A while back, someone I know who is definitely on the line between "acquaintance" and "friend" said she was starting a feminist book club. And I got immediately excited about the idea. Like, disproportionately excited.
And in thinking about why, I think it's that I miss, in some ways, having a community of women. I have plenty of women friends, of course, some of you among them — but I don't have (I thought) a women-specific community of women. I've had them before, eschewed them before, and finally settled on just listening to my own excitement, got the audio book, and listened to The Round House as I did a lot of driving around a few weekends ago.
Book club itself was great. Next time, we're reading Kate Chopin's The Awakening, and I'm pretty excited — not just because one of the other members of the group is a bona fide rock star and published author of a book I love. For a bunch of white women in a feminist book club in Vermont, we're pretty diverse, and the thoughts shared sparked new thoughts, and basically it was all very nice.
Then this week, I went to therapy. It's not a big deal; I'm usually in therapy. I like therapy, a lot, actually. But about a year ago, my therapist pulled together a group to do group therapy, all women, varying ages and orientations, and we get together and do therapy (which often involves more movement or psychodrama or whatever, rather than just talking) every other week.
But it is maybe not coincidence that I was missing a community of women during the period that my therapy group went nearly two months without a meeting.
And last night, to settle back in, we just talked — no movement, no psychodrama. And very quickly, it felt like what I like to hope feminist consciousness-raising groups were like. It was amazing, the points of commonality, the nods and gasps as we became increasingly aware of how alike so much of our baggage is.
Earlier in the day, I'd had a longer-than-expected dental appointment, because my hygienist and I are friends, and we needed to talk about politics and her kids and my teeth. As I left, she'd said, "We need to get together," and I knew she meant the two of us and the mutual friend who introduced us, and again, I was immediately and disproportionately excited.
Day 4 of our month of gratitude: I am thankful for communities of women, the more inclusive*, the better. I am thankful for opportunities to talk about similarities and differences of experience, about socialization and its impact. I am thankful for quilting bees and daycare collectives and dental chairs and book clubs and my suite in my college dorm.
*It occurred to me late that I should be specific here. I mean, inclusive of people who identify as women, specifically including people with different body parts, ages, classes, races, family backgrounds, ideologies, abilities, and experiences.