The Sisterhood We'll Always Have
The 3 secrets to successful sisterhood
Ria explores the secrets to maintaining a successful sisterhood, reflecting on her relationship with her own sisters and how this continues to change and grow over the years
Originally, this blog was meant to be about the cultural differences of sisterhood in my experience as a British Asian woman. But when I got to thinking, nothing specific came to mind as something unique to Asian sisterhood that didn’t fall into the more general experience of being an Asian woman.
What came to mind was a very poignant moment of this year and of my life. Our sister Mara got married this year. It was thrilling and exciting and beautiful - all the things you’d hope a wedding to be. As with our parents, Mara had two weddings, a traditional Sikh Punjabi wedding and a traditional English church wedding to honour both cultures of their relationship. This very poignant moment I’m referring to is the quiet moment before the Sikh ceremony starts where the bride’s brothers normally bring her into the Gurdwara to seat her next to her groom. But, we’re three sisters so instead, it was us giving Mara away in a sense. I didn’t realise this was happening until the day really and so when the moment happened, Sita and myself and our cousin Mala holding and standing around her, guiding her steps and bringing her literally and symbolically into this new phase of her life, the significance really struck me.
For the 23 years of my life, we were the three musketeers, Rachel/Monica/Phoebe, Harry/Ron/Hermione, literally any iconic trio. And now, we had a brother in the mix too. I said this during our speech at the wedding, but I can’t think of anyone we’d want to welcome more into the cult than our, now, brother Chris. However, that sisterhood, that untouchable dynamic of Sita/Mara/Ria will always be unchanged. No one else in the world is privy to that dynamic, that bond, that ridiculous energy. Our ability to make each other laugh with one look or obscure quote, communicating through lines from ‘Friends’ and fighting ruthlessly, only to make up after it’s passed like nothing ever happened.
Now, I’m not saying we’re perfect, but after a collective 30 years of existing together (I arrived and made the last 23 particularly memorable) there’s a lot we’ve learnt that makes our sisterhood so special and so vital. So here are just 3 of the top lessons to learn from and apply to whatever sisterhood you’re lucky enough to be privy to.
1. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’
I’ve said it before but sisterhood is like having your own team. Whether by choice or blood, any sort of sisterhood thrives under the conditions that you treat yourselves like a team, all working towards a collective goal. It makes problem solving more efficient and helps swallow pride and ego in the toughest moments. And whether you’re teenagers dealing with the tricky world of parents or uni pals experiencing a separation after graduation, the team mindset, High School Musical ‘we’re all in this together’ mindset makes for much easier decisions and a shared load. Trust me, work as a team.
2. Call them out
Even if you love someone, it doesn’t make them perfect. We all have flaws and spaces in which we need to grow and develop. The best sisterhood wants each other to bloom into the best versions of themselves and a sisterhood indicates a responsibility to each other. In this case, no one has their back like you do and calling them out on their behaviour is no different. If you see them fuck up, fall or repeat a toxic pattern, call them out, call them in and support that development. I don’t trust anyone more than my sisters to do this and some of the best lessons I’ve learnt were ones that I didn’t even know I needed to learn because I was so oblivious to my own behaviour. Trust your sisterhood and people who know you the best, even if it’s not easy to hear.
3. Love them, unapologetically
Sisterhood is a constant evolution. You have different stages, timing and vibes. But I know our sisterhood went through the most significant evolution when our gorgeous Daddy died. The way we had to lean on and provide for each other stepped up to a whole new level. And as often is the case, losing someone
you love makes clear who you love and how much people need to know before it’s too late. We were always a particularly loving, caring, tactile family. We don’t so much as leave a room without saying I love you and particularly post-Dad, phones are never hung up without uttering it. We all love differently, this is something I am waking up to more this year. Sita is the ultimate golden retriever energy, jumping all over you tactile sister. Mara is the talker and empath, able to undo your stronghold with one look. I think I’m more of the acts of service sister, I show my love through things, gifts, advice and criticism. All of us have similarities and differences but I wouldn't have it any other way and it works beautifully. I’m learning to appreciate how we love differently and tune myself in more to what we all need. But even with all these details, and that my style of love is less overt perhaps, there’s nothing I love more than loving my sisters unapologetically. I will rant and rave to everyone in my life about them. They are my soulmates. We write eachother love notes, many of which I have stuck on my wall in front of me, we hug and kiss non stop, we stop everything for each other and, the group chat is fire.
I love these women more than anything. They are my soulmates. Love the people in your sisterhood unapologetically because people who bring you that much care and joy deserve it.
Sita and Mara - this will always be our sisterhood. Forever & always.