When I was in my 20's, I had a lot of strong women friends. We had a sort of solidarity but there was always the subtle competition, backstabbing and gossip, and sometimes even to an extreme.
I perpetrated it myself, and I was also victim to it.
And then I started studying Flamenco with Martita Santiago. The class was always full of women who were so devastatingly beautiful. And Martita insisted that we love each other. She had no tolerance for gossip or catty behavior.
She said, "when a more beautiful girl walks into the room, that's HER moment. You shine your light on her, give her your power so she can shine too. Your moment will come soon enough." And so there we all were, everyone thinking the other was more beautiful, shining our lights at each other all night long.
Over time, I learned to embody that love and solidarity.
Now, 15 years later, I see something magical happening between myself and the other fabulous women I know. We ENCOURAGE each other to be more beautiful, more powerful, more successful than ourselves. We lift each other up. It's just GORGEOUS to feel that authentic solidarity, to participate in it, and to forgive myself for being such an asshole when I was a kid.
This one goes out to the women I have known for years, who have somehow stuck it out with me, no matter what. And to the women I have more recently met, who don't care which of us is younger or hotter or smarter, because we all know that our strength is in the perseverance of our unconditional love for ourselves and each other. RRRAAAR!
(photo by Lauren Howland)