I find it strange
when the poets describe girlhood.
They tell us that it is peach pits and sun-stained skin and a face that blooms with rosy hues. This is beautiful, girlhood and growing up is beautiful, but this is not all that I know about girlhood.
Girlhood is being scared of things that go bump in the night, of people who frown at you while you’re holding your mother’s hand at the shops and people who smile too wide while you’re doing the same. It’s a whisper and a shoulder nudge, a chipped tooth and the flash of a camera, a pair of shoes that everyone claims you will “grow into”. It’s beautiful, certainly, but it’s terrifying.
I propose that we all look at it a new way – no more tight-lipped smiles and tugging down skirts and making sure your new school shoes fit you right. I say that when something seems scary, something leaves you horror-struck, you do one better: bare your teeth. Scare them right back. They should be afraid of us, all our strawberries and sweaty faces and crooked grins. There is a beauty, a silver lining, even, in dressing up, in feeling pretty, in horrifying the things that scare us.