How did you learn what it meant to be a man/woman?
I cannot make you understand
I cannot make anyone understand
What is happening inside me.
I cannot even explain it to myself.
In Judaism, I became a woman when I turned 13, and was Bat Mitzvah’ed at our local temple. After years of Hebrew School classes, I spent months upon months learning the select portion I was to read in front of family and friends on my special day. I celebrated my golden birthday on 5/13/1999, and my Bat Mitzvah was on 5/23/1999. In terms of my faith, my traditions and my culture, that was the day I undertook the responsibilities of becoming a woman.
I think in truth, this question is hard for me because there have been so many different moments that have represented different things, different portions of my growing, different moments in which I learned what it meant to be a woman, how to best fulfill those duties, and how that changed who I was and what I was becoming.
I think in part it was during the years of my parents divorce. It was my mid to late teenage years that I learned how to be strong, independent, and how to persevere. Those are all characteristics I admire in my female role models.
When I went to college, when I joined a social sorority, when I entered the workforce as a young professional, those definitions continued to shift, to change, to evolve. What it means to be a woman, to me, never had anything to do with being in a relationship, or defining myself or my characteristics based on the needs or the space of another. I think that statement makes me proud. I think it makes me relieved. It makes me know that no matter who comes and goes from my life, I can be a strong, brave, independent woman.
That’s a pretty valuable life lesson, if you ask me.
Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”