how terrifying, to be aging and girl. at 18 i was told by men that i was “the perfect age,” and i still thought it was a compliment. is it because at 20 i figured out how sharp those words were. i felt old at 21, felt like if grey hairs came and my spine cracked i was done for. how scary. i am reminded constantly by “realistic” ideas in fantasy novels that i should have five kids.
my life feels short. like it is squeezed into my twenties. like at 30 i become ghost, just another mother or hard worker or both, just another background character. like if i am not settled and making a difference by 27 i should just give up already. is this something men feel? like a clock is painted on their back, one hand warning: your beauty is something you are valued for and it is something you cannot get back.
and why was i only beautiful, i wonder, at 18 on a riverbank. i’m told often my childish face is a blessing. that i shouldn’t want to look older. one told me i was a trap falling: “you look young but you’re not” he said to me, “it kind of led me on”. am i not young?
maybe i am wrong. maybe it’s just how we all feel, getting old, like time is slipping from us. maybe men do worry that they will be alone forever if they don’t settle by thirty, maybe it’s even because they think they’ll turn ugly. maybe we all squish our lives into that incredibly young decade. what do i know. i’m still learning.