A Humble Reflection
By Glenda Ullari
I am part of the Sister Circle Collective (SCC) because I believe in the mission to create a prolific support system for women and girls through circle discussions and the creation of safe spaces. One of our main projects is the monthly venting session, centered on a specific theme, where sisters gather for a pot-luck to discuss different life experiences and seek support or just an outlet to express themselves. As I began to attend venting sessions, I asked myself, what is my purpose in this space? What do I have to offer in the creation of this space? At first I thought that I could help empower other sisters by providing advice and support. However, as sessions came and went I realized that some of the experiences of my fellow sisters were out of my capacity to address. This “heroic” idea I had about myself began to chip away. This reflection is not intended to sound defeatist, but rather, I would like to bring attention to more realistic expectations of ourselves when we want to support others.
After venting sessions, I often criticized myself for not doing enough, for not speaking up more, thinking to myself, “I could have been more supportive” I now realize that these feelings of guilt stem from two sources. On the one hand, we embody the notion that we have to give all of ourselves for others. This is true, especially in an environment where you want to see your sisters rise so far above all the misconceptions and limitations that have been constructed around us. But we must remember that we are not superwoman. This brings me to my second point; we put so much pressure on ourselves to break these barriers and create a strong exterior and just want to project strength that we often forget to look inward. By this is I mean that in the process of wanting to be a strong support for someone else, we forget to take off our cape and let ourselves be vulnerable. I believe that in the state of vulnerability we can harbor inclusivity so that other sisters feel safe to express themselves. We must also remember to take off this cape to become a little more humble. Being humble is often looked down upon, as a weakness, but I see it as a state of empathy and compassion. When we are humble with ourselves and others, it is easier to acknowledge that we do not have the solution to everything. As I listened to my sisters’ stories, I began to understand that I do not have the solution to everything. Even if I wanted to give some advice to make my sisters feel better, sometimes it was better to remain silent and offer other forms of support. Instead of spitting out jumbled words, hoping that they form pragmatic advice, a simple hand on a sister’s back or holding a sister’s hand while they tell their story goes a long way.
Looking forward, I do not think I can answer my original questions completely. What is my purpose in this space? What do I have to offer to this space? But that is alright. These answers are a work in progress especially because I recognize that nothing is definitive and our positions/perspectives on reality are forever flowing, never stagnant. I can however, change the way I act in this space. I believe my new strategy is to be more honest with myself about my capabilities to provide support. This does not negate dreaming and aspiring for more, but instead allows me to be at peace and gentle with myself in the present. I am not kidding myself anymore, I am not here to “save” anyone, I am here to learn and to accompany my sisters in growth and awakening. With this reflection on hand I can contribute to the creation of a safe space, and inclusive space, a no-judgment space, but most importantly, a divine space of sisterhood.