You are approaching womanhood. Those hips that had always been so narrow, eliciting a pitying head shake from Mothers who could see decades down the line into the labour ward and preempt the cries of pain that would ensue – well they are still narrow, but your thighs are definitely larger. Although the cup size hasn’t changed, you now know that if you just adjust the straps, it might just fit – well at list it’ll fit better. The grease globules that adorned your face like stick on jewels have reduced in size and frequency, now you just need to work on removing the scars you created from picking, or rather Mum created (but that’s another story…). All in all, you are making the slow crawl into womanhood.
It seems different to the other time. Why, you wonder naively. Surely womanhood occurred when that pack of ‘Always Ultra Light’ appeared surreptitiously in your underwear draw. No my friend, no that is called puberty. Don’t you remember? Once that cycle had begun, Mum took you to the Chinese restaurant to celebrate – you were finally, officially, fertile. You didn’t understand why stomach cramps and blood equated to a buffet of spring rolls and hoisin duck, you probably appeared quite ungrateful – very ungrateful. Besides, Chasing Dragon just really wasn’t that good…pidgin meat. But that’s ok now, because Womanhood will be very different (you say proudly, placing a captial letter to make it seem more definitive.)
There isn’t a specific time when the Big W says hello. It’s more a feeling. When you were a little girl, well you were a little girl. A child, people oo’d and aah’d about you. You got smacked, you got treats, you were a kid. Then you became a tomboy child (that’s when the disappointed head shakes began, don’t worry, you’ve redeemed yourself ever so slightly, that prom dress…good choice). You were still a kid, slightly androgynous, but that’s fine, you had KS1 SATS and football to deal with. Then you had the gawky phase. The legs shot out, the hand-eye-co-ordination jumped ship every time those Ikea glass slipped between your butter fingers. Getting food into your mouth was a mission, and you slept like hibernation was the ‘in-thing’. Yet slowly, you began to wake up, and when you did something had shifted in people’s pupils. It was a blurry image at first, but the closer you peered, the more you realized it was your mouth, finally released from the iron claw of braces, your eyes framed by spectacles, your nose, no longer resembling a hill potted with mole-holes, your eyebrows slightly reddened from threading…it was you….starting the journey into womanhood.
Now, when you set off on this long expedition which goes from point A to the end of your life, you have two courses available. On the one hand you will be the girl/woman/thing that is admired, appreciated or acknowledged by her own age mates. That means you will get dates. Yes, yes you will. Or you will be the girl who reminds old men of their youth – that means you will find yourself in awkward conversations or be hit on by grandpa’s – yes, yes you will. I fell into the latter category. For the majority of the time it’s ok. You get complimented by men who are too old to try and chase you – literally and figuratively. You don’t need a rape alarm to scare them off, your beauty has probably given them an asthma attack, the jolt of love like an unwanted defibrillator (time to learn first aid). Once in a while, the one’s who can’t actually imagine being at your birth, but are well and truly settled in the decade above you, will give you the wonky eye. How do you avoid them? No my friend, I am too young for you, but not too young to be your ‘friend.’ If you are not a particularly assertive person, a.k.a moi, then you are inundated with awkward situations which steal your thunder, your mojo, and your patience for the look of love – you need to get out of this depressive state.
If you fell into the former category, you will be tempted by sex. You will also have to deal with the immaturity of boys who think they are men, but haven’t quite made it. No boys, this is why you are still called boys. The beard, the deep voice and the sexy cologne do not fool us, so don’t fool yourselves.
The difficulty with Womanhood, being a girl who’s just about to open it’s well used gate, I can feel it calling to me, sucking me, in there is no escape, is that you become a Woman. It sounds silly, but trying saying the word: Woman, Woooman, Womb man, Womaaaaan, Woe maaayyyn, Woman. That is a deep word. A heavy word. It is weighted. What is a woman? What makes a woman? They say behind every [great] man is a woman – but who or what is behind a woman? Other women? Who’s behind a crap man for that matter? Men? Ghosts?
Once you dress yourself in the cloth of Womanhood there is a responsibility that comes with it. A responsibility in your actions. The relationships you enter into are mature, serious, there is a gravity to you. A wealth. It’s exciting, but daunting. I feel i’ll put on metaphorical pounds once I become a woman, just to ensure I understand how weighty the proposition is. Wooommmmaaaaan.
What a strange word. I wonder if people will see me any differently. Will they see the little girl who laughs and run’s riot behind this scarred skin? Will they notice the tomboy in the frown and cutting eyes? Or the gawky teenage who laughs at inappropriate moments, and ends up in a coughing fit because they still haven’t mastered how to breathe. And what about the woman that’s about to take center stage. Is she ready? Is she happy? Is she excited? Does she know that’s what she is? A woman?