I have loved talking to myself since I was little.
I know how it sounds. But let’s admit it, we all love to talk to ourselves. After all, aren’t we the best friends of ourselves at the end of the day?
What I mean should not be perceived as muttering or complaining. I talk to myself completely consciously, as if I were talking to a friend.
It was years ago. My grandfather had a rocking chair. After he lost his life, I would go to that chair, but I could never find the courage to sit down. It was because I used to believe that I would be disrespecting my grandfather’s memory. I had heard many stories about my him. I remember that I loved my grandfather very much, but unfortunately, all my memories of him were clouded.
I wanted to know what he was like. He was writing, painting and jotting down his thoughts. He was travelling as much as he could. One day, I gathered all my courage and sat in that seat, despite myself. I leaned back, I rocked in that chair thinking how fun it was. I think I was 9 or 10 years old at the time.
I was a mischievous, unruly kid. I was showing only this side of me to the world around me. There was a completely different Ozge in me, who likes to ask questions, who wants to learn and who pushes the limits intellectually. No, no. I am not saying that I was a genius or I was different. I was just a simple kid who was discovering what a great miracle it was to be a child.
What am I?
Who am I?
Why is there such a thing as death?
Where is my grandfather now?
It would be inappropriate for a child to ask these questions in my country.
Even then, I was intolerant of the viewpoints restricted in the name of the belief imposed by the country I was born in. Because there was a stereotypical religious teaching. And as a child, I had seen religion as a mechanism that should be feared, that does not allow you to ask questions, and that prohibits dreams.
I learned a lot from myself while swinging in that chair. I had seen that what’s called belief should not be restricted under the name of religion. That belief and love could not be separated from each other, and blind belief could ignore everything about our humanity, yet tended to glorify men.
On the outside, maybe I was just a kid. That rocking chair was where I started telling myself about myself. That rocking chair was where I read books peacefully. I would imagine my mind to be an infinite galaxy. I would close my eyes and in that eternity I would scatter my thoughts like a cloud of dust. I did not know that religion was used by human beings to put pressure on the female body and life back then.
I was lucky, I had a rocking chair where I questioned myself and everything. I was growing and struggling to adapt to the changes in my body; because as I grew older, society’s view of me for being a woman changed. I couldn’t make sense of it but I could feel it. I was afraid, no matter what I did, I would be subjected to the ongoing “woman” label. I knew the contents of that label. And that bothered me incredibly.
Where was the justice in that?
Why did we (me and all other women) have to make the world accept our existence as if we are the inferior species?
Our religion is chosen as soon as we are born, and we grow up according to the prohibitions and values of that religion. I have no problem with religions, don’t get me wrong. But I have many, many problems with the male-dominated world wanting to use religion to shape my body and my decisions. In societies where religion is dominant, a woman is a delicate, fragile secondary entity that needs permission before speaking.
Being delicate and fragile is spoken of as something that we should consider a flaw. Women are already strong, they are productive, they are creative and constructive. And yes they are elegant and naïve. But isn’t it because of that elegance and naivety that women are more protective of nature and stand firm against violence?
It is very tiring but also very valuable to defend the rights of women, trying to explain that we are individuals above all and should be in every area of society. It is tiring because we speak to a system that is determined not to understand.
But it does not matter.
We women have always received the reward of our efforts in this male-dominated order as a result of our dedicated efforts. The real transformation will begin when we manage to reach each and every woman who has been suppressed in such societies.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”