The loss of the girl

Jocelyn Arroyo-Ariza, News Editor

I think it is a universal experience that something bad happens at 19. I hope earnestly that everyone reading the paper never has to fill out a restraining order. Regardless, I could have chosen to open by describing any of the numerous traumatic situations that young women know a bit too well.  

I have reached the age where women are reminded that they are getting older. Jumping from one unsettling realization to another is like learning that as you get older your lips get smaller and it can begin in your early 20s. Applying retinol begins at this phase, emphasizing you want to stay this young forever, but a little better. Some Andrew Tate wannabe probably thinks I looked more appealing when I was 16 because I smiled more – among other things.  

The first time I noticed it was when I did not have to suck in my cheeks. My jawline was already sharp without the egregious posing and natural light. Some many years later of wishing I had a slimmer face, I got a natural buccal fat removal.   

I have come of age – now what? The inverse of teenagerhood, I already learned everything. What happened to the kindness of strangers? All I get now is cruel wisdom that I can do without. The reality of that once you step out of childhood, you can never go back. Sometimes I wish there were a definite marker of this period. A physical change embodiment that can be used as a metaphor in some awful book. It does not need to be painful, it just needs to be present.  

Girl, particularly little girl, has always been used as an insult. It has followed me throughout my relatively short political career. From the beginning I was told that I did not understand what I was saying. I was told that I was too sweet to be commenting on the State of the Union, that I was better suited to playing with my dolls. Though it has lessened over the years, it has now morphed into my fellow interns getting at least one Lewinsky comment.  

I constantly reconcile what happens to me and what eventually will. Some comfort was found in reading literature from women who are no longer here or who would be my grandmother’s age that this stage may be the worst. Still, they warn that despite the confusion and emotional upheaval the body has yet to start to decompose; you can still recognize yourself in the mirror. So much to look forward to. 

Still, I am prompted to remember the loss of the girl is inevitable. Not only do I recognize the joy in their faces, but the predatory nature that will continue to follow them. I too was in my Catholic school uniform who had to be polite and nod when I was told whatever came to mind. The female rage that will slowly brew inside of them after so many times that it will implode before they know what to do with it.