by Sophie Ulin, Staff Writer

Illustrated by Summer Cushman

To be experienced
By everything life had to offer
Her offerings destroyed parts of you
And restored the rest
Your faith in who you are
Your ability to love
And love again
And again
You can try to blame the world for making you grow
But it is not her fault
Obsessed with youth
A desperate attempt to appear younger
To be carded
To hide the years that molded you
Because you know, 
That womanhood only lasts for so long
Before the world starts shouting back
“She’s irrelevant”
“She’s too old”
“She’s not equipped for this”
As if they’re just waiting for you to die
But you aren’t ready to go
You have just reached this stage
In which you consider yourself to be
The mirror stares back 
As you begin to undress yourself 
Your thoughts take over
I am not the stick I once was
            Because I grew stronger, this is muscle, this is life that fills my thighs and stomach
My skin is not as smooth
            Because I have seen more, experienced more than you could possibly imagine
The hair on my head is losing its color
the sun
My womanhood is my growth
Is my proof
Is my experience
So you scream back at the world that binds you
“I am woman so hear me roar”