Sleepovers have always been an alien concept for my parents. The only sleepovers my family members ever approved of were with my cousins. We used to get super-excited for sleepovers. It brought us the opportunity to be ourselves with our cousins without having the fear of being judged. Now I am 25+ and my parents still don’t approve of any sleepover other than those with my cousins.
Still, I go for sleepovers. The only difference is now I don’t seek their permission, thanks to the fact, that we aren’t in the same city. When I look back on my childhood, I realize those sleepovers were my initial lessons on sisterhood. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say my sleepovers with my cousins have conditioned my idea of feminism.
No, no, we never discussed bringing a change to society or fighting for equality. It was totally different yet played a significant role in the kind of women we have grown into.
Our sleepovers were never like those shown in English TV series. We never wore girlish dresses, nail paints, or savored pizza and ice-creams for our sleepovers. Instead, we relished the dinner cooked by our aunts and then headed to the bedroom.
Once we were inside the bedroom and changed into our comfy clothes, the real magic began.
Cracking jokes, discussing silly fights, secrets, and gossip about boys were the excitement that swept us off our feet. After all, we all were like any other kid entering into their adolescent years.
After hitting our puberty, topics related to menstruation, growing bosoms, pimples, and boys checking us out, added to the fun. I remember we discussed these with excitement and our blushing cheeks. Though my cousins and I have 3-4 years of age-gap, we never swept any topic under the carpet. While I was the first to wear an elusive bra, the youngest one was still struggling with her initial menstruation days.
Perhaps this brought us even closer. With the excitement to know more and the sense of responsibility to help each other, our sleepovers made us feel better. We decided that none of us should be left behind and alone.
Whether it was about menstrual cramps or teenage encounters with love, our sleepover felt like a support group. Dealing with our teenage bodies, hormonal changes, and understanding our sexualities were difficult. We waited eagerly for our next sleepovers to discuss these issues without getting embarrassed and this made the difference.
Unknowingly, we developed a sisterhood that never made us feel lonely, ugly, or inferior. The similar experiences in our respective lives made us comfortable addressing the issues we couldn’t share with our parents.
Eventually, one of us got into a relationship and it of course brought a lot of drama to the family. One thing that remained the same was, that we never left each other. From suggesting what to wear on dates to how to get out of a toxic relationship, our sisterhood grew deeper. In the course of time, we became each other’s confidantes.
The relief from parental surveillance during those slumber parties helped us explore our feminine side. It allowed us to express our insecurities and emotions that remained suppressed otherwise. With very little knowledge of adolescence and sex, we still tried to quench our doubts. Trust me, those were no less than therapy and guidance.
After entering our 20s, not all of us could participate in sleepovers, but the bond remained the same. Rather it helped us understand our imperfections and accept them. The bond helped us realize what we deserve, especially in the context of dating and relationships. Even today, when we face a problem, we dial each other’s numbers and discuss it without any hesitation.
I wonder, what if we never had these slumber parties right from our childhood days. I’m sure, figuring out our expectations from our lives, relationships, and the courage to be ourselves would have been cumbersome.
It really feels grateful that all four of us have grown into beautiful and strong women. Though we hardly have had sleepovers in a couple of years, our aim remains the same. That is: to help each other sail through, no matter what.
Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.