International Women’s Day is not a happy day for me. It is one of my anniversaries that make me feel grumpy, tired, angry all over, in the days leading up to it.
I thought when it was here, I would feel better. But I do not. I feel worse, I have those nagging sensations one gets when they are beginning to fret.
I had to write releases for a political party for International Women’s Day. I wrote many things for them, but this one was the worst. It was worse than the rest because I was writing a sort of greeting to the party members from my abuser, in celebration of Women’s Day. The letter was supposed to contain mentions of famous female personalities within the party (so the same one or two was trotted out every year), it was supposed to recall the progress made on women’s rights, a sort of self-congratulation for the party.
I would write it, initially, in good spirits. Of course, as a woman, I am enthusiastic about holidays for women.
But as he read my rough draft, he would become suspicious. “What does this mean, why did you say that?” He always assumed that I was trying to trick him, with my native written English, and show him in a bad light. But I never exhibited any such behaviour like that, his suspicions were unfounded. It was part of his emotional abuse, and a clever ploy, to keep me proving to him that I was “good.”
Eventually, he would argue each sentence with me, and would end up screaming in my face, calling me stupid. I can recall him, the last time I wrote this release for International Women’s Day, hitting me in the back of the head as I typed, while I was pleading with him that I could not finish by deadline under such circumstances.
That is why, in the last one I wrote, it extolled the progress, named names, and then in the middle of the missive, switched tone to plead for the better care of the women in the lives of the male readers. For the recognition of the human rights of daughters and wives and sisters, just basic rights to make choices in their lives, to live without despair. I barely got it approved.
International Women’s Day, for whom? It seems a lie perpetuated by myself. For certain it is no holiday that I am capable of celebrating.