|That's me (far right) with two of the lovely ladies I bonded with this summer through the natural hair group |
Birmingham Natural Beauties.
"The loneliest woman in the world is the woman without a close woman friend."
- Toni Morrison
Summer is quickly coming to an end, for me at least. I’m a teacher and soon my days will once again be filled with trying to convince 15-year-olds that Nathaniel Hawthorne is cool and 13-year-olds that semi-colons are fun.
But I don’t approach the end of summer with sorrow. Instead I approach it with pride. I set out to accomplish a lot in June and July and while I can’t check off every item on My Summer Manifesto, I can say I did something truly significant: I built community with other women in my city and beyond.
I’ve said it before, I believe in sisterhood. Say what you want about cat fights, gossip girls, and our tendency to envy and compete with one another. But I feel a kinship with every girl and woman on this planet. It’s something I can’t explain, but it’s something I’m certain is God-given. It’s my calling.
This summer I’ve worked to build relationships and community with other women in a myriad of ways. I became very involved in my city's natural hair community, helping to spread the word about local meetups, attending the gatherings, and becoming great friends with the women I met at the events. We may have met because of hair, but soon learned we had so much more in common and now we're exercising together, planning movie nights, and more.
In June, I attended the skirt! Creative Conference and had a life changing experience as I learned from and bonded with dozens of women who share my passion for writing. I came home with handfuls of business cards so I could keep in touch with my new friends. To show how committed I was to the skirt! community I challenged myself to post to my skirt.com blog every day for a year (I’m on day 44 so I still have a long way to go). I’ve also stayed connected with my skirt! sisters via Twitter.
And speaking of Twitter, social media has been yet another way I’ve worked to build community, communicating with amazing women across the country via tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos and more. I’ve taken steps to build on those virtual relationships by attending local tweet ups so I can actually meet some of these women in person and hug their necks, as we say in the South. Because I believe social media truly has the power to make our lives richer I even joined the Alabama Social Media Association to help spread the gospel of gadgets.
And when it comes to the true Gospel, I’ve been busy building community through my church as well. And considering my church has 15,000 members, this was no easy task. But this summer I led a small group and through it – as we discussed weekly sermons and how we could apply them to our lives, and even took on a community service project together -- formed friendships I am certain will be long lasting and purposeful.
I also made an effort to spend some quality time with old friends meeting a few high school pals for Mexican food, meeting a cousin for Mexican food, and meeting colleagues for Mexican food. And I promise I wasn’t just using them as an excuse to get my hands on a chimichanga.
This summer I didn’t write a book or becoming an Internet sensation with my blog, but as a true believer in sisterhood, I spent the summer practicing what I preach.