It feels like there’s so much bad stuff happening in the world at the moment.
Sometimes I feel so hopeless as to how we can ever change things — there’s just so much shit going on, right? So much hate, so much hurt… How on earth can we hope to save the world in the face of so much pain…?
I was working at my favourite cafe this morning, absorbed in my own world, occasionally glancing over at the group of mums and kids sitting nearby.
They all seemed so happy and cheery, and I was having fun people-watching them out of the corner of my eye. The mums were gathered round the little wooden table on their hessian stools; while the kids were playing together on the footpath with some chalk, some toys and an iPad. Everyone was smiley and chatty.
Then, after about half an hour of random happiness, another woman rocked up to join them. She walked up to the group in her fluorescent pink running shorts, and it was immediately evident — even to me, a complete stranger — that something was wrong. Very wrong… She promptly started sobbing. One mum immediately leapt up and hugged her. Long. Hard. Chest-squishingly tight. I could see the woman’s shoulders shaking — heaving — as her friend held her.
They stayed like that for a good two minutes, with the friend whispering in her ear. Just clinging, in the middle of the footpath, for the cafe – indeed, the world — to see.
At a certain point, I realized that two of the kids — the two girls — were watching. (The boys were still mesmerised by the iPad!)
These two little girls — aged around three and five — were watching these women hug and cry and be so totally, publicly vulnerable. They watched as another woman took over the hugging, then another, until all the women were clustered in a knot around the sad, crying woman in her bright pink shorts.
And their curious little faces made me so happy, as I imagined them imprinting this act of beautiful sisterhood and feminine support deep in their childish souls. So this is how it’s done. This is what it means to be a friend, to be a woman. This is how we love each other.
Now, I am an intensely emotional person. Intensely. Put it down to whatever you will — Cancerian, INFP, HSP, female. And I realise that not everyone values that level of emotional connection or open display of vulnerability as much as I do.
But in that moment, I was so intensely glad for the ‘sisterhood’. So intensely glad to be part of the female half of the species, who are (or who can be, given half a chance) so honest with their pain and so immediate in their support.
It made me feel like there was hope. For the world. In the women. So much hope.
And I could see that this hope is being seeded in the next generation. It will carry on and continue and grow, as it has for millennia.
That thing that I saw? That connection that I witnessed? The kinetic potential in that moment? That’s how we’re gonna change the world…
‘The world will be saved by the Western woman.’
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama