This I Believe

Elizabeth - Austin, Texas
Entered on November 20, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in Sisterhood. The kind with a capital S. The kind that is both intimate and global, that soothes sorrows and moves mountains. The kind that resonates, adding a choral quality to what might otherwise be a life of weak-kneed solos.

When we were young – tucked into twin beds in a small pink room – my sister and I made a game of trying to pull each other out of the covers and onto the floor. Typical squirreling around, except that once we were truly teetering on the edge of a fall, we’d whisper the word “undependable” quite urgently, and the other would stop pulling and start nudging her ‘opponent’ back up into bed. This cooperative twist extended the game indefinitely by preventing the crash that would have brought a parent upstairs with admonishments to sleep. It was both intuitive and instructive. It made utter and natural sense, and defined the sublime qualities one ought to look for in a sister.

I was gifted one sister by birth and have lucked into countless others along the way. With them, I rode the chair-a-lift at age nine… double- and triple-pierced my ears at age 16… rented ramshackle apartments at 20. With them, I road-tripped ‘cross county, waited tables, and summited 14,000 foot peaks.

The women I’ve marched with in political rallies, wept with over love and grief, slept with on European trains, Mexican buses and African mats? Sisters. The women whose weddings I was in, and those who came to mine? Sisters. The women with whom I’ve edited poetry and raised money and sat on school boards and worked with in staff meetings? The women with whom I’ve gotten things done? Sisters. And those who had babies when I did, whose babies had fevers when mine did, who feel some of the same impossible worry and joy that I feel as a mother? Sisters, all.

Now, on Tuesday nights, after work days are wrapped and children are tucked, I gather together with six other women. Among us, a clothing designer and dramatist, a photographer, fine artist, floral artist, and two writers. Among us, 15 children home in bed. A whole host of creative career arrangements and resourceful marriages and houses in need of repair. Among us, a serendipitous sisterhood so powerful that we’ve come to call it Goodness, with a capital G. It is in this community that we brainstorm and collaborate, weigh options, vent and celebrate. It is here that we are lifted up, back to a place of comfort, right when we are teetering on the precipice and feeling most ‘undependable’. Goodness reaffirms what I’ve known in my bones since my own sister was born – sisterhood sustains me.