Blog #4: Why It’s Vital to Surround Yourself With Strong Women, Especially Creative Hustlers
I’ve always valued my friendships, especially with women. This may be just ingrained in me but I am pretty sure being raised by a single mother played a big part.
My parents divorced when I was very young so I don’t ever remember living with my dad. And, I have an older sister who is 10 years my elder. And, when I wasn’t spending weekends at my dad’s house, I was almost always with my mother and her friends and their kids. So basically, the majority of my life, I’ve been surrounded by women. And, super strong women at that.
My older went to college when I was 8 years-old so it was just my mom and me from then on. We spent so much time with her friends’ kids, that we all decided we would just call each other cousins. I watched my mom and her friends grow together in a way that I knew was different from other moms’ friendships. They were each other’s support system, family and therapists. Sometimes it got so emotional between them that me and the other kids, my “cousins”, would call them the First Wives Club. During one Christmas, one of them turned to me and said, “Let me tell you something about men…” I was about 10-years-old and it was then when I learned to keep my composure in awkward and intense situations.
But what stayed with me out of all those years around the First Wives Club was their support system. I constantly kept on eye out for friendships like that and have been very lucky throughout my life in finding and keeping most of those relationships. My oldest friendship is with a girl I’ve known since I was 3-years-old. We are very different but I love her to death and would do anything for her. But sometimes (maybe going into your 30’s has something to do with it?) you start to realize that not everyone is down to stay for a ride.
So this is where those famous quotes come in about letting go of friendships that no longer serve you or help you grow. It happens, it sucks, and then you have no other choice to move on. But focus on those who stick around where you can be your genuine self, completely vulnerable, shame-free, and where you help each other grow spiritually and mentally.
But then there are the other kinds of relationships that I was unknowingly cultivating for years that I didn’t start to appreciate until I became a creative hustler: the hard-working, creative go-getters in media, who blog, photograph, etc. who I’ve met at networking events, conferences, and through other creative women who thought I might get along with their friends. Ever since I realized these kinds of relationships existed, I’ve been super open about bringing more into my circle.
I’m talking about the kind where you have long conversations about the side hustle you want to dive into, brainstorm ideas for that blog or podcast you want to launch, and you get excited about feminist leaders coming to speak in your area and you immediately forward each other the news via text, email and DM. It’s oozes girl power, positivity, and support. Literally, no haters allowed, and cattiness is not a language we speak and we walk away from negativity. We are too grown to waste time on that. Because we are savvy ladies who know time is money and we aren’t wasting on it on BS.
It’s the kind of empowerment that no self-book can give you. It’s the kind of support that feels like that group text came to life and they are cheering you on the sidelines (with signs!) as you walk into your boss’s office to ask for a raise. Where uncomfortable and real conversations are welcomed. Where everyone pitches in to help you get whatever project you have going on fucking done. Let me give you a brief breakdown from my own personal experience because these creative lady hustlers come in all shapes and sizes.
The One Who You Don’t Always Talk To But When You Do, Their Wisdom Drops Like a New Drake Album:
The One Who Checks in Regularly
The Social Butterfly Who Is Always on Top of Networking Events, Conferences, and Women Led Organizations
The One Who Supports You Wholeheartedly on Social Media
The One Who Isn’t on Social Media and When You See Her You Forget You Have a Cellphone
The One Who Might a Bit Older, Mentor Like But Is Young at Heart
The One Who Is Super Busy and Lives and Dies by Her Calendar But Always Makes Time for You
The One You Only Know Virtually But The Connection Is Oh So Real
I hope you get where I am going. These ladies mean the world to you and you would recommend them on LinkedIn in a heartbeat. They remind you that you are awesome even when you don’t feel that way. They remind you of why you started that amazing creative project.
Before I dove into blogging, I went to a Bellinis, Brunch, Blogging event hosted by Connecting Hudson Creatives, a network of women bloggers, entrepreneurs, and creatives in New Jersey coming together to connect, collaborate and empower one another. I’ve have been to numerous networking events for journalists and media but this one was very different and I loved it. I met a fellow podcaster, new and more experienced bloggers, illustrator who makes kickass logos, and so much more. The best part is that everyone was down to help each other out.
If you have a history with catty women. I am so very sorry. But I am here to tell you that there are women out there that literally get high off helping others, especially creative women like themselves. They want to see you succeed. They want to help in whatever way they can. They will cheer you on when you’ve made it. Find these women and nourish those relationships. It’s important to you as a women and as a creative hustler. You will know when you’ve found one.
Good luck, ladies!