Why we need women’s circles…and why I formed one
by Lisa Veronese
Remember in our teen years when hours-long phone calls into the night were the norm, when we’d meet at one another’s lockers to vent, rant, and rage about the injustices done to us in first period math class, or when time spent together was a screen-free experience of connection and support? Maybe aside from cottage “girls getaways”, or spa retreats available to the most fortunate few, as we age, our busy work/family lives can make it increasingly challenging to have the opportunity to meet in sisterhood with other women on a regular basis.
While we need the support of one another in our teen years to help us get through the pulling tides of emotions and the aches of learning who we are, don’t we need this just as much or even more in later life when we are increasingly isolated in our homes or routines, when we find ourselves confronted with the often shocking limitations of knowledge and research relating to women’s health, when we feel frustration that no one told us how to deal with our aging bodies and brains, aging parents, changing partnerships, shifting friendships, or existential crises? That’s not to say that men who are near and dear to us cannot offer us support and care, but there is something profound about sharing our experiences as women with one another that, like a wave of a magic wand, has the ability to make us feel less alone or “crazy,” and maybe even understood.
To be honest, I could have used a women’s circle when I was in my early 30s, a time when I was just starting to feel a twinge that my low self-esteem, body image issues, and eating disorder may not need to persist for the rest of my life; this was also a time when my partnership faced massive challenges, when I was trying to sort out this whole new motherhood gig, and was still losing sleep over “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I did seek out women friends of different ages and experiences, and would dig into my schedule for holes so that one by one we could meet for coffee, or chat over the phone. I was only awakening to the value of such connections, to what a hug or a simple “yes, I’ve been there!” could shift..
Now that I’m in my 40s, I know for certain that the way to feel less alone in the waves is to wave to one another: “I see you”, and “me too.” Whether we want to admit it or not, the way we are situated and thus experience the world is different, as are our workplace challenges, and familial demands; and (for those of us who are cis-gendered) our hormonal fluctuations can dramatically impact our well-being in a way that has not been of historical interest to medical science beyond “PMS” and “hysteria.” I feel that women of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds can benefit in some way from being around one another, from feeling a sense of community, from holding space and listening to feeling safe and openly sharing. It is from my own desires for this that I’ve created the Glow Goddess Circle.