New York City on Ilford HP5+ 400 B/W film; Nikon F3.
Now that I’m twenty-two, there’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while. I guess I still haven’t really come to terms with my age (it’s too long to insert an explanation here), but this is an awkward stage in a woman’s life, where — see, it’s awkward for me already — let me start over.
Frankly, I feel weird referring to myself as a woman. I realise that I am indeed a woman, and have been old enough to be called one, for some time. It’s not that I associate myself with the word “girl” — I haven’t done so since well before fifteen or sixteen, if I remember correctly — it’s just that the word “woman” comes with so many connotations which I’m not sure I’m ready for yet. For some reason I’ve always felt that a “woman” is someone powerful who, for lack of a more poignant term, has their shit together. I’ll concede that I know people who get the impression that I’m all-confident and self-assured, definitely “powerful” in some way, and have my shit together. But that is just bollocks. In other words, by my own ideal of what a “woman” is, and all the symbolism it carries, I don’t feel like I qualify as one yet. A “young woman” or “young lady”, perhaps, but not quite a full-blown woman. I realise I need to work on this.
Why isn’t there a female equivalent of “guy”? It seems socially acceptable to call a male of any age a “guy”, albeit with varying degrees of acceptability. But I’m not going to call myself a “girl”, especially when I had issues with that word even as a teenager. I can’t seem to find a solution besides ignoring it, or the practical alternative is to simply dub myself as a “student”. This will work perfectly fine… until I graduate. By then, another set of issues will be triggered, that is, to refer to people by their professions. This is a tangent which I would like to return to, perhaps in another post.
As a side note, I’m a fan of “fake it til you make it” in the confidence department, and I also subscribe to idea that life isn’t about “finding” yourself, but is actually about “creating” yourself. Having said that, I don’t condone any fake-ness and I like feeling that people are “authentic” and aren’t just brand-building, networking, social-climbing schemers. So although I can understand and empathise where people are coming from, I’ve never really enjoyed those bloggers or people in real life who categorise themselves as someone “looking for themselves”. My abbreviated interpretation is: you’re creating yourself and curating your tastes through the means of looking for what you like and love, rather than looking for yourself.