterhood in the unlikely pretense, but, alas, I am bound to reality.


The acquired individual identity shall remain obscured by the unwillingness of others to shift. I have been shaped by this unwillingness, and my shape needs to be able to shift within an instant. The discomfort of a situation cannot be withdrawn by force, or by inherited qualities of identity. Where am I to turn, when misheard and misunderstood, when asked within a group of trusted women of my experience as a woman completing the same mundane action as them.  Implying otherness forces an interrogation upon myself, by myself.  I am forced to summarize and justify various uncontrollable aspects of my identity, to conform to the shackles as they warp.


Occasions in which the piercing bond of relatedness takes shape occur on the global scale constantly, though the majority of these occurrences result in misunderstanding and frustration.


Is it not ones’ own responsibility to make the effort to educate oneself of the questions worthy of Google?


It is awfully romantic, this notion of freedom from a history of disjunction. It is admirable, though much too surreal for this world.  I face a constant struggle between my head and my gut, knowing that Jordan’s described outcome is how I will it to be, when this is simply not how it is.


Relating through a pretext of the confining qualities will not give for a relation of hatred towards whatever power has instilled the shackles to the term. Reveling in the qualities within the box does not insinuate rejection of the entirety of it.


The struggle lies in transcending the stereotypes without rejecting what is seen as my ascribed identity.


To an extent, my story has already been written for me; my picture has already been painted by society, and my ascribed identity stands at the foreground. Brown goes in the box, and brown is how I am perceived— everyday.  One may think it my instinct to run away from the stratification that suffocates me on most days. Constantly being told to ‘think outside the box’ yields a disconnected self. I strive, everyday, to transcend the paradigm of which I am most representative of. The walls are misleading, imprisoning me to the qualities of an entire cage.  


Brown and Muslim are onerous names in most global/local situations, though freeing oneself from the confines of these bindings does not mean that one cannot partake in the experience of them. The quest is to go beyond the internal struggle of making oneself and embracing what has been made, but doing so whilst also finding meaning in connectivity within their borders.


My reality changes at every moment, constantly modifying my perception what is impossible. This obscurity often tells me what I am, that I will never be self-made enough to undo what has been made for me. Ongoing is the battle within—even over the course of writing this paper my idea of the boundaries within my reality have melted and solidified, stretched and shrunk, because of singular people and their presences, because of that one phrase said in a group of women where I thought I was understood. To contemplate all of this, and still maintain the essence of what is inside, is what keeps me sane.


I want to rid myself of this confinement—mental, physical, emotional, psychological—whatever it may be, I am eternally searching for what sets me free.

Black and white still exist, but there are factors beyond this that bring us together. By acknowledging the full extent of ones’ character, sisterhood is born. Change comes about, and that’s the freeing part. I don’t want to be alone and free. I strive to simply be with one another in a way that’s congruous, shared—coexisting actively, passively, loudly, quietly—together.