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Four to Forty: The Life of a Woman 

Four to Forty: The Life of a Woman

Four to Forty: The Life of a Woman

You were three months old when they painted your nursery a bubbly pink and plastered unicorn heads all around the room. The vibrancy would hurt your eyes. They never understood why you cried every night, or how the magical creature scared you shitless.

You were four years old when they bought you your very first Barbie doll. She came with a wardrobe full of clothes, a doll house, and a pony. All you’d wanted was your brother’s Nerf gun.  

You were six years old when they dressed you up in a Cinderella costume and paraded you around on Halloween night. Who wants to see a pretty little girl looking like the boy from Neverland anyway? Peter Pan would just have to wait until everyone else was asleep.

You were nine when they put you in ballet classes; they wanted your form to be long and slender, gentle and womanly. Your cries for another hour at the playground, running from Mickey and chasing Sarah, ignored.

You were 11 when your breasts started coming in. They taught you it was wrong to love your body. They told you to cover it up like it was an insult to them. They told boys you were a distraction.

You were 12 when daddy’s friend started frequenting the house more. Burning showers were never enough to wash off the prints his hands would leave on your chest .

You were 15 when you fancied reinventing the solar system. Drills, nails, screws, metal sheets, the whole yard was covered in your dreams. They asked you to hand over the machinery to your brother, your twin.

You were 17 when your biology teacher saw you playing volleyball and licked his lips. No one still knows why you never went into medicine.

You were 19 when he forced himself into you. You cried and cried and cried, but your body wouldn’t move. His Frat brothers took turns.

You were 25 whenthey asked you what lengths were you willing to go to to get the job. Your parents had to wire in rent money that month.

You were 27 when he first purpled your cheek with his fist. He started coloring you more often.

You were 30 when you had your third abortion. Some men just don’t like girls.

You were 35 when your son punched little Sally. “Boys will be boys after all, wont they?” you laughed.

You were 39 when everyone started asking you to enjoy the last good year of your life—you’d be undesirable soon.

You were 45 when they promoted your apprentice over you; the company needed a fresh, young face, “no hard feelings.”

You were 57 when they lowered your coffin into the ground, it said, “Loving Mother, Sister, Daughter, a Woman of this World.” They all wrote speeches about how it wasn’t your time. They wept and bled from their eyes and cursed you for being an alcoholic. It was your fault that these noble men were crying.  

Ironic, never once did anyone notice the blood dripping from their own fingertips.

March 8 is International Women's Day, an annual, worldwide event promoting gender equality and celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. For more info., visit

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Aashna Malpani

I like to call my aesthetic "President of the Procrastinator's Association who was going to bake passive aggressive cookies."

I like to call my aesthetic "President of the Procrastinator's Association who was going to bake passive aggressive cookies."