This Story of Sisterhood is written by Ellie Hughes of Selflessly Styled. Growing up, I had two basic perceptions of what a “sisterhood” looked like.

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The first was a convent full of devout nuns, and the second (which came about a bit later) embodied the dramatized bond I saw in the movie “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

Although I’m sure the holy sisterhood of nuns is wonderful, I was much more drawn to the second embodiment of sisterhood. I wanted the magical experience of trying on a pair of jeans and having them mysteriously fit my three best friends as well.

Jeans or no jeans, I wanted the magic of friends that felt like sisters.

My childhood unfolded in a unique setting. My parents oversaw an orphanage for kids with special needs in Mexico. Volunteers would come and go, but my family stayed. Sometimes I would make a friend my age, but they would inevitably leave after a summer or season. As I recall, my longest peer friendship lasted for just over a year.

I didn’t resent this lifestyle, it’s the only one I knew, and I’m thankful for the many ways it shaped me. But, something in me longed for a sisterhood. And I don’t just mean a sister, I have one and she’s amazing! Something in me craved that cluster of peers that could be just like family while simultaneously being so different from each other.

Fast forward several years, I was living in America and in the process of transferring to a new high school my junior year. I met my sisterhood and didn’t even know it. One perk of going to a small high school is that you become friends with pretty much everyone in your class. As I formed relationships at this new school, I went through seasons of being close with different people at different times. While I became friends with three girls in particular, I didn’t yet realize that these were my people for life. My tribe. My sisterhood.

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That’s the funny thing about family-like friendships: you often don’t realize what magic you’re apart of until much later.

After graduation, all four of us girls got jobs at a local cupcake shop. It sounds a lot more quaint than it was. In reality, we bonded over the sheer chaos and stress of that place. It didn’t feel magical making memories covered in powdered sugar when there were angry customers in line. One by one, we each transitioned into different jobs and lifestyles.

We started to grow up.

We dated boys.

We had our hearts broken, and we learned to mend them.

Through the pain of love, we were there for each other.

We started careers.

We realized we were in the wrong field, and we learned hard truths about ourselves.

Through all the job changes, we were there for each other.

We experienced pain.

Serious illness and death touched our loved ones, and we learned of fear and loss.   

Through the grief, we were there for each other.

We shared joy.

Some of us got married, one had a baby, and we learned to love each other’s growing tribe.

Through the excitement, we were there for each other.

We continue to grow up.

We will continue to be there for each other.

Each of us is in a distinctly different stage of life, yet when something terrible or wonderful happens, our group text is the first place to hear about it. It’s been nearly ten years since the four of us became friends. I can’t identify the exact moment that we went from “friendship” to “sisterhood,” but I can tell you that these three women are my sisters.

Ironically, each one of us has a biological sister of our own. Those are separate and beautiful relationships. Perhaps the fact that we each have a cherished biological sister is part of what allows us to function so naturally as adoptive sisters for each other.

My sisters have played a pivotal role in the direction my work has taken. When I think of the amazing women in my life, I can’t help but use my voice to advocate for the millions of sisters who are working their hearts out in an unfair industry. I dream of the day that these women can enjoy the same freedoms, pay, and respect that my sisters and I have.

I wish I could show a picture of the sisterhood I have now to my lonely little past self in Mexico. I know her eyes would light up with excitement and hope.

While the four of us haven’t found that magical pair of jeans that fits each of us perfectly, we’ve found the truly magical aspect of that movie. We’ve found sisterhood.

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