OPINION: Hardest battles require a strong support system

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Three female friends walks toward the Math and Science Building at Riverside City College on March 22. (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)
By Maria Odenbaugh

Becoming a woman is a long trip down a road that never ends. We’re faced with road blocks in every step of the journey while we find our identity. 

As women we have to deal with unjust circumstances that were built in this nation that will take a lifetime and more to make just again. 

Without the cooperation and relationships made possible by women there would be no progress. Political activists and role models that listened to and banned together with other women are the reason we have the advantages we have.

This month it’s important to appreciate and understand the relationships between women that get us through the unpredictable waves of being a woman. 

Menstrual cycles, hormones, unrealistic body and health expectations make it difficult to think you’re the same woman you were three days ago. 

Although the “woman experience” is not the same for everyone, it’s a relatable journey. 

The experience of being a teenage girl wouldn’t be possible without the relationships and platonic love with other girls going through the same adversities. 

Those intimate moments with your girlfriends are crucial. That moment where you’re expressing to your best friend in the school bathroom how you feel after your first relationship breaks your teenage heart, or those midnight bar bathroom chats that restore your confidence after a horrible night are experiences that fill you with gratitude. The friendships we gain while figuring out the world are the best part of being a woman. 

There is great comradery in bonding with other girls. They make you feel like you’re not alone. 

You need to be surrounded with people who will just get you, understand you without judgment. 

Once I turned twenty, I realized how much I needed the moments and relationships with my girlfriends that grounded me. Every time I’ve had a bad day or stressful week I automatically turn to my girlfriends to vent. I crave moments where I feel invincible with these women that inspire me everyday. Those moments are crucial to finding my identity. Feeling this type of solidarity has helped in my growing process.

Brunch, self care nights and car therapy sessions are what I need sometimes to detach from the stressful work and school priorities. Most life altering decisions are talked through with these girlfriends, I value their advice because of the connections we’ve made. I trust and appreciate the relationships I have with the women in my life. 

The connection women make with other women is essential to surviving in a world filled with  people who want to see us go back into the kitchen. 

Friendships that were either formed over a lifetime, twenty minutes in the bar bathroom or a lab partner you only see for a semester are essential and therapeutic. Something to be cherished. 

Women friendships make you appreciate your womanhood. 

It makes you appreciate what advantages you have as a woman like the ability to birth a human person while still navigating the rest of your life. Rather than focusing on the disadvantages we may still have, it’s important to focus on what we can do. We can continue to work in solidarity.

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