We can’t celebrate Women’s History Month without putting a spotlight on the beauty and essentialness of sisterhood. I am not talking DNA, genetics, or chromosomal sisters. I am speaking on strangers becoming friends who then turn into sisters: a bond is created, the secrets are shared, and obstacles are overcome because these women are there to see and help pull you through! Of course the best part of this bond is all of the laughter that creates ultimate memories. If you would just allow me a moment of your time, I want to tell you a story about 5 strangers who found their way to sisterhood on Facebook. Ironically enough, that’s also how I met the administrator of The Ideal Firestarter.
So here we are, 2 years ago on Facebook, commingling in a private group. The following post caught my attention:
“Does anyone have Marco Polo?
I was thinking we could take this group
and make it more interactive.”
After dozens of comments, this lead to 29 women in a video app putting voices with faces they had only seen for 5 or more years in a profile photo or maybe an occasional live video. I know what you are thinking. “Twenty-nine people talking in a video chat format?” Oh! That number decreased rapidly. For a good month, we were at a steady 16. We developed a daily routine of conversing on the app, so much so that the next evident thing was to plan a meet up!
Ready. Set. Go!
Location was selected.
Airbnb scouted and priced.
Activities planned and a budget set.
Our daily routine of cracking jokes, opening up more about our lives and pasts, and a Friday ritual of virtual drinking games were in full effect. As our October meetup date started to get closer, the hefty 16 had dwindled down to 10 members with 7 of us attending our trip!
Eight days before taking this sisterhood from cyberspace to reality, we received a bombshell video message in the app:
“Hey ladies, I won’t be attending the trip.
I just feel like I’m not in the right mental space to do so”.
This message came from the person who was handling our budget, activities and accommodations. After she pulled out of the trip at the last minute, we quickly discovered she “misappropriated” some of our funds. At least the Airbnb was paid for, right? As you can conceive, she left the group, and now we were down to 9 members. Meetup day arrived and, by 10 pm that evening, 5 of the 7 members were at the Airbnb like old college friends reuniting. The virtual bond transcended beautifully in person. We laughed, drank, ate, and blossomed our bond further that first night. The next day, we anticipated the arrival of 2 other members who were slated to meet up with us. Upon their arrival, we were going to head out for a night of fun! The final member was scheduled to arrive at our home for the next 3 days around 10:45 pm and she was driving in.
The time was nearing 11 pm, and we called to inquire about her ETA only to get no answer. After several calls over an hour span, we all were worried and in praying mode. Not sure of the exact time, but by 1 am, we received a call from her. She told us she was in an accident, and she didn’t know where she was! We told her to ping her location and we will come to her. Ten minutes passed. We didn’t receive anything information about her location. Now, her phone was going straight to voicemail.
Panic and worry had consumed us all. Before we knew it, 6 am was here and still no word! By 11 am we finally got a call from her telling us she was safe and she would catch us up on what happened in the Marco Polo group later. The mood was now lighter and the fun could now commence. Another day of eating, laughing, drinking, partying, and most importantly bond strengthening. Later that evening, we were ready to get out of that house!
Enter Marco Polo Notification sound. It’s our member that was in an accident. Her mood was very somber and she proceeded to tell the story of her accident. How afterwards a man approached to “help her”, but instead dragged her off and raped her. I won’t go through the range of emotions, just know that no one went out that night. The next 2 days were as good as they could have been, considering.
Two months after the meetup, our 9 member group was now 8. By then, a few of us started to see some inconsistencies in the story that was told to us by the member who said she was assaulted. Not wanting to “victim shame” or outright call her a liar, we asked for clarity about that night. Just as we suspected, the more we queried, the more the story unraveled. There we were, feeling duped along with the big question of, “Why?”
This discovery lead to a small dissention in our group. One member was absolutely convinced that she was telling the full truth. Ironically, as the group grew smaller in numbers, the love and bond grew stronger. Life throws curve balls at each us of at different points and my Sisters By Soul are right there for each other.
There were many challenges we faced with other members that are notable; great stories to look back on and laugh at; but the core 5 that are featured in this blog are the epitome of what sisters and sisterhood should represent. Like sisters, we argue and give each other the silent treatment. We roast each other, support, encourage, motivate, and have failed diet attempts. By far, the greatest accomplishment is, even with some of the setbacks we were faced with, it only felt natural to stay bonded the way family does.
[images from author’s social media]