I made this sketch some time ago.
It was nice, making it. I’ve always loved sketching.
Putting in strokes and shadows on a bare white page and trying to make a picture, a story out of it. I think every sketch has a story behind it, some mush. That’s how I sketch anyway. I sketch with something in my mind and what I think somehow mingles into the paper, reflects from it.
The girl above is thinking something. She’s mystified, the girl there. The woman, there. I don’t know what to call her. A girl? Or a woman?
If I ask her what I should call her, I’m sure she wouldn’t know either.
And I can relate to that.
I turned eighteen last year.
My official treading into the planet of adults. I turn nineteen in about two months.
I do feel I have changed ever since I turned 18 but I don’t honestly know if that change can be attributed to ‘coming of age’ because I think we change a little every year.
Anyway, I received a pretty little letter from my mother on my 18th birthday.
The last line of the letter said:
Welcome to womanhood, my child.
It is difficult, isn’t it? This impetuous transition.
It’s like you’ve been growing up a girl all this while and then, boom, it’s time to become a woman. We realize we have to become one. We realize we’re expected to become one. Act like one.
That doesn’t happen to me. Acting the way women are supposed to, I mean.
And who is it who has defined a manner women are supposed to behave?
It’s so stupid. Ludicruous.
I love to hop about, I love to shout, I love to laugh meaninglessly for hours, I don’t like to dress up, I like to leave my hair the messy way it is, I’m callous, I spill things onto my clothes all the time, I don’t give a damn about my looks, I love to watch wrestling and I am into sports. But that is not what makes me different from women; no.
A flimsy, sugary, malleable, gentle damsel is a preposterous definition and perception of a woman. Being a woman is something entirely different.
So who are women? And how are they any different from what we’ve been growing up as?
Honestly, I’ve made blunders in life. Frivolous mistakes like everyone must have made. But I always had a shore to go to when the waters got too deep; I had a shoulder to cry on when I needed to and a hand to get me things that were out of my reach. People were too kind. It was like I was expected to make mistakes then and there were people who were more than willing to guide me. They’re still present here to guide me and I’m sure they forever will be.
But growing up means you have to learn to let go of the guide even though you can possibly still have it. And this is the one thing that scares me the most, losing the guide. I would be expected to walk and heal on my own if I’m bruised. I have always been terrified to make decisions entirely on my own because I dread I will be the only one to hold responsible if things go wrong.
Women, however, can make their own decisions, correct ones, I heard. That’s how they differ from girls.
But I don’t think so, you know. I don’t think that the element about being a real woman is making the correct decisions.
I think being a woman would mean that you’re courageous enough to follow what you wanted and even if it turns out to be the wrong thing, you don’t sulk. You are brave. You face the consequences. You live, you survive and you emerge.
Being a woman is not about how you have found yourself but how far you’ve explored yourself and how much more you are willing to.
A woman would want to be beautiful, not hot. A woman in love will love you till time stops. You know you have morphed into a woman when you stop believing in fleeting passions and you believe in love for life itself.
A woman’s love is divine. If she finds what she loves, she loves it all, she drowns into it, lets it devour her.
A woman is elegant. She can pull off a full sleeved jumpsuit and looks as gorgeous in it as someone would look in a revealing red gown. She might have additional curves but she has learnt to love them because they’re a part of her.
A woman would fall but she will fall elegantly. A woman will cry, she’ll take time but she’ll wipe her tears one day and get back to her feet. You don’t get infatuated with a woman, you fall in love with her because she hasn’t charmed you; she has made you feel beautiful.
A woman can take on the world. A woman is powerful. And lovely. And magical.
And I haven’t become one yet.
I’m not sure when I will become. It’s not easy becoming one.
I think I am still a girl with a woman thriving inside of me. Yes, there I am, somewhere clustering in between the both.
Sometimes, I feel so vital, treasured, confident and I feel like I’m in hovering up above the clouds; sometimes, I feel so distressed, befuddled, annoyed and there are occasions when I feel so mortified that I could go pick a shovel, plow a hole in the earth, bury myself there and lie for eternity.
I would love to be the portrait of a confident, smart, young, feisty woman ready to take on the world but I do not detest being a girl somehow. The girl I am is what will always remain with me, no matter what I turn into.
So do I stop making mistakes now that I’m supposed to flourish into this grown-up woman? That is impossible. But do I own up to the mistakes I make, the paths I choose and do I wrestle my scuffles on my very own? Yes.
I think that’s what the girl in the sketch is thinking too.
She has to and she will blossom into a wonderful woman some day.
She does grasp that somewhere inside her are springing thoughts she never thought before, feelings she never felt before and she has become wiser. But she’s still a girl, still apprehensive of a lot of things and sometimes, she might fall hard and sulk. She still grouses about how unfair her life can be, she gets mesmerized with stupid things, she sighs when she looks at her flabby limbs in the mirror.
Yet, she has found beauty in herself, beauty she never knew of before. She has begun to fall in love with the person she has to spend her entire life with, she’s learning to genuinely love the person she is. She is learning and she is going to learn a lot more.
She is going to make herself become someone the world can respect but above all, she is going to become she can respect herself.
She shall wake up one day and she shall stop decorating her body and start decorating her soul instead.
She will change. Beautifully.
But traces of the girl she was before, the girl she is, shreds of it shall be with her forever.
The girl she was shall linger on to her, inside of her, stay with her like a shadow. But parts of her shall change and it will be a lovely change.
And she’ll become a woman.
And I think no matter who she becomes or who she is; a woman or a girl, she will always remain the special person she is.
Always loved by her loved ones.
I think it's like what my mother wrote.
Welcome to womanhood, my child.
The world might someday watch me in my feisty woman avatar. But I'm always going to remain my mother's child.