You’re not a little girl anymore.
"I caught a glimpse of my calves, the way the muscles sit high and long on my leg, the shadows that hours of yoga and wearing the highest heels have attributed to the shading and I thought, “that’s a woman’s leg.” A woman’s leg from the tips of my childishly glittered toes to the top of my thigh. You’re a woman...one who knows how to move and adjust, manicure and present, settle, satisfy and offer her body. You’re in your body.... finally. Who would've thought that day would come? If only I could hush that 18 year olds fretting mind, so lost inside herself.
In the ways that my heart is young and optimistic, accessible and open it has, as a Woman's does, acquired the necessary walls and carefully maintains the ones worth keeping. But in those walls, only a woman knows where the doors are and who is worth letting through. My gut, my instinct alerts like a woman.... it knows the difference between “right,” and “not right for me.” My heart, is no longer an empty room, with a "come one, come all" sign, waiting to be filled with someone else’s stories, likes and dislikes that I'd hastily claim as my own in an attempt to keep them. That heart vessel doesn't say "Unoccupied," waiting to be invaded, or pillaged like it had been before... It stays FULL and entertained while deliberately awaiting the arrival of one worth re-arranging "the things" for.
My mind thinks like a womans now.... fiercely wanting to protect and nurture, hold and advise those younger around me. Despite my own need for advising. But as a woman can, I admit where guidance is needed and welcome...so that I don’t become stubborn, or rusty.
I can too, admit the places where I’ve hardened. I can track the steps, straight to the source... in honor of my spirit, I’ve done the work layer, by layer. I know now the longer you go without acknowledging the wound the harder it gets to heal when you decide you’re ready.
All of a sudden, in a way I hadn’t craved before...I have this insatiable desire to make sure you’re fed. Physically, spiritually, mentally. I understand that it is our job to bring something to the table and offer it up, without any expectations at all. I want to stimulate your mind, nourish your body, and sustain your spirit...because I've learned how to do it for myself first.
I admit that I need to learn from my Mother, my Grandmother, your mother... matriarchs... the ways to make a home feel like a place to nest.... the secret ingredients.... the go-to meal.... the must-have medicine cabinet items... patience. Knowing how to gracefully walk away, or pick my battles. This is all a part of it.
Unlike a Girl, I know that things take time. That nothing comes to full bloom in a day. I’ve relinquished the need to have all the answers, or to make you see things my way. Unlike a Girl, I know what it feels like to try and fit a square peg into a round hole, but now, rather than attempting it, I see the pieces for what they are and let them be.
Unlike a Girl, I don’t wish to be blonde, or shorter. I don’t wish for my hair to fall the way that hers does, or to have smaller ribs, bigger boobs, higher eyebrows... I don't compare relationships.... I know that no one has it “better,” we each just have it “differently.” Unlike a Girl, I’m comfortable with transparency, even if you aren’t. That my words are only of value if they are genuine and without pretense.... that the interaction, relationships, contracts that say, or feel otherwise aren’t “mine....” and that’s okay. Unlike a Girl, as a Woman I don’t look to be anyone else.... and the “exemplary examples” that I hold ideal, as Mentors I humbly acknowledge will make mistakes. That the only true guide you have is YOU. As a Woman, I find that power terrifyingly exhilarating....unlike a Girl, I’m prepared to harness, feed, listen to my own True North.
The way a Mother subtly does, as a Woman I know when to save my advice, I’ve learned to identify closed ears and closed hearts. I've learned when to slow down, speed up, or just stop completely.
I’ve come to know the power of having a personal spiritual practice that is accessible to me, that is mine, a dialogue that is open before the time of desperation. In my private moments between that of monotony and doubt, I have a deep, deep faith and personal devotion, a commitment to that beautiful divine side... that’s just for me. As a Woman does, I commit to a daily practice, of surrender and awe.
A Woman learns the things that are hers to keep. Her precious moments. The “alone” ones,
the kind of alone that drives home at night and yearns for only the shape of their own body, soft and familiar in the forms that it takes. Wrapping itself around a pillow, taking up the space... misconfigured, immodest, spilling over and dipping freely and comfortably. You must learn to crave that specific type of alone.
As a Woman I’ve learned the power of graceful restraint, coming to know when what you ache to say is already spelled out, a woman learns to trust subtle knowingness. She learns that words are the smallest part of the whole, as fun as they are to play with.... play can be spared.
A Woman knows that despite everything, she will be alright. She knows the well of resilience and strength that resonates through her whole being, even when she can’t bear it...she can do anything.
As a woman I trust my ability to love selflessly and selfishly in equal measure, inward and outward.
I may not always pay my parking tickets on time. I still wonder which paths my career will take me on....or who I’ll end up with. How the hell to organize my closet properly and if 4 Luna Bars & iced coffees in one day can be considered proper “meals,” when on the run (the answer is no.) I still need my Dad. I still want my Mom to like my outfits, my boyfriends, my hair color. The parts about being a Girl worth keeping are there....they’re playful and raw, completely, softly discernable. While ALL the years, the lessons, the introspection of a Woman exist, freely and proudly, I embody that which I've wanted to become..... and embrace that it's all still a process....
...Growing up isn’t too bad."
(Chelsea, Just Like a Woman)