Oh So You Grown, Huh? How I Realized That I Wasn’t Really A Grown A** Woman

November 20, 2012  |  

Damali Elliott, the young entrepreneur behind Petals-N-Belles, an organization dedicated to the mentorship and guidance of young woman said,

“There’s a point for [boys] when they’ve ‘reached manhood’ and can say, “I’m a man.” There’s no definitive moment where a girl becomes a woman. Except a Sweet Sixteen which isn’t really womanhood. I think that’s something that needs to change. We need to teach girls that there are times when you have to become more serious about things. How to handle yourself in business. How to present yourself, just in general. Women stay in remedial positions and seem to accept that. They don’t reach for anything higher. No one really ever says, “You’re a woman, go for it! I want to help my girls [in Petals-N-Belles] to make decisions that will prepare them for that transition.”

I agree with that sentiment immensely.  In observing girls, women my own age and even myself nowadays, the general consensus among many young women (black or otherwise) seems to be that in order to be a “grown woman” you need to have a few ideas of your own, any amount of income (stable or not) and a “relationship.” It’s funny to me because I never thought of myself as “grown” until I reached college, living outside of my mother’s household, making many more of my own decisions than I ever had to before. But looking back on those college years, I can see how ill-equipped I really was to deal with love, life and all the intricate matters in between. I thought I had it TO-GE-THER, honey. But I couldn’t balance a checkbook, had low self-esteem, didn’t know what my capabilities were in life, and had issues that prevented me from being functional within a relationship. I was a hot mess, but I thought I was “grown” and was just glad to be living on my own. Hmph. Life sure taught me a thing or two.

It’s fair to say our vision has been skewed, perhaps by the lack of examples. Or maybe society’s about-face toward materialism has stifled the standard that once was. There was a dignity and class about women back in the day that is absolutely RARE today. But perhaps it’s time to redefine what “grown” looks like and hop on the good foot to get back to it.

“Grown” has nothing to do with having your own place or engaging in sexual intercourse. “Grown” isn’t contained in how many men can buy you gifts and how many clubs you can bounce around to within a week’s time, or simply how many bills you pay and that you pay rent on a little somethin’ somethin’. “Grown” is a much more internal thing that can’t help but to be manifested outwardly. If you know your worth, that’s where it all begins. If you know and accept your responsibilities, that’s another step on the continuum.

I can’t allow my home to go lacking so I can purchase this season’s Louboutins. That’s not a “grown woman.” I can’t watch every trash reality show and comment on each character but refuse to find the time or will to finish my degree. That’s not a “grown woman.” So many young ladies whom I have mentored within past years have had grand ideas and flowing declarations of what they were going to do with their lives and also what they refused to do. I had to sit back in awe as I recognized so much of my younger self in them–a lot of brass but little brain to back it up. Becoming a “grown woman” demands that we count up the cost, get our ducks in a row, think ahead, be prepared, do the little extra, because in its very essence, that’s what it means to be a good woman, a GROWN woman. Grown women do what they can where they are even when they DON’T FEEL LIKE IT and they work to become whatever they need/want to become. We revel in our femininity but do not use it to seduce. We nurture and cultivate. We know and uphold our priorities. We go the extra mile and enjoy a few pleasures as a reward for their efforts. We choose the road less traveled when we’ve reached true “grown woman” status because we know that our lives are unique and we need to shine a light for those who come after us.

What constitutes a “grown woman” to you? How has your perspective changed through the years?

La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

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  • scandalous7


  • heyheynow

    I’m trying to figure out what watching reality tv has to do with not finishing your degree…lol like school happens during the day those shows come on at night. I totally agree however I feel the same you do about graduating sometimes having low self esteem, and bad budget choices. As a 24 year old graduate student I still have some moments where I certainly don’t act grown. However I feel I’m well on my way

  • TeahMonae

    I have noticed that NONE of the “grown” women that I respect and admire for the way
    that they carry themselves, contribute to their community, love and nurture
    their family and friends, achieve success in their careers, strive for excellence, show responsibility and accountability for their actions, exhibit class and grace in social and professional situations and are true role models for other young women and girls go around saying that they are a “grown woman”.Usually, the women that go around proclaiming that they are a “grown woman” are anything but. If you truly possess those qualities, your actions will speak volumes above your words.

    • Alohilani

      I agree with the last part of your comment.

      **I’ve only seen this whole ‘grown woman’/’grown man’ thing be a thing in the BC and be defined by materialism.

  • Alohilani

    A grown woman is a female human who is 18+.

    • Trisha_B

      No, a female human who is 18+ is an adult. She’a a woman, but most def not grown. I know a lot of women who are 20, 21, 24 who think they are grown but can’t take care of themselves. I remember on my 22nd birthday my mom was like you’re grown now, i was like no i’m not. I’m still depending on you to pay my tuition & buy my groceries lmao

      • Alohilani

        It’s subjective really; I personally do not define other’s ‘growness’ that way.

  • Onlime98