In the same month that we celebrated 20 years of girl power from The Spice Girls, I was whisked away on my hen weekend with 13 friends. I'd never really thought about the significance of a hen party before, I guess it felt like a massive celebration with the wonderful women in your life.. (and an excuse to have a party). I was more than up for that when we set off on the party bus from Waterloo, high pitch screaming our way down the M4 with M&S cosmo cans in hand.
Well, turns out it was that and so much more.
It was everything you’d expect from a hen - we shared embarrassing sex stories, we downed tequila shots, we cackled with laughter, we hugged, we cried, we danced. And yes there were willy straws and blow up men. But what made it different was an additional layer that my hens planned (knowing me so well and knowing how much I love a chat.. I’m often the one at a party having deep and meaningfuls in the loo) - the D&M (deep and meaningful) session. It started as a bit of fun, sitting in a circle wearing catsuits and kaftans, passing a jar of questions around and answering them one by one (holding a dildo, which you could pass on if you didn’t want to answer). We were all giggling at first, some of us feeling a bit awkward with sitting in a circle together. And it was a little scary at first, feeling that exposed and vulnerable, but I can honestly say that it was one of the most powerful and liberating things I have ever done. And I wasn’t the only one that felt that way, it was a rare opportunity to share deeply and really be heard, while being surrounded by a bunch of strong and empowered women who all have your back. Without meaning to, we had turned it into a real sisterhood bonding session, and it turns out that that was exactly what we’d all been craving, we just hadn’t realised it. I discovered things about my friends that I didn’t know before and I felt such a deep connection with them in that moment. It was so inspiring to listen to the other women share their life stories, talk about challenges they’re working through and share their dreams and ambitions in life.
There was a particular question that I was so scared to answer - ‘your life story in 3 minutes’. I have this real fear of being put on the spot so when it happens, my mind tends to go blank like I have no long term memory?!? I know it was the fear that had blocked me but it meant that I couldn't reveal myself in the way that I wanted to. Since then, memories had been popping up from my life, things that I thought were buried away. So last week I had a go at writing my story and it was so cathartic, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do anything with it but in the spirit of heart opening sharing, I emailed it to the group (cue vulnerability hangover). And yes it was bloody scary putting my story into words but I felt so supported to do it and it has opened something up for me - a part of myself that was in the shadows now has permission to come out into the light. This just wouldn't have happened without that session, and I realised just how much I need a regular space for this in my life . Something really shifted for me and this is just the beginning of more heart opening sharing and a deeper connection with myself. And I know I’m not the only one who’s felt like this. That is the power of sisterhood.
I came home from that weekend feeling an overwhelming sense of love, admiration and gratitude to have such inspiring, strong, empowered women in my life, who inspire me to be the same. I was shown the importance of sisterhood and girl power, the stuff that I learnt from the Spice Girls all those years ago at the age of 11.
And I realised the real significance of a hen party.
It is to show you how supported and loved you are, both as an individual and as a couple, to prepare you for the next chapter in your life. Because having such loving friendships gives you a strong foundation for a happy and healthy relationship and marriage. And it means you don’t depend on the relationship to fulfill all your needs. These friendships make me stronger and elevate me up to be the best I can be.
Now I feel ready to enter that next chapter of my life.
And of course you don’t need a hen party for some good old sisterhood bonding, grab the women in your life that you love and organise a sisterhood circle <check out Selina’s brilliant post> and love and support each other to grow and live a life you love. In sisterhood we stand.