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"What makes a grown up?"

"Your still a child." "I'm like 18 and stuff. I'm a grown up"

My mother looks at me with a look that is between amusement and that mode where I can't tell what she is thinking. I am standing with my arms crossed, looking straight to her eyes expectantly. I remember saying this to my mom at least a dozen times since I turned 18 in February. least since I was 14 too, except it was phrased: "I'm 13 now, mom...I'm 14 now, mom..." along these line.

I feel like I should be a "grown up", but I don't what a "grown up" is supposed to do, or even be. It seems like it is someone who assumes responsibility, someone who pays the bills, take care of the children... (and everyone else around them, or is that only woman...?) Ah, I don't know. Something like that.

I get so many mixed messages about what a "grown up" is really supposed to be.
Responsibility. School work. Work. O.k....

But then I hear of all of these other woman who have had it so much harder, who have had to endure so much more just before their even 18. (In the USA, 18 is accepted as legally an adult.) A time when thoughts are still developing. Before they are confidant enough to say anything without fear of displeasing least in my experience. They are inside a world that is their "reality".

Such as...
*9 year mothers who are already on their way to having their 2nd child...
(Mother of a child and she is a child herself. So this is a grown up...)

*16 who are faced with the decision of motherhood or abortion...adoption.
(But even then abortion is not even HER choice. It is not "moral" apparently to some, and her parents have to be informed in some states, before she even considers the abortion. In this case, I'd say that she's an adult, but not mature enough to make her own descriptions that she'll have to live with the rest of HER life...?)

*12 who help take care of all the brothers and sisters because the parents have to work all day.

*Children who help out in the fields to supply the world with chocolate, never getting an education.

So, tell me, what makes a grown up?

Apparently, circumstance makes a grown up a grown up, not age.
I feel a fire inside of me that this is happening somewhere, out there in the big, big world.

I feel that we have to change this, so woman and children can have a childhood. A place where they can grow into themselves, a place where they can laugh and play and the world isn't a giant, scary place to be afraid of, but a positive, balanced place that should be encouraged to explore and grow, to make mistakes and cry. Where you don't have to be so strong all the time. A place you can just have fun.
A childhood. ...or, hey...even into our adult life while we are at it? Ha ha ha...

The world seems to be such a dark places sometimes, and it is sometimes. But...I know as sure as you are reading these words right now, that it will change. For the better.
Thanks for listening.


Maria de Chirikof's picture

hugs and love

Feed that fire since so many will want it snuffed out and only you can protect it and we will help with encouragement when needed or ideas or whatever! Your curiosity and sense of adventure will take you far in life, learning to trust oneself is a very valuable gift that we all need to learn to give ourselves!

Your one description of your mom looking at you with a look that is amusement and something else makes me smile. I guess part of it is how we (moms, I mean) can not tell you some things, some things you must learn on your own but just saying that to your child will not make much sense, it is one you learn as you grow.

It is true and something I really want changed where children will be allowed to be children again since they grow up very quickly! I guess we are stuck where we want to experience our bit of "childhood" but must put it on hold for our own children -at least in some situations where the children have children.

It is why this place is so special since we are not just talking here but creating a sort of web together, such finely spun thread that it is unnoticed but strong or as someone else put it we are weaving a tapestry together. These are powerful images and each one of us shares it even if we just come here to read and don't post yet, we are all together.

Never give up your curiosity since it is a gift to cherish since too often woman lose interest about life when they have to work so hard just to get through a day!

As for the world seeming a dark place sometime, picture it as half the world is at rest while the other is awake and you can begin to understand that darkness is not always bad or evil.

with much love,


JaniceW's picture

Thank you

Your posts are so thought-provoking and I thank you for sharing them with us. You have such insight for a woman of your age. I'm not sure I can answer what a grown-up is but I think that when you look at the burden of those you mentioned, then it places into perspective your own life and the responsibilities you shoulder. As you say, some 12 year olds are grown-ups because of their circumstances while I have met people in their 50s who still have not grown up!

I would love to introduce you to Leila, a 13 year old from Kenya who is speaking out on behalf of those who have no voice or are silent. Even though your backgrounds are different and there is some distance between your ages, I think you would have much to talk about. She can be found at:

I loved what Maria said about the darkness. And remember that to be a star, you must shine your own light and follow your own path. Do not worry about the darkness as it is there that stars shine their brightest. Keep sharing your thoughts,
PulseWire Community Director

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