What the Hell does this word "Sisterhood" mean? What makes YOU my "Sister"?
In the women's motorcycling community I hear these words slung around like poo in the monkey cage.
Just because you are a woman and ride a motorcycle, that doesn't make us "Sisters". It makes us two women who ride.
Don't get me wrong. I am very close with many women riders and I have many who are my friends. I've learned the incredible value of the relationships with my female friends over the years and I couldn't live without it.
But to be expected to instantly trust ANYONE goes against everything I've ever learned in life.
And let me tell you why.
I was abused as a little girl and the abuse came at the hands of my mother and the men she brought into my life. At the age of 6-years-old my first abuser, my step-father Bill, devastated my life. But he wasn't alone in his misdoings. This excerpt, taken from my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy, gives a prime example.
"One evening my sister, two brothers and I were gathered in our bedroom, having a conference about our latest “trouble.” Someone had eaten Bill’s chocolate cake without permission and someone was going to get a spanking. The older kids convinced me to take the punishment this one time, even though the culprit hadn’t been me. In a selfless act of loyalty, I walked into the living room and confessed.
Bill grabbed me by my arm, yanking me off my feet, and drug me to the room he shared with my mother. He beat me on the behind with a breadboard, giving me 10 swats. This grown man hit me so hard with each blow, I couldn’t cry because I couldn’t catch my breath. This was no spanking. It was an outright beating. Each blow, worse than the last, threw me forward off my feet and across the bed. Bill would grab my arm and yank me back into the “bent over” position to deliver the next swat.
I was then forced to go to the dinner table. I could not sit or bring myself to eat, the pain was so great. My brothers happily stole the hot dogs and tater tots from my plate and ate them. They showed no care nor mercy, nor did my sister.
“Whether you did it or not, it was your turn. We’ve all been beaten,” my sister said."
My sister was the oldest and had always been my protector, especially since my parents divorce when I was 5-years-old. But this time I was forsaken. Once a small child is betrayed by the women she looks up to and takes a beating like this, all trust is broken.
It wasn't JUST about the violation of the man who beat me, but my sister who threw me to him and my mother who stood by and let it happen.
Now in my world, all trust is earned. And over the years there have been a few women who have indeed stepped up and earned that trust. Their kindness and compassion have overwhelmed me and surprised me.
On my recent ride along the California coast to the Redwoods with 3 friends, Carolyn, Leslie and Sheilah, I reached new depths of vulnerability. Something magic happened in my heart; something I've never allowed to happen before now.
I learned to trust, in spite of my best efforts to push these women away and prove to them that I wasn't willing to love and trust them. And yet, over the 9 days of the ride, the 8 nights of sharing beds and stories, laughs and tears, miles and miles and miles, I let go and learned that some women are good and worthy of my trust and love. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.
In my opinion, this is real "Sisterhood".
I'm now more willing than ever to give friends a trial period, give a little bit of myself, and hope they do the same with me. I'm willing to open myself up, a little at a time. But just because someone has a vagina and a motorcycle, I am not obligated nor inclined to call them my "Sister". I have many friends, but very few "Sisters".
How about you? What does it take for you to call someone "Sister?"