Girls With Claws

textile designs, 1988, various silks

If we, as women, find ourselves in the company of good and true girlfriends sometime in a life,

We ought to pause and reflect on what it took for us to get to that shining place.

Because it ain’t easy.

We are bred to find one another the enemy.

Are you prettier than I and will you gain the attention of the man or job or acknowledgement I WANT?

Do you have more money or better breeding than I and does that make you shine brighter and maybe keep me from acquiring someone’s attention I might need or desire?

Are you smarter than I?

Do you have a law degree and maybe that gives you a leg up on the ladder that I can’t even reach?

Is your home one I might envy instead of just taking joy you have it?

Do you know mysterious and secret things about Nature that might make you a better student than me?

Do you have a lover who is handsome and when he puts his arm around you, you look 16?

I want that.

I want those things.

I want what I have and everything else, too…

Four women shared a dinner table last night.

We like and respect one another a great deal.

We are beginning a study group together and this dinner was the first time we sat ’round a table together.

The energy between us began to get competitive and judgmental and wonky as the dinner progressed.

I was withdrawn from the start as I should never have been there because the place was too expensive but I had missed our first meeting and wanted to belong so I went.

One friend walked in looking like the pure gorgeousness she is.

I couldn’t just leave it at that..

I wanted her giraffe-print coat.

Then, when she talked about ‘three-day horse events and caviar and chignons and her family’s power’ I felt lonely and began to judge her.

It was my response to feeling lonely for her company.. the woman I know and love when we are by ourselves.

All of a sudden, when the four of us got in a group, the various defenses came out; our honed protective mechanisms.

We used what we knew to separate ourselves because we haven’t yet learned how to be together.

Some of us judged.

Some went to sleep.

Some told stories.


We each left with claw marks on us.

Inadvertent, yes.

But there, just the same.

Women have to work to feel safe with one another and not hyper- vigilant that we’ll be left with ‘not enough’,

Is a cultural overlay that we’ve lived with for eons.

It takes honesty and effort to dissolve the armor we’ve all got that prevents us from truly enjoying our sisters.

Today, I’m trimming my nails.

And forgiving myself.

And all of us.

For wanting so much to love but often not knowing how.


2 Responses to “Girls With Claws”

  1. gerry harty on December 19th, 2010

    cathy…everything you say in everything you’ve written about is so very honest…this is honesty taken to the highest level…thank you for touching a raw nerve in all of us…gerry

  2. Carol S. on December 20th, 2010

    hmmm….very true and an artfully told story (right down to the giraffe jacket). I have two instances of this in my life recently. One, a co-worker/job-share type partner woman went on the attack with me, and recently was let go after some really sad behavior. Sure, I was to blame some, but instead of working things out and being honest about the issues, it turned into vicious, mean words and ultimately her demise. Sad. Then I was just with a group of college friends this weekend after almost a year break. We fell into some nice banter, but sadly so much was just surface nice-ities, and the night was over before the real scoop came out. We need to meet more often for that trusting to occur. Sad. No claws in this circle, happily. Take care this week Cathy.

Leave a Reply