Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a bitch or a dyke. It means you believe in equality.” – Kate Nash
In light of the series Girls recently ending (don’t worry – no spoilers here) I wanted to write a little piece about what it means to me to be somewhere between a girl and a woman.
Somedays, I wake up and genuinely amaze myself with how grown I am. Here I am, getting up for a real job, putting on makeup before 7am and wearing a shirt. And sure, I’m in my childhood room surrounded by Beatrix Potter books and strawberry detangling spray, but I’m adulting nonetheless.
Despite finally arranging the right Tax code for myself and knowing how to do a VLOOKUP on Excel, I feel more like a young adult on The Sims than I do a woman. I’m almost independent, but not quite. I am almost mature, but again not there just yet. I am still very reliant on my family and friends for advice and guidance, but there are still lots of things I feel incapable of… and at 22 I think that’s only natural.
I’ve lived alone. I’ve fed myself, worked to pay bills and support myself, and felt incredibly empowered to do so. I worked in bars and was objectified and verbally insulted and subjected to sexism I didn’t even know still existed outside of the 50’s, and I like to think I held my own in those situations just like I’ve seen fully grown adult women do. So now, returning home after a taste of independence to have my parents help me financially as well feeding everyday (not literally, just in the sense of buying me food and cooking meals) feels a little like a regression.
To suddenly go from miss independence to miss ‘spoilt’ is difficult to admit, and yet it is just a further example of how I’m not quite ready to support myself again without the security of a student loan and street-wise housemates who know when chicken is cooked.
It’s funny how much you learn about yourself and womankind in this interim period. You learn to appreciate how difficult it is to look after yourself; your body and your mind. It’s a little like playing house because you’re wearing adult clothes which almost look right, and going about adult jobs and relationships with an almost complete understanding of how to do those things, but there are still moments of doubt when you think ‘am I ready?’.
I don’t really think anyone in their 20’s or even 30’s (or maybe ever) knows exactly who they are or who they are going to be. There should be uncertainty and backtracking and mind-changing, because if not now, when? If we tell ourselves we have to do or be this by that age, we are setting ourselves up to fail by believing we should have achieved certain milestones by particular ages.
Just because somebody your age is or isn’t doing something with their life, that doesn’t determine what you should be doing. Don’t worry about feeling like a child in her mother’s heels and lipstick, and certainly don’t aim for something just because it feels like the social norm.
“I’m not a girl, not yet a woman. All I need is time, a moment that is mine, while I’m in between.” – who knew 16 years later Britney Spears would still be so relevant?