"We connect when we tell stories – we connect with our inner selves and with each other,” says Mahani Zubedy, who founded Story Sistas three years ago. “We are women who have lived through rather quiet lives and today we are free. And it’s a way for us to claim our voices and to share.”
Story Sistas began as a way for Zubedy to connect with other women over age 50.
“We started off gathering, sharing stories, swapping stories,” Zubedy says. “And slowly, you know, it became even more meaningful than just hanging out and socializing.”
The idea behind the group is simple – every other month, women gather to share stories with one another. Some tell, some just listen, but all seem to find a sense of connection and community.
Some of the women, like Brenda Shirk, take some time before jumping in.
“Mahani … had invited me, and I carried that invitation around for a year … before I actually went.” Shirk says. “And I love it. I’ve been involved for two years, and it’s probably the most important group in my life.”
Sandra Foreman is new to the group – she’ll be sharing a story for the first time during the upcoming Aug. 3 gathering.
“For me, it’s more of just sharing with other women. Maybe connecting [and] healing from past experiences,” she says. “And letting women know that they’re not alone. Because when you’re sharing your story, another person may be able to relate to one or more elements of what you’re sharing.”
“When you tell the story, it is amazing how … almost everyone has lived through something similar, or know of someone who has gone through that experience,” she says. “So that is, I think, what most people go to Story Sistas for – the connection.”
“You don’t have to tell a story,” Shirk says. “Many women will come time after time to listen. Maybe eventually they’ll feel comfortable to tell a story, but it’s never required. It’s a lovely, lovely group to be part of. Women were always storytellers. We’re just getting back to it.”