When girls get their periods for the first time, we are told “you are a woman now.” Then when the first little breast bumps start forming and we have to buy our first bras, we are told “welcome to womanhood.” Then comes the day that we lose our virginity, and that little spot of blood on the sheets (or sand, or kitchen floor, or what have you) spells out W.O.M.A.N. The moods swing in and out, and we blame it on being a woman.
Each one of us is different, and I imagine that each girl transforms into a woman at different stages in her life. Looks like it took me about twenty-nine years and ten months to finally admit that yes, I am a woman.
My nine year-old English student asked me if I was a girl or a woman during our class yesterday. I looked at her, and at first did not know how to respond. I did not have the answer. So instead I asked her what she thought, and her reply was bashful but very self-assured – “You are a woman.” This same conversation came up two months ago at a wedding. I was trying to convince a Basque stranger that I was still a girl. He spent about forty-five minutes trying to convince me that I was most definitely not a girl, but a woman. I just giggled and skipped my way back into the swimming pool fully dressed in my polka-dot dress, with high heels still attached. Denial.
Consequently, yesterday was also the birthday of my student’s older sister. She just turned eighteen years old, and she expressed to me her fear of growing up. Me, the largely kid-at-heart “big girl”, spent an hour trying to reassure her that in fact life gets better as you grow up. My reasoning was this: as you become a woman, you become more confident in yourself and an inner strength begins to pour from every pore in your body. But how would I know this if I was not in fact a more confident and strong woman myself? I spoke with a knowledge and ease that was foreign, yet strangely familiar.
So guess what guys and gals? I feel and act like a woman. So I guess that makes me a woman. I am a woman! And now I feel like hanging the spotted sheet from my window balcony for all to see.
Just don’t ask me if I am an adult yet.