They say men are impatient and insensitive, but the men in my life have taught me otherwise. In their unique ways, they have challenged me, not only to be a better person, but also to look at life differently.

The women in my life – my mother, my teachers, my friends – have taught me to not hold myself back. But the men in my life have taught me to not be scared.

Thank you, Dad, for making me a self-assured woman!

When my father did not step in, or get upset with me, when I showed the finger to a guy who overtook me rashly when I was 20, he taught me that I should and can stand up for what’s right. And when I made a series of not-the-wisest life decisions, he sat back and let me figure out my life on my own, showing me that no matter how deep a pit I trip into, I can climb out of it.

My big brother, I thank you for being my confidant.

At the cusp of puberty, while my friends did everything they could to hide their crushes from their older brothers, mine befriended my boyfriends. When my date stood me up at 17, leaving me confused and bewildered, you were the only one I told. Up until now, you were the only one who knew.

I’d like to thank my ex for showing me that everyone has shades of grey!

You will always have a special place in my heart. I hated it when you tried to dictate what I should wear. Thank you for making me realise that I don’t want to ever take that from anyone. But you weren’t all evil. When I broke down, you held me close and comforted me like no one else.

To the man at the bar, thank you for knowing that ‘no’ means ‘no’!

You approached me at the bar, hit on me, and offered me a drink. When I politely refused, you didn’t push me further. I wish you hadn’t offered me a drink when I didn’t flirt back, but you knew that it wouldn’t further your cause if you kept trying.

To my childhood friend, I thank you for being there every time I needed you!

I have known you since I was four years old, and spent hours climbing monkey bars and chasing butterflies in our kindergarten backyard. You bullied me, called me names, wrestled with me, and treated me as brashly as you would a guy. But the night before I moved abroad, you sang to me… “Oh baby baby, it’s a wild world.” You still remember me like a child! And just as I did when we were four years old, I know I can always count on you!

My beloved husband, thank you for encouraging me to be a better me!

Life may have thrown us a curve ball, but you taught me what it really means to love someone. You have not only accepted me with all my eccentricities, but also actively encouraged me to strive to be a better person. And by simply fighting your own battles the way you do, you have made me strong enough to take on anything that life throws my way.

There are many who haven’t been mentioned here, but you know who you are. And without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

The ones who have seen me through all the ups and downs of my life, and always been a phone call away; the ones who have surprised me with insight about my life, my struggles and my strengths. They are always listening, observing, silently taking in all that you have to show them. In their stance which may seem withdrawn, men are often revelling in us like one would with a piece of art, there to replenish the colour when we start to fade.

The men in our lives might be a little crazy, but this International Men’s Day, let us all let them be their crazy selves! It’s time we #ShowMenSomeLove !

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