I can easily point out the day, date and time when I started calling myself a feminist. It was two years ago when I had read a newspaper article about how a fourteen year old girl had been raped and then denied an abortion. This story mortified me, it gave me shivers to know that I live in a world where people so casually deny women the right to their own bodies.
I decided then itself that I was a feminist and that I hated people who wanted to take away my rights and give it to a fetus who was using my body to survive without my consent.
It is so easy to fold your arms across your chest and assign people sides in your mind. The people who do not agree with something you passionately believe in go on the side of people you detest and the ones who do agree with you become your new best friends.
I lived under this canopy of my blindsided belief that people who are anti—choice do not deserve my respect until very recently when I found out that my best friend was against abortions. She was against women (and transgender men and anyone who can get pregnant) having bodily autonomy and having a right to decide what they wish to do with their own bodies. Ironically, this news made me more mortified than the one that made me a feminist.
The person who always stood by me even when I made terrible mistakes and the person who was my very first friend on my first day of elementary school, now stood on the opposite side of one my biggest battlegrounds.
How could I simply drop this person to one of the well divided sides in my mind? I couldn’t.
She called herself ‘pro-life’ for a reason. She was against abortion for a reason. And I hadn’t realized that everyone had a reason, beyond what I could superficially see, for believing what they believed in and the essence of an equal society was to respect each other’s belief.
I am feverishly against people dictating what I should do with my life. The how can I expect someone else to do what I want them to and to believe in what I think is right?
You learn something priceless from everyone and I learnt from my best friend the power of acceptance and respect. I learnt to respect the people who held beliefs that did a poor job of aligning with mine. It is because of the existence of contrasting people that the world can paint beautiful, abstract images of life. I do not want a world where symmetry in the only way around a good life, I do not want a world like Paris under Napoleon III.
I want a world where we all can have our opinions heard and where we all can paint the pictures of our choice.
So here are a few words to my best friend and all those who call themselves pro-life: I respect your belief and I hope you respect mine too.