In Your Own Skin

Recently, a friend referred to me as a woman, and I wondered when this happened. I mean, obviously I was always female, but when did I make the transition from girl to woman? When do any of us? Is it an age thing? Does it happen with life’s milestones like graduation/marriage/motherhood? Does it happen when we become the kind of woman we want to become or does it just happen while we’re just merrily going on our way?  Do we have any control over it at all?

To be completely honest, up until very recently I cringed whenever anyone referred to me as a woman.  I was not ready, and to be honest, I was still not comfortable in my own skin.  There was way too much that I wanted to fix before I became a woman.  In a way too, I was procrastinating because I knew that to be the woman I wanted to be, I’d have to turn back and look at the vast expanse of my past.  Unfortunately, time does not stand still, and no matter how we fight it, we don’t stand still either.

Honestly, I am one of those people who have spent most of my life being off my hinges. I never put down roots so that I could always be ready to leave.  In fact, after almost three years of living in the same apartment, it was only three months ago that I bought my first pot plant and although I have been writing all my life, it has only been in the last few years that they have been made public.  What happened to the ones before? Some are in a journal somewhere and most of them (letters to people because I have communication issues) have been burned.

As I know that it’s not just me, I wonder why a lot of really great women don’t let people know the real them? No, I’m not talking about the loud girl with the super high heels and too much makeup. I was that girl once too (at 19 instead of 29 though), and believe you me, at that point, even I didn’t know who I was.  I remember talking a lot but not really saying much at all, and thinking that I needed to be tough talking to show that I was strong.  I was so busy worrying about my weight and what people thought of me, I didn’t even think of what I thought of me.  And I knew nothing of what life was going to throw my way at the time.

So really, when does it happen? And what part of the girl do you keep with you when you transition?  Maybe this is it. Maybe it just starts happening when you look at yourself for once instead of worrying about pleasing someone else.  Maybe it’s the day you realize that some of the things you’ve done in your past do not sit well with your conscience and you choose to face them head on instead of putting makeup on the scars.  Maybe it’s the day you admit that you’re in pain instead of pretending to be happy.  Maybe it’s the day you open up to the world, scars and all.

People often have double standards when it comes to acceptance.  Parents, partners, and even some friends often want you to accept them as they are but get painfully embarrassed about some things you do. If like me, you’ve spent most of my life trying to be perfect, maybe it’s time to realize that it’s fine not to be.   I don’t know when it started, but at the ripe old age of (almost) 32, husband-less, child-less and in varying degrees of imperfection, I’ve decided that it’s alright, and maybe that’s what makes a woman – just starting to be comfortable in your own skin.  After all, this is the only skin you’re likely to have in your life, so might as well make yourself at home in it.

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