And I didn't. But as the conversation shifted to another topic, I lingered on the word woman. And for the first time, the designation felt fitting, as right as rain.
Somewhere between the gangly, knobby-kneed girl who owned more baseball caps than her cootie-beset cronies, to the now budding journalist who feels curiously comfortable in her own skin, I became a woman.
I think it happens when a girl stops requiring the approval or consent of others to make a decision;
when she recognizes the value in being there for friends even when it's not convenient for her;
when she becomes able to acknowledge her shortcomings;
when she can keep a secret;
when she learns to be gracious at the forefront of adversity;
when she learns that losing some things for the sake of something greater is true greatness;
when she has determined what she will and won't put up with;
when she acquires a self-respect that cannot be jolted by others;
when she gets a big bed for herself;
perhaps it begins when she starts paying her own bills;
or when she finds her signature dish;
when she learns that a dress can make her feel like a million bucks;
when she discovers the art of coyness;
when she finds the necessity of kindness and softness and femininity;
when she finds perfection in her flaws;
when her smile becomes default;
when she discovers that people, above all, are really what it's all about.
And though she does not yet possess all the traits God intended her to have, she now begins that interminable process of aiming for such an ideal.
And in this feat, she joins the ranks of those before her who so proudly called themselves woman.