I am a woman.
See, I replaced girlhood with more than just bigger hips.
Recklessness jumped off a building in 6th grade on a dare
And has since found truth in the courage to say no.
Smart fell out of my mouth
Like a pop song that had been on the charts for four months.
‘Smart’ is an enduring annoyance
With a few catchy lyrics.
Wisdom, was found somewhere between
The offbeats and the bridge
On the radio no one listens to.
Anger fell from the sky
Like a fallen angel
That hadn’t manifested an appreciation for feet past their ability to stomp.
Ballet was a foreign concept
But line them in comparison
And their callouses bore a conversation
With common ground
That birthed empathy.
I am a woman
Through trial and tribulation.
I have learned lessons and
Accepted I will never stop learning.
I always sit in the front row of this classroom.
Girlhood is a fond memory
On the fifth page of a scrapbook
I took years to create.
Full of papered patterns that are no longer trendy
With photographs of people that fell out of season too.
For too long, I wished for summer in winter
And winter in summer.
There was always something better
And for that reason
I do not miss girlhood.
When my laugh was still learning to be loud.
My body was still learning to take up space.
And my words were still learning to be true.
I am not a woman because I am no longer scared of being loud, big or true.
I am a woman because I will and I must,
Be them anyway.
Cover by Thea Elder