When women help women, what happens? Two things. One, we save the world. Two, we create stories to tell, like you’ll find here.
When I wrote my post about women being morbid sometimes, I didn’t anticipate the comments section filling with so many brave and heartbreaking stories. It’s overwhelming to hear what women have been though, especially knowing there is no end in sight. Women have been through a lot, which is the understatement of the year.
As I read through the comments I remembered another personal experience I had filed away in my memory. One summer I took a solo trip down the Oregon coast. As I checked into the hotel a man was alone in the lobby, also waiting to check in. The woman behind the counter handed me my room keys, looked me directly in the eye, slid a piece of paper across the desk and said loudly, “Just write the name of the other person staying in your room here please.” It took me a minute to realize what she was doing. She was protecting me. She didn’t want the man to know I was staying at the hotel alone.
I started thinking about how much women look out for each other and how we don’t often share those stories. Women helping women is not new, it’s not remarkable, it’s just what we do, and it comes in many forms.
Women driving women.
Sometimes, it’s about friendship. When my friend was moving from Seattle to Boise with her newborn baby and needed help getting there, I drove her. It didn’t matter that the trip took twice as long as it should have, or that we stopped every hour, got no sleep, and yelled at each other out of stress and fatigue. It didn’t even matter if we were still friends at the end of trip. (We were!) The only thing that mattered was that she and her baby arrived safely at their new home. (They did!)
Women assisting women.
Sometimes when women help women it’s less serious but let me tell you, it’s still important. One Friday night I was in the bathroom at a local bar late into happy hour when I noticed a women freshening her make up, and heading for the door. Then I noticed something else. I touched her arm and urgently said, “Wait!” I reached down and ripped a piece of toilet paper off of her shoe. Her eyes got wide and she said, “Oh my gosh, thank you!” and gave me a huge hug. (See? Still important!)
Women rescuing women.
Years ago, on a dark and rainy night in Seattle, my girlfriend and I came across two women whose car had stalled in the middle of the road. They were blocking traffic and no one had stopped to help them, so we did. The issue appeared to be the battery so we pulled out our jumper cables, (because women are amazing and we carry jumper cables,) successfully jumped their engine, and went on our way. (And no, we would not have stopped to help men, that is just the truth.)
Women feeding women.
I saw this on Twitter yesterday and it warmed my heart: “In my neighborhood right now a woman is bringing soup to another woman, a stranger, who’s at home with a sick infant.” One of the main responses I received when I asked my friends and followers how women help other women was about food. (Of course!) Women show up with food after friends have babies, lose loved ones, or have just had a day. Sometimes they even make you sandwiches when you’re leaving their house for a long drive home. We cook, we bake, we deliver.
Women guiding women.
Another theme, and maybe the most important, was women sharing their wisdom with each other. On this topic, the words of my friend capture it best. In reference to a woman’s group she’s part of, she said this:
I think we help each other through our current phases of life. The older women remind us that the crap now will pass. People share stories of really complicated marriages that remind us that no one has it all together. I feel like it’s a lot of feminine wisdom gathered in a space with the goal of listening to each other, sharing ourselves and providing support. It’s pretty awesome.
There are so, so, so, many stories about women being abused and harassed. We know this and we need to keep talking it. But, there are also so many stories about women helping women. We need to talk about those too.
Share your stories! When have women helped, protected, rescued, fed, and guided you?