I know. I feel you.
It can be hard to bust into a girl group. At the gym, in the carpool line, within a philanthropy. A new neighborhood. Even amongst 12-step groups. I get it. I’ve moved a lot. I’ve had to find my tribe over and over again. It’s not easy.
Last November, right before Thanksgiving, I got introduced to Bar Method classes by a woman I met for coffee who taught there. Believe me, she had to twist my arm to get me to an 8:15 Saturday morning class!
Wow. Guys, it was love at first sight. The exercises, the punchy playlists, the immaculate, orderly, hushed feminine studios.
I also appreciated the energetic yet femme atmosphere. No one grunted. Not a single person wore a ball cap backwards! Not one woman sat around hunched over a phone, scrolling the news feed like a zombie. I mean, I have a membership at a fitness club here, but it’s all so, male.
Bar Method provided that touch of female energy and power I needed. The feminine community I craved and missed from my dance studio days in California.
Yet still, it took me months to break in. For anyone to offer more than a murmured, ‘oh, hi.’ Everyone already knew each other. I was unfamiliar. And honestly, older than most.
Then, this spring, I started noticing this one woman who always arrived early and stood in the same place every time. Waiting for class to start. Friendly, smiling. Often, the only African American in the room. Other women were always taking counsel with her. Rachelle.
So I started smiling at Rachelle before class. Then I’d say hello and she’d respond. I looked forward to seeing her standing sentinel in her little corner, anchoring the room with her presence.
One day, I was in desperate need of a massage therapist. Rachelle whipped out her phone and gave me the number to an excellent Japanese Shiatsu practitioner. A lovely woman named Mayumi who kneaded and coaxed out many a rough spot this spring and summer.
So, loves, it takes time. You have to keep trying. Keep reaching out.
Because once you get that first connection, even if your girl doesn’t become a lifetime bestie, she’s a toe-hold. Someone you can see and count on to make your world more familiar. More relaxed. More reassured.
Once Rachelle and I connected, other women started opening up, the instructors began including me in convos after class.
People have to see you come around. Before they’ll extend. They just do.
It only takes one. One femme to make your day, to provide the familiar. To open up your world. That’s why we keep trying. Be somebody’s Rachelle.