It’s hard to explain solidarity among women to people who don’t understand it, but to make it simpler there is one thing I always say. That in most cases, when I talk to women, they sit and listen with intent even if they disagree with me. Sometimes, they have counterarguments before I can even finish my sentences, but they listen. They let me complete my sentences. This means a lot, because this is what most of it boils down to.

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When I look back, I feel like I have spent my entire life in a haze. So much of it seems unreal because my reactions to the events of my life were completely different from how I was expected to react. My family, relatives, neighbors kept telling that to me for 2 decades. As a result, there is a disconnect in my brain because I see the emotions I have experienced through the lens of what I was ‘supposed’ to experience, and they do not match at all.

Often, I have to remind myself that surviving was indeed difficult and I am not making it up. That it was unfair to have to fight for basic rights as a child, to have to tell myself that I was smiling too much, walking too fast, eating too shabbily, not looking at the ground enough.

Having made my way through all of it means two things. One, I am tired, and two, I can’t afford to be around people who refuse to listen when there is a difference of opinion, because that threatens an already very scared part of my heart. It generally automatically means that my feelings will not be understood and I will be under the pressure of reacting differently. I fear that my life will become a haze again.

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So today, I specifically want to thank women who do not agree with me. Thank you for the kindness of restraint in situations where you probably want to speak as soon as possible. Thank you for always taking a step back because that allows me to crawl out of the corners of my mind.

Thank you for trying to understand me. I have always thought it is more important than understanding.

You calm down the frightened child in me with these gestures and this is my attempt to let you know how much I appreciate it. Especially since the world at large is still brutal, and as a grown up, I am my home. When I am distressed, I return to myself.

Thank you for being gentle with my foundation.

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That “I know what you mean” when you sometimes don’t, that “I understand”…it all adds up. These things have made me a more confident person over time and I all I hope, every day, is that I can return the favor. I know I can be better.

Our planet suffers heavily because some people are invisible to others and their voices are never heard. We are doing our bit to change things. Happy Women’s Day.