I must confess that I have an affinity for restrooms. They remain some measure of home to me, probably because the largest chunk of my self-reflection took place in the restrooms. Some of my favorite conversations and life advice came from them. Sometimes it was me reflecting in the restroom mirrors and telling myself that I can do it, sometimes it was other, mostly drunk females.
It is surprising how few pegs of alcohol and the comfort of a restroom can turn women into such thick allies. I have been extremely lucky to have had real, uninhibited conversations, and exchanged some real, uninhibited hugs. Destiny ensured that I met my amazing ladies at a time when I probably needed to hear those words of advice and hold on those hugs. Considering that all these women in ways big and small added a lot of wisdom to my life, I feel that it is only fitting for me to express my gratitude to them through the only medium I know best - words.
Here’s to the lady who told me that I don’t look okay and asked me if I would like to talk. I didn’t know you and I am not sure why I opened to you, but it felt so relieving to be able to talk and not be judged. I want to let you know that you lending your ears mattered, so did your advice and most importantly your embrace.
Here’s to the group of girls who told me that I have the most beautiful hair in the world and that applying some extra red lipstick is totally alright. I remember fixing each-others hair, helping touch up the make-up and checking on whether each one of us is alright. These little gestures that were so heartfelt made me wonder who these imaginary women are who just hate each other, the ones the world keeps talking about.
To all the women I hugged too hard and told how much I loved them times too many, I want you to know that it was not just the alcohol talking. If I could, I would say it every day but it probably makes you look goofy to keep uttering “I-love-you’ s” on random evenings. I cannot forget this girl who told me that I should dump the guy I was dating and that he was an asshole. I didn’t listen to you then but in retrospect, I realize how I should have taken your word for it.
The girl who’s shoulder I cried upon after a failed performance, who held my hand and told me that I have so much potential and that failure helps us grow, I want you to know that it meant a lot to me. It made a difference to my life, so thank you for that!
Washrooms are these private spaces which somehow have the power to enable people to confide, apologize and confront. I couldn’t muster enough courage to apologize to this girl I had wronged, but the other day at the restroom I could drop off my wall and tell her that I was sorry. I am not sure if it seemed sincere to you then, but I want you to know that I meant it.
It has been mildly surprising and deeply heartening to come to terms with my vulnerabilities and emotions in the comfort of the cohort of women who surprisingly emerged to have my back. It makes me wonder how beautiful this world would be if women continue to be as comforting outside the walls of the restroom. I think maybe the world requires us to wear blinkers, swallow tears and embrace stoicism to align with the expectation of strong women. I think restrooms are kind to us – they don’t judge, they let us be and we take our time there to let our emotions flow. No wonder we spend way too much time in the restrooms.