On Girls

 

When I am 15 I think I am in love but of course I am just in bloom. Everything tells me that this is my time. All the literature, all the media screams at me inadvertently. I recognise myself in advertising, in my mothers nostalgia, in the reflection of all the eyes that turn when I walk into a room dripping ripe with memories of their wasted youth. Suddenly you all inhabit my skin too because I don’t yet know who I am. So beautiful. I nod. That hair. I nod. Those legs. I nod. It’s yours as much as it is mine. I grew up bookish and antisocial you handsome popular tall were never meant to look at me awkward surly small but here we are, a triumph of style no substance basking in the light we throw upon each other. You think I don’t know but awareness informs every part of me. It’s as though I just woke up.

I am 17 I tremble to your touch your good virtue good looks good timing have made me their victim. All girls know how to lust but how do I love at this age I’m not formed not fulfilled not ready to give I only know how to take. Yet here you are. As I grow into you my friends start hunting, gathering experiences that do not correlate to mine. Next to you I learn about my body my mind my self my world everyone tries to convince me that my potential is wasted in commitment so young but I know I have tapped into the source early. Next to you I am not pretty not funny not moody not boring not smart just me. We are bound together forever, you will be years behind me in this realisation but that’s ok your love is louder than mine, more commanding you have my captive audience.

I know you are a girl as soon as I know you are within me. I float around ripe with your existence. I feel like I swallowed the sun I grow bigger better brighter every day. The most ordinary miracle deep within me but I feel special, I do. Ordinary is where I thrive I feel embraced by myself finally every time a stranger rubs my belly, with every knowing smile a mother passes me in the street I connect. This is how I slip into my skin, finally. With you. I mouth the words to myself a secret I can’t quite believe true. The greatest gift that will never really belong to me. My daughter. My daughter.

What a calamity it is to be a girl who has girls! I thought I’d feel grown when I had you but I feel newer with each passing day, the rebirth of surrender. I need to steal myself for everything that is aimed at you, life is different for a girl. I see it mapped out in the way people react to you already. Look at that hair. I nod. Those eyes. I nod. Can you fix those teeth? I nod. They are wild. I nod. This one may have red hair. I nod. I hope that no one looks at you touches you takes from you the way they do sometimes somewhere somehow just because you are a girl. But they will. The world will think it owns you just because you are a girl. But it won’t it can’t and this is where I live now, building you both. Stay soft stay Strong. Be good Be bad. Say No, loud. But not to me baby. Don’t say sorry the world will think you owe it just because you are a girl, but don’t say sorry.

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