Believe Men. Believe Women.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a man.
How could I?
I may have five brothers,
But what does that even mean?
I don’t have any idea what it’s like for them.
No clue, besides what they tell me,
About their lived experiences.
I can empathise;
I doubt I can fully understand.
Cos I never have and never will,
Know what it’s like to be a man.
And that’s OK.
I don’t need to experience exactly what someone experiences,
For me to extend kindness and thoughtfulness towards them.
For me to hold space for them;
For me to be humane.
I can choose to trust a man,
When they tell me their story,
Without feeling the need to compare;
Or one-up them with my own.
I can choose to believe,
That a man is the expert on his life;
That he knows better than anyone else,
What it’s like to be him.
I can hold space for him;
Because it’s a choice.
All it takes is for me to decide the kind of person I want to be,
Regardless of my gender.
I’m a human being first.
And while we experience the world differently,
We all have some basic commonalities.
We all want to be seen, heard, loved and accepted.
We all want to be believed,
When we speak our truth.
If we started with what we had in common,
Rather than what separates us,
I have a feeling we would make more positive progress.
Even as I wishfully think this,
I realise the irony.
A woman willing to take the first step;
Be the bigger person;
Make the world easier for the man;
Without any proof,
That the male species will meet her halfway.
A girl’s gotta hope though, right?
She will be believed when she says her story.
He will empathise with her and her lived experience,
Without needing it to first make sense to her.
He will hold space for her.
He will lead with kindness and thoughtfulness.
A girl can dream.
A woman can hope.
In the meantime,
I’ll keep showing up for my fellow women.
I’ll keep holding space for them.
I’ll keep extending kindness and empathy
And understanding, with reservation
Because even though I am familiar with what
My fellow women go through,
I understand that it’s still nuanced,
And everyone’s story is unique.