The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

Senorita Chica Girls

on April 1, 2013

This is a tribute to all the women with whom I have been honored to share moments or years of friendship throughout my life. I am a lover of all things women. I treasure my friendships with women and I notoriously seek out the company, counsel and comfort of women.

When I am in the middle of an incredibly confusing  or frustrating or infuriating discussion, argument, conversation or heart-to-heart with the man I love dearly, I am entirely confident any one of my women friends would get me without me even having to share a small fraction of all the words I used up trying to explain my experience and perspective to my beloved. In fact, after some of those said conversations, I have been known to pick up the phone and phone-a-friend (THANK GOD for this invention) and check my instincts. And I have never been disappointed. A few words in and I get that they get me and I can breathe again and feel like a regular person and not some impossibly illogical human being.

I need my women friends. This life would not hold a fraction of the joy nor sanity I experience if it were not for the women I have known all along – whether they be my closest girlfriends or women I have never met but whose words and experiences I have heard of and connected with or women I have shopped next to or been with in a crowded room and shared a moment, a glance in which we connected. I wholeheartedly love all things woman. Side note: my husband, Brian, actually asked me if I had considered that maybe I might have wanted to marry a woman. You know how it goes…. If you love coffee so much, why don’t you marry it? … If you love women so much, why don’t you marry one? Juvenile. Although, when he asked, I did take a moment to consider if he might be on to something…but nah…I was born THIS way, not THAT way.

Chica  is a term of endearment I use for some of the special ones I’ve gotten to know more closely and, therefore, love just a little more dearly. Little word (pun intended) with a big message. It means something when I call a woman chica. Kaya, my 4 year-old daughter doesn’t quite get this yet. I called her chica recently to which she responded quite adamantly, “Don’t call me chica! I not your chica!” She doesn’t get it and we also don’t speak Spanish in our home. Chica, coming from me, is the acknowledgement of a deep connection I feel to you. It’s me telling you that you occupy a sacred place in my soul reserved for women only. A space that fills me up and one which overflows with joy at your being in my life. I believe in the power of chicas in my life and in the world. Let’s claim it, chicas, we’ve got it goin’ on! If you need a song to get you going here’s this one or this one or this one.  And if none of those songs work for you, maybe this picture of a chica dancing to one of them will do the trick.

My little chocolate-smeared face chica, Kaya, dancing.

My little chocolate-smeared face chica, Kaya, dancing.

We are women and we are here on a mission to raise up the world. I believe this and I get excited about the possibilities every time I witness that wisdom of women expressed around me in everyday life. We have our very own gifts that are only ours to give to each other and to the world. We show care and love in a way that only we can.

We are able to see into each other’s spirits and souls with barely a second glance at each other. We can spot each other in a crowd and send out love vibes to each other quicker than instant messaging can do. We are able to get each other and life in ways that only we are gifted to do. We could be sitting in a restaurant next to another group of women and know exactly what the women in the other group are giving and getting from each other. We can see a mama trying to handle a crazy kid situation and we know exactly what that mama is dealing with on the inside. We can look at a little girl holding her little girlfriend’s hand and know exactly how happy she is on the inside for having that hand to hold. We can watch a teenage girl looking into the eyes of the object of her crush and we can feel exactly what she is feeling without a doubt in our minds.

We get each other in sacred ways. Even gorilla women know this. Did you hear the story about, Binti Jua, an 8 year-old gorilla who rescued and protected a 3 year-old boy who had fallen into the gorilla den at the zoo and then carried him to a safe place and handed him over to the zoo people? You can check it out here. She was a gorilla chica, no doubt! She was aware that a woman out there would want her to take care of her baby the same way she would want someone to take care of her baby. I believe we human chicas share something with chicas in the rest of the animal world. The best piece of advice I’ve learned is to tell my kids that if they are lost, they need to find a mama with kids and ask her to help them. A mama with kids is a good bet because her woman instincts are likely to be heightened because of mamahood.

Hence (not sure why I’m choosing this formal transition), I am occasionally disappointed when I witness another woman not claim this sacred part of who she is. I feel a bit of a spirit sadness when one of us brings another down. When I say something or look at another woman in a certain KNOWING way and get nothing back. Or when I hear other women talk with or about each other in ways that don’t lift us up, I feel that spirit sadness. I’ve been on both sides in my life. Believe me, no pedestal here to stand on when I talk about this. I have made snap and unkind judgments about an outfit or a statement or an interaction I have witnessed. I have refused, on occasion, to acknowledge and affirm understanding when a woman has searched for it in my eyes by turning away. I have pretended not to see the struggling spirit of a woman in a difficult situation because I was too wrapped up in my own situation to join in hers – even for a second. And every time – every single time – I have felt that spirit sadness. I know I have disappointed. I have let myself and womankind down. I recognize it from deep in my spirit. We women can’t afford to do that. A wise man (they carry a special kind of wisdom, too) once said:

“If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is WOMEN!”

The quote, by Bishop Desmond Tutu, hits home for me. I believe it and I strive to live it. We are sacred to each other’s spirits and to the world. We have to build each other up every chance we get. We need each other to hold up this world.

Namaste, a Hindi word often used today in the Western world, particularly in yoga (something cool my peeps developed) sessions, translates to “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit within you.” We need to say it to each other and tell it to our sisters and mothers and daughters. We need to recognize the divine spirit in ourselves and in each other. We women need to practice saluting each other this way daily in every interaction with or without words. I’ve been learning this lesson in my life. I believe it’s a lesson we must all learn and it becomes a rite of passage in our lives. I’ve got this message clearly imprinted on my soul and I invite you to hold me to it if I ever disappoint again.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to all the women in my life who have lifted me up and also to those who didn’t and thus, offered me an opportunity to learn a lesson. Thanks to the chicas and girlfriends and mothers and other-mothers and strangers who have shown me how wonderful we can be by just being yourselves and bringing your woman gifts to the table and giving them away freely. Thank you to the mama who held your daughter tight to comfort her while getting a vaccination when I was 10 years old and terrified while waiting in line who helped me learn a tender way to comfort my children. Thank you to the women who stand tall and Lean In (thanks, Sheryl Sandberg) to their careers and sparkle and teach me to get comfortable with sparkling, too. Thank you to the kind nurse who held my hand and helped me breathe through a really hard contraction while my mother, brother, and husband dozed off (it was about an 18 hour labor of love) and taught me how to connect to a woman you barely know by just holding her hand and breathing with her. Thank you to my dear mama friends who assure me almost daily that I’m doing alright and teach me how to forgive myself. Thank you to the  chicas who live far away in miles but right inside my soul daily so that anytime I call, whether it’s been an hour or a month or a year, we can begin a conversation as if we’ve been talking the entire time. Thank you to the feisty old ladies who have died and earned this quote on their tombstone:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, margarita in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ~ WOO HOO what a ride!”

Thank you to the girlfriends who show up for birthdays and births and happy hours and potlucks and sick days and movie nights because they need to connect soul-to-soul and heart-to-heart and laugh at light things and speak about difficult things and support each other on important issues that change the world – or, at the very least, a very small part of the world inside us. You all rock my world and I will hold you up every chance I get. Cheers. Namaste.

Truthfully yours,

Rhina

P.S. If you’re a man reading this, thank you for being curious enough and feeling enough of an affinity for some things women to read to the end. There’s another special, sacred place for you in my soul and I will tell you about it some day. Ladies first.

P.S. ² This was the first post I asked Brian to preview and the only response I got was, “Did you seriously consider that?”  He was straight- faced (pun intended) and concerned about my response. He did read it to the end, though.

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11 responses to “Senorita Chica Girls

  1. Katherine G says:

    I absolutely enjoyed this post!! Love every word!!!

  2. […] I need support.  We all need support for this role of spearheading a family, drawing out our children, organizing a household and raising up the world. (quoting one of my chicas) […]

  3. mperezreid says:

    I miss you my friend. During these hard days of transition, Your chica-love has kept me going in many ways. I love you and thank you for giving of yourself and shining your light on the world.

  4. While many lines personally reverberated for me, I found these two chill-giving in the most inspirational chica-est kinds of way: ” We are able to see into each other’s spirits and souls with barely a second glance at each other. We can spot each other in a crowd and send out love vibes to each other quicker than instant messaging can do.” You GET it. Namaste.

  5. Kara says:

    Love you, chica!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate your blog so much. It’s helping me to reconsider my general cynicism. For real…

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