Being A Woman: Man Repeller Writers Club

Originally written for the October 2016 Man Repeller Writers Club prompt. 

Here I sit, age 24, now worrying that I don't know what it means to feel like a woman. Am I broken? Shouldn’t this be easy to pinpoint? Where are all those stereotypical moments in my life that should insinuate: I am a Woman with a capital W.

I wonder if I felt like a woman when I went to college and suddenly my breasts went from an average C-cup to a full DDD-cup… I think that was just upsetting and frustrating though. I wonder if it was the moment in high school when I truly registered the fact that being a woman was going to mean I had to work harder than my male counterparts in order to prove myself and my abilities. It could have been the moment that I decided to study abroad and travel in Europe alone, feeling weary from male gazes following me while traversing cobblestone roads. Not really though, that wasn’t it either. What about the time that I helped my friends run the Feminist Coalition during my final year of college? I was elected Treasurer (ignoring the fact that I am terrible with numbers), but no, I don’t think that was it. In fact, maybe it was the moment last year, when I had to walk home for 20 minutes while carrying a crying 3 year-old girl. Actually, maybe it was the moment that three little French girls were screaming at me because, well, bath time sucks—was becoming an au pair and (somewhat) surrogate parent the defining moment that made me feel like a woman? Not really though... these were all moments that I just felt dreadfully human. Then again, these are all seemingly negative moments in my life; times when it was plausibly negative to be a woman.

Maybe the defining moment in my life when I felt like a woman was actually many pieces that, when puzzled together, occurred over the years. Spurts of confidence, enjoying the calmness of being alone, looking in a mirror and actually being okay with my body for a change, and the warm happiness that comes when you take a nap in the grass under the sun. I don’t think there has been anything that made me feel exactly like a woman, but it has been the little moments of pleasure and even the inconveniences, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, that proved to me that I am at least human. It is not about whether I can clearly and distinctly point out that time when I knew I was a Woman, but about the time when I appreciated a tiny 4 year-old hand grabbing mine or when I put on a jumpsuit that made me feel stunning in my own perfectly imperfect body. In the end, there is no singular moment, but I am content knowing that my life has been filled with snippets of what it means to recognize that I am indeed a proud 24 year-old who can declare that I am a Woman. 

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