So I’m finally getting with the program and reading Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. It would be awesome if I could lie and tell you I blew through it because of its sheer awesomeness and finished it in a single afternoon, but I’m a pretty shitty liar. I get all tomato faced and stutter and its generally not a good scene (and trust me, you’d even be able to read the stutters).
It’s not that the book isn’t laugh out loud funny. Because it is. I just happen to have two mini humans that require a whole lot of my attention. I wasn’t going to tell you this because I don’t want you to judge me, but I took this book out from the library (because I’m cheap) six weeks ago. I’m currently on page 24. That’s an average of FOUR PAGES PER WEEK!
Pathetic, I know. But none of that has anything to do with what this post is actually about.
In her chapter about growing up, Tina has a section called When Did You First Know You Were a Woman? She went to a workshop while doing research for Mean Girls (yeah, she’s awesome and wrote that too) and this question was asked of all of the women there. Tina notes that most of the time this moment was defined by gross guys catcalling.
For some reason, this small section really made me think about the first time I actually felt like a woman and the answer is more than a little surprising.
I hit puberty way early. Like fourth grade, one of the first in my class early. By the time I was thirteen I was basically a tween with the body of a college girl. I was fully developed and while I tried to hide it under baggy clothes, men still noticed. And gawked. And made gross comments. Their obnoxiousness did not make me feel like a woman, it just made me leery of men.
Throughout high school and college there was still no major moment that slapped me in the face and made me say “I am woman, hear me roar.” I still felt pretty insecure and not very much like an adult.
Even when I got pregnant with my first child I didn’t feel like a woman. There is absolutely nothing womanly or remotely adult-like about peeing on a stick in your childhood bathroom and having a minor panic attack about the two lines that appear. There’s nothing womanly about screaming to your mother “How many lines is positive?!!” And definitely nothing womanly about telling your boyfriend who doesn’t particularly like children that you are, in fact, with child.
No. The first time I actually felt like a woman was immediately after giving birth–when a tiny, perfect human was placed on my chest and promptly pooped on my stomach. I was sweaty and crying and feeling about a million different emotions (ranging from sheer terror to absolute bliss) but right there, in that moment, I knew I was a woman.
I looked from my baby’s eyes–which were looking around the room and taking everything in for the first time–to my future husband’s–which were bursting with more love than I had ever seen–and I knew it. I was a woman and it was awesome.