As twenty-two is nearing, I find myself curled up on the couch on the quiet mornings I have to myself, thinking about the girl I was then and the one I am now.
"Then" is such a relative term, but more importantly, so is "girl". Looking back, I know I was a girl: an impatient, selfish wisp of a thing, but one who was strong and bold too. I'm not sure how much has really changed, but in all reality, everything has changed.
Twenty-two is an odd stage of life. Society says twenty-two is drunkenly sleeping around, working whatever jobs you can find to make it to the next paycheck. It's living in a haze of smoke and mirrors and wandering around aimlessly, just trying to find a man to convince that you're worth his time. But marriage is a different thing entirely. Society expects that it's being at home as much as possible, cooking dinners and worrying about how clean the house is. It's sitting on the couch all night, engrossed in multiple t.v shows. It's wanting babies. Now.
But as it is with so many things these days, I'm in between those two. I'm a twenty-two year old wife. I'm not a girl, yet not a woman [Britney knows].
But I am a woman. I'm realizing that when I catch a glimpse of the curves of my body in the mirror. I see a face that's aging [towards the better hopefully] and hair that I'm finally [finally!] figuring out what to do with. I know what I do to guys at the bar.
And in my soul, I know it too. Gone are the days of carelessly flirting with every boy who looks my way. My heart belongs to one man and I want him to know that I love him with everything I am.
Everything I am is enough, which is something I'm just realizing again at the end of my 21st year. I'm impatient and a "firecracker", as a friend once said, but these are good things sometimes. I get stuff done and I make sure all is as it needs to be. I'm outspoken, but I don't take shit. I think that's one trait that I like most about myself. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but I know what I want and how I deserve to be treated and God help the person that gives me any less. I may be fickle in a lot of ways, but I know what I want.
And what I want is the life that I have right now. I am a woman who is made up of this 21st year and the 20th and all the ones before. I have baggage, but I have even more souvenirs. Joyful, positive, never-want-to-forget-this-moment souvenirs. I am a woman who has a husband that makes perfect sense. He is exactly who I need him to be and loving him for the past 3 1/2 years has transformed me into a different person. So much of who I am is because of him, but not in a dependent, unhealthy way. I fell in love with him when I was 18, in a summer of adventures and freshly picked flowers and mac & cheese dinners. I grew up with him. I'm growing up with him.
So this is me at 22. I am a girl who's slowly finding her place as a woman. I'm joyful most of the time, but when sorrow comes to my heart, I give it time to take over. I'm making time to be alone with myself, to be quiet and see what it is that I like to do and who I like be. I'm working on thinking before I speak and considering others before myself, but this is a process, this growing gracefully. It's so easy to stay the same person every year, but this 22nd year, I'm going to try to not.
I'm not perfect one tiny bit. But regardless, I'm loved. That's who I am at 22.