I hope that when you read that title, you immediately heard the above song in your head!
I find myself in a very weird place in life. I’m fresh out of university, working two part time jobs, trying to plan my future. And that’s all fine, don’t get me wrong- I am thoroughly enjoying seeing what this season brings, and loving the peace that not being in uni is giving me.
But I have a problem, lads and lassies. And I’ll explain it with this beautiful example from the other day.
I was working in the clothes shop, putting a lady through the till, and we were just making general chit chat- you know, ‘Awk, is it raining again?’ ‘Those are great wee trousers, wash really well!’ etc. The woman I was serving had a baby in a pram, and a daughter who must’ve been about two, who was peeking up over the till, catching my eye, then darting back down, hiding and giggling. I did the typical ‘Aww she’s so cute!’ and said hello to the little tyke, who then went all rosy-cheeked and bashful. D’aww, right?
But it was what the mum said next that really got me. She said,
“Sweetheart, say hello to the lady when she speaks to you!”
I looked around for this ‘lady’, before realising that it was me- I was the ‘lady’ in the equation.
Something felt a little off about the conversation, but I just shook it off, and moved on with my life.
A few days later, the same thing happened. This time, I was in the Tourism Office, giving a man advice about how to get to the Giant’s Causeway. He was all old and cute and American, and I started giving him advice about extra things he could see or do in the area. He was joined a few minutes later by his wife, who’d come in to see what was taking him so long- he’d just popped in for directions, and yet 10 minutes later, he was still gabbing away!
But then he said a sentence which was equally as shocking as the one from the mother a few days earlier-
“Everything’s fine dear. The woman has been very helpful!”
Who the heck was this helpful woman?! Again, it took a few minutes before it sunk in. ‘Huh, I’m the woman. I’m a woman?!’
The problem with both of these situations was the realisation of something I haven’t really given much thought to. I don’t feel like an adult yet, and so when people describe me as a ‘lady’ or a ‘woman’, the labels just don’t really sit. I’m so used to people thinking I’m much younger than 22, and so I’ve been “girl”-ed up and down for my whole entire life. Until now. Apparently, since leaving university, I have blossomed, and become a WOMAN!
I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know- that’s not what I’m getting at. I’ve had good ol’ childbearin’ hips since I was about 15, a fully-functioning uterus, and other massive clues which would suggest that I am in fact, a woman. But there’s a HUGE difference between being a ‘girl’ and a ‘lady’.
You know that meme on Facebook which says something like ‘When something happens, I look around for an adult, before realising that I am the adult. I then start to look for an adultier adult’? I RESONATE WITH THAT SO MUCH AT THE MOMENT! I know that technically, I’m a grown up (*barfs vigorously*) but I don’t feel like one inside.
Growing up, I guess I always thought that a lady or a woman was someone who had a house, and a car, a job which had regular, reliable hours, maybe a husband and some babies, and a pet dog called Snuffles. Which is why maybe I’m finding it weird to have people refer to me as a ‘woman’- I could almost run after them, screaming ‘I DON’T EVEN HAVE SNUFFLES YET, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!’
(ON A SIDENOTE, isn’t it interesting from a feminist perspective how I react to this? When teenage males get referred to as “young men” from the age of about 13 upwards, I imagine the transition from being a “young man” to a plain old “man” isn’t such a shock to the system. Whereas for us chicas, we get princess, and the girl, and then sometime, around the 22 mark, suddenly, finally, we might be a woman. Strange, am I right?!)
Have any of you lot out there ever felt like this?! Or, if you see yourself as an established adult, what was the turning point?!
PS, the start of this post featured one song- I feel like the anthem of the end should be that Britney song, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman!” Am I right!?!