I Believe in Tribe of Women
(An essay by Amy Reeves Robinson, adapted for reading at TEDx)
I believe in tribes of women.
I was raised mostly by my mother. I was born to her alone. But she was not alone in raising me. My grandmother, my aunt, and many adopted aunts over the years were with her every step of the way.
As a child, the harmonious chime of women’s voices, often interrupted by the ring of laughter, was ever present. Treasured time was spent in kitchens, gardens, on porches, and at dining room tables – recounting tales, sharing philosophies and memories, crying through grief, playing with babies, or sitting in a comfortable, knowing silence. We were together sometimes, other times alone, but it was known that an ear, a shoulder, or a hand was always within reach. That’s how it had been and how it would be.
And their strength, how it resonated! Their patience, how it endured. Their wisdom, how it surrounded them like a halo when they shared it – which was often, much, and without expectation. It was a gift. A seed, planted with the unwavering faith that it would someday bloom.
Years pass, and the women in my life ebb and flow as we navigate through all the ages and stages of life. Some of my tribe I see every day, some not for months, some not for years, and some have died. But time and miles never diminish their presence or influence.
They have been my refuge, my touch of reality, and my reconnect to my dreams. They are my forward movement when I can’t face the day and my respite when I’ve run too far, too fast. My tribe has shown me how to unabashedly be myself. To be a woman. And that, as women, our likenesses greatly outweigh our differences.
Now, with a daughter of my own, I watch silently smiling as her bonds develop and her friendships form with the same importance placed on trust, comfort, and connection. Some will come and go, many will stay. She will cultivate them through shared experiences, common times in life, and some for no reason other than because they are necessary to her being.
I believe in tribes of women. I believe in their strength, their beauty, their necessity, and the difference they make in lives of women. That’s how it has been and – I believe – how it will be.
Author Amy Reeves Robinson is the Founder of Tribe of Women