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i wish all the women loved on each other more. and if i want something, i have to do that something that is just how the universe works from what i can tell. in my twenties i decided i didn’t trust women the pain entered me at 17 when in high school my best girlfriend decided to stop speaking to me… | Secret Keepers by Emily Joy Rosen

i wish all the women
loved on each other more

and if i want something,
i have to do that something
that is just how the universe works
from what i can tell

in my twenties i decided
i didn’t trust women
the pain entered me at 17
when in high school
my best girlfriend
decided to stop speaking to me

i honestly didn’t let myself feel
the hurt completely
i was already busy managing
my eating disorder,
but later i realized
it broke my heart

sometimes it takes time
to recognize what is happening
on the inside

we are so accustomed to looking
outside ourselves
for clues

my body was shrinking
and i felt high
i was returning to who i was
before puberty
i had been accepted into risd
and i was going to start over
i didn’t need any of my past with me
i was the new me

i spent that summer driving around
i was taking impressionist painting classes
on cape cod
and living practically out of my car
i had gotten my food down to 450 calories a day
and was walking 3 – 5 hrs unwaveringly
i was in charge of my body
i was in full control of what i consumed each day
and there was no way my thighs
would ever touch again

i remember speeding down the highway one day
music blasting
and thinking
wow, something is different
and then realizing what it was
it was
i was longer feeling

i literally couldn’t feel
i switched the station on the radio
maybe it’s the song
i thought to myself
i need to find a sad song
and so i did
and then i sat there listening
to what a year ago
would have left me weeping
feeling nothing

and i remember thinking
this is amazing
i can’t feel
i am finally

how little did i know…

i grew more and more numb
that summer
my heart so closed
my body so cold
i was a walking ghost
living on painful memories
that confirmed for me
my lack of need for anybody

i decided i would never let
a woman in again
i decided i would always and forever
be in control of everything
and that i would always be skinny

you can’t hurt me
i used to tell myself
as i began to die,
this time literally

it’s interesting how we starve
the woman out of us
i had lost my period
lost my breasts
lost my hips
and lost my tenderness

and so being close with women
felt incredibly confronting
and given what i had experienced
i decided i just didn’t trust them

i hate to admit that
i often wish i had a sweeter story
of how i loved with abandon
from the get-go

but that isn’t true
and it no longer works for me
to lie to you

i made a best friend
my junior year of college
who was a girl
and she was the first girl
since high-school
i let in

we became inseparable
bosom friends
i had never loved anyone
outside of my family
like i loved her
like i trusted her

we had a very special thing
but i didn’t let it change me
as i wish i did
because she was different than me
and instead of having the maturity
to not make that mean something
about me
i got hurt badly
and made up that she didn’t love me
as much as i loved her
because she didn’t express love
like me

and so i moved along
without sisterhood for years
many years
i had one close girlfriend in the berkshires
but we were both struggling
so i wasn’t able to be the best friend to her

when i moved to boulder
8 years ago now
i was so excited
i was going to join a women’s group
and finally be included
in women community
i was going to have best girlfriends
and everything all the sudden
would be completely different

wow, was i mistaken

now much of this was me
but i have never felt less welcomed
in community
i have never felt more judged
less included
and more despised

and i mean literally
this is not me making up story
based on eye rolls and giggles
these are things that were said to me
to my face in plain english
leaving little room
for me to make up anything

including one woman telling me,

“you represent everything i hate about women
do you think i can’t see through you
and your desperate need to be liked by everybody
you disgust me”

i remember in that moment
thanking her for the feedback
and as she turned to walk away
crumbling to the floor
and sobbing violently
wondering what was wrong with me

and so i pulled back again
but this time
without going cold
i pulled back to reflect

was it really all these women
or was it me?

i didn’t get the answer
but i did recognize
that the only person
i had any control over
was me
and so at the very least
i could start there,
with me

i was walking around
with an unspoken
“i don’t trust you”
i was projecting that at every woman
who opened her mouth to me
and while it wasn’t intentional,
and it wasn’t conscious
it was very real
very very real
to every woman
who could feel me

but here is the fascinating thing,
and something i have learned
from studying psychology
the mind is not as discerning
as we wish it to be
and though what i was feeling was
“i don’t trust you”
the core of what was coming from me was
“don’t trust”
i was literally projecting
my lack of trust everywhere
and onto every being

so i got it, loud
and uncomfortably clear
i had to shift that
and what i know to do
is find evidence to support the belief
i am wanting to be true
because i know
we will see what we look for
we will find what we believe
and so i began slowly
looking for evidence
that told me
women were to be trusted
and that women could love me

and i must tell you, years later
this has made all the difference in the world

my life is full of amazing women
who love other women
who shine their light so bright
for themselves and their sisters
women who favor celebration
over competition
women who aren’t afraid to get messy
ugly and fight for what is right

my heart could just explode
as i think of the women
i hold most close
and remember
what it was like
to be lacking in sisterhood

i hope you can let your heart open again
to your girlfriends
if you have been hurt in this way
there is a special kind of magic
to this thing called sisterhood
that cannot be replicated
no matter how hard you try

look for evidence
to support the belief
that your sisters are trustworthy
and be the kind of woman
who is so impeccably trustworthy
so other women can learn from you
and lean on you

this my friends
is how we grow together
this my friends
is how we build real sisterhood
this my friends
is how we be the kind of woman
we wish to see more of in the world

this my love
is women loving women

❤️ emily joy rosen

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