My mother has always told me that her perfect age was forty... I could never imagine why anyone would want to be old.
We often read stories about boys becoming men; that quintessential narrative where boys will be boys, men will be men, fathers will be cruel or gone or sometimes the greatest role models. Adventures in the wilderness, tree forts and pirates, New York City, or a picturesque college campus somewhere ⎯ there's something magical about being a boy, huh.
But why don't we read about girls becoming women? Judy Blume always did a good job of opening our eyes to our changing bodies and to boys. Nancy Drew gave us a sense of mystery and adventure. As girls my friends and I wanted to build culture and community. We wanted to explore and create stories. I always ended up reading about boys because the characters weren't problematized or condemned. They were honoured in their oddities and they grew where female characters seemed simple and always ended up in their designated roles.
What about all the mothers and poets, the aging nurses or crazy cat ladies... Where are their stories
and why don't we get to hear them?
Growing up, I don't think that girls have very strong female role models. We're raised to hate our femaleness: our periods, our seemingly awkward bodies, our emotions, each other, our mothers, the fact that we have less power than our male peers simply because we do. I have been so fortunate in my upbringing to have been embraced by powerful, intelligent and outspoken women but it is not until now that I realize how incredible this actually is. Some days I find my inner-self screaming,
My God I love being a woman, whereas before I'd be cursing or rolling my eyes while reading about
so-and-so's lost best friend.
We need to be reminded that being a woman is strength and beauty and passion and magic all wrapped up into this fabulous body that is entirely ours.
My perfect age is thirty. I know this because the women that I admire at this age are poised, sophisticated, outspoken, confident, and strong. They understand their bodies, they flaunt their attributes. They do and say what they want because they know how and they know that they can.
I can imagine that my thirty-year-old self will approach the world with more flounce in her step.
Style and femininity are more than the perfect dress or shoes. They are the self-assurance and charm that we bring to our everyday. Love your mothers, love your eyelashes and your toes, love everything
that makes you, you. And for God's sake read about women, listen to them, and get excited about growing old..