Thursday, 3 July 2014


When does a girl turn into a woman?
When she develops hips and buds of breasts? When her periods start? When her interest increases in the opposite or same sex?
Or does it come later? When she commits to one person? With this ring, I leave the girl and become a wife...
Perhaps it's when she falls pregnant for the first time? When she becomes a mother? When that fierce love makes everything pale? Makes everything fade as the child takes centre-stage.
Is womanhood every little girl's destiny or do you attain it by deed?
Do some never make it? Never turn from a downy duckling into an elegant swan?
If you're straight and flat, you're not womanly, you're boyish. If you're single, choosing to remain uncoupled or unmarried, you must be frigid or a lesbian. If you're child-free, then secretly you must be a cold-hearted killer.
Woman = fertile and sexy. She must wear figure hugging clothes, dare to bare, leave nothing to the imagination, wear knee-high leather boots or tottering heels. She must swish her hair or be happy to prance around in her underwear all the time. Have a unconcealed fetish for cosmetics, handbags and shoes. She must be sweet and kind, but in the right situation be unafraid to speak her mind.
And this list is not exhaustive. It's amended, added to with every new generation.
Who is this speaker? A female in her 30s who's still trying to figure out all of the above. A female who hasn't had that inevitable fairy tale ending. A female who if suddenly addressed as 'woman' would automatically look behind her.
The duckling never turned into the swan. The girl not yet a woman. A girl-woman who accepts her female gender, but declines the invite to join her more worldly sisters. A part of her wondering if their invite is spiteful? For regardless of the passing years, she's eternally defined as 'young' and 'girl'. She sees their measuring glances and reads their minds: Plank, probably barren, unwomanly. No competition here as she's so obviously not the conventional type.
Most men look through her, see her as a younger sister or daughter even if she's older. A 30-plus adolescent who appears to them to need a man's protection. Brotherly, fatherly behaviour. But she doesn't care for being undesired is marginally safer. Others try to pin her down, but can't. They assume she leads a wild secret life and that her innocence is just a school girl act – it's not.
A female who's always led a sheltered life does not leap to womanhood. She'll run until she's exhausted or pricks her finger on a spindle. The onset of maturity delayed as time collapses and trauma at that precarious pubescent stage shoots up an invisible wall. Trauma that cuts like a knife and changes how she sees herself and how she thinks others perceive her.
Years go by, she forgives, but she can't forget and the thicket has grown impenetrable. There's nobody closed in with her and the light is too dark to allow anybody in. It's easier to stay behind that invisible wall and avoid the deep and meaningful, although she enjoys peeping over. Spends her solitary life day-dreaming that someday she'll know what it's like to not be a girl-woman.