Friendship? Support? In this life…you’re going to need them.
The Importance of Friendship and Support Systems
Friendship is one of the most important support systems we need throughout life. Not to bring up the past, but most of us can agree that our understanding of friendship and connection became a lot more apparent during the pandemic. Regardless of how we might have felt prior, or how exhausted we were of day-to-day activities and people, we missed relationships and community. We understood that for physical health reasons, we needed the period of separation; but for mental health reasons, some of us were not okay. And when the streets opened up again, we were ready to get back to connections as normal – church, birthdays, baby showers, family reunions…and the much-needed GIRLS TRIP!
For females, there seems to be an innate need for relationships with other females very early on. Not from a place of competition, but rather from a place of need and support. We begin to learn and glean from each other very early in our journeys. It seems there is a security found in female friendship that anchors us to life in some way. If you know your know.
The Loads Women Carry
There was a FaceBook post that read, “Just because she carries it well doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.” That shook me to my core. When I read it I immediately thought about every woman I know. Those who have carried giant-sized loads while making those loads look easy and acceptable.
The first woman I recall carrying this presumptive load was my grandmother. I had very little knowledge until after my grandmother passed of the magnitude of some of the burdens she carried. But she was only one, among many women, who have carried the burden of children, grandchildren, husbands, jobs and careers, church, and society.
How did she do it all?!?!
A Support System
One of the things I learned from my grandmother was she had a support system. A group of women. A circle of friends who she talked to regularly. Prayed with. Confided in. And who supported each other well.
There are stages
A few years ago, as I had parts of “the talk” with my niece and daughter, my mother ordered them both some supporting literature. Some books that were suggested to us were “The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls” (the American Girl Collection). These books (there are about 4-5 altogether) are a great resource for girls as they make the transition into womanhood, covering a wide range of topics such as body image, self-esteem, basic hygiene, and much more. Not only is it a helpful tool for young girls, but it also provides an excellent opportunity for mothers to have open, honest conversations with their daughters about some of the more challenging issues they may face.
The authors break down every detail of transitioning into puberty. But what struck me the most was…everything tackled was issues that will not only be met entering puberty but throughout most of a woman’s life.
One of the tips echoed throughout the reading was the importance of helping young girls understand they are not alone on their journey, AND the importance of identifying and establishing their support system as they embrace their womanhood journey; because there are a lot of changes that will take place along the way, so there will need to be individuals identified who can help with the process.
Isn’t that a great way to begin? Understanding that the transitions of life should not be tackled alone? First and foremost, a SUPPORTS YSTEM should be identified. So then…why do we try to tackle life and certain situations alone?
It’s a Process
If we think about it, isn’t life just one big process of never-ending puberty? Constantly growing…evolving…changing?
As my two young ladies timidly began to listen and engage themselves in the selected literature, they had mixed emotions. Excited to grow up, but completely terrified by some of the processes that are inevitable to their embarkation into coming of age. The book explained that coming of age takes place between ages 8 and 14; and will continue to develop until around age 17 or 18. But honestly… Will it ever stop? And will we ever stop needing to establish and confirm our support system? I think not.
WOMEN NEED STRONG SUPPORT
As I mentioned, it’s been a few years since I began having “the talk” with my daughter and niece. Both have come of age at this point and are navigating as well as could be expected. But, I still find interest in the chapters of that book “The Care & Keeping of You.” First of all, I love the title. We might refer to it as “MINDFULNESS.” But regardless of what we might call it, caring for ourselves and keeping ourselves well (especially as women) should never be concepts that we overlook or neglect.
The other part of the book I often reflect on is the point of the importance of the support system. But not just any support system. I found the revelation in the mini-chapter on… what else? BRAS!
Yes! If you think about it, the support systems we need throughout life have a striking resemblance to our need as women for not only good bras but different kinds of bras. We require different sizes. Different colors depending on what we’re wearing or how we’re feeling. Then, there’s also a need for different types of support.
So, in pure Dawn fashion, I’ve created an acronym for BRA-S – Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance (for your Sister).
With life comes so many challenges; especially in the life of women. Not only do we have our dreams and aspirations, but then we must also take on and support the dreams and aspirations of our life partners and children. Many times, putting our own goals on the back burner so others can flourish. We are the nurturers and adjusters.
While we try to hold up the burdens of the world, we wear the burden of being the primary supporter to so many. The children, sometimes our siblings, and our friends. We work the 9-5s and then rush to provide what is needed from 6-10 PM. Then, still, we may have to pull than all-nighter with a sick child.
From the expectations, do we exclude the woman who is not married, but wants to be? Who doesn’t have children, but desires them? Did we think that she was just doing nothing?!?! No! Most of the time she’s filling in the gaps for the before-mentioned friend that sometimes forgets that her ride-or-die who is ALWAYS available needs to be seen too.
Yet still, there are other women, who fall into either of the aforementioned categories, who are now dealing with the bad report, the loss of a job, the wayward child, the divorce, or the unfavorable health diagnosis for themselves, their spouse, child, or their aging parent. Still, she is expected to continue on her original journey AND take on this.
Can she do it? Of course she can. I believe women were built differently because we are different. We are strong, resilient, and we make things happen. BUT…we are human. And humans need support and engagement. That’s how we refuel.
Friendship Requires Support
Have you ever noticed you can get good peace from some alone time or a vacation, but you get your energy from being around people you like? It’s true. Think about someone who brings you joy and energy regardless of how tired you are. I bet you smiled just thinking about them.
Coming of age teaches us about “cycles,” but it’s bigger than just a period. We are literally coming to an understanding of the cycles of life. The cycle of life never stops. It just takes different shapes and has different stages of development, both individually and collectively. With the cycles come growth. Growth is different from person to person and happens at different times. Each of us is always growing; especially in those times that seem like darkness and nothingness. Remember that’s the planting…the pruning of growth. The necessary components to our growth. And with anything that grows…it needs support. So why wouldn’t you?
5 BRA-S of Friendship
So…back to the BRA concept.
Do you have the right BRA-S? The right friendship support?
We need supporters in different BRA categories depending on where we are in life. We need Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance in our friendships.
So here goes…We may need:
- Training BRA-S – These friends DON’T DO MUCH TO HELP OUR DEVELOPMENT, but they help us develop a better understanding of friendship and support, and help us to understand what types of friends and support we really desire. These friends aren’t useless. We will still grow to appreciate them, though it may seem like they didn’t serve much of a purpose at first. In time, their roles may shift over OR out.
- Soft-Cup BRA-S – These friends are KIND and FLEXIBLE. These friends provide just enough support but are not overbearing. They give you just the amount of space you need. These friends may not be your tightest…but they offer support nonetheless.
- Sports BRA-S – These friends are stronger than they look. They have you covered more than you think. They may not be around every day, but when you need EXTRA REINFORCEMENT or things get ready to “jump off” (LOL), they’ve got your back.
- Built-In BRA-S – These friends are family, and may actually be a sister or cousin, or a friend that has been your friend so long she seems like family. These friends…You don’t need to ask. You don’t need to tell. They already know…and THEY ARE THERE. PERIOD.
- Underwire BRA-S – When things get heavy, these are the friends who HOLD YOU UP. They pray for you, support you, tell you the truth…even if you don’t want to hear it. They give you extra back support and help to lift your shoulders.
Who are your BRA-S in Friendship?
Now, you tell me, who’s your support system? Do you have some good BRA-S (Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance)? Or is it time for a new fitting? Because always remember, just like with an actual bra, even when you know your size, you still may have to make some adjustments. I’m just saying…
So, in recognition of my BRA-S, I would like to acknowledge the amazing women in my life who keep me grounded, prayed up, safe, confident, encouraged, and determined to walk in my purpose and finish my course. You are my support system, my confidantes, and my personal cheerleaders. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of ill-fitting bras and unbalanced. Thank you for supporting me through thick and thin, just like a good bra should. In fact, you’re better than any bra I’ve ever owned, because you make me feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.
Ladies, if you haven’t already, take a moment to appreciate the special BRA-S in your life. Leave a comment and give them the love and acknowledgment they deserve. And if you’re currently braless, it’s time to find your perfect fit. Life’s too short to go unsupported in friendship. Together, we can lift each other up and conquer the world, one bra at a time. Love you all, and remember, support is always in style.
Love you and I mean it. ~Dawn~
More Like This
As always, LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and SUBSCRIBE to the Dawn of a New Day 365 Life Blog for more content like this. Looking for some encouragement in this new season, check out these blogs: