Growing Pain – A Tanka

Bright sun of your face

Hair flying free with laughter

Lunchtime playground fun

Replaced by eye rolls and sighs

The penumbra comes too soon

Image credit; Teslariu Mehai @ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, this image shows a person wearing a paper-bag over their head. Words ” Photo shop” are written by hand on the bag.

The word penumbra comes from the Bushboy’s Thursday RagTag Daily prompt. I had never heard that word before but the idea of a half shadow intrigued me.

On the other hand, this photo from Sadje’s What do you see #66 brought up a lot of emotions for me, the strongest of which was avoidance (hence my missing the deadline). It took me awhile to process why this was.

The paper bag of the woman’s head didn’t sit well with me. It made me think about all the ways that women are “covered” – how we cover our true selves or how other people try to cover us up. How might we “photoshop” what we want others to see when our true selves are hidden? I began to wonder what her face might be like under the bag – is her face blank? is she frowning? Is she smiling even though her smile can’t be seen?

This reminded me of those “awkward years” as a pre-teen, feeling embarrassed of “changes” and not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I probably would have hidden in a paper bag if I could. That was the time when I decided I wasn’t good at math (even though I was doing high school level math in junior high) – becoming “less than” I truly was. I wouldn’t find my whole self until much later in life.

And now I see my daughter entering that stage where she’s spending more time wearing her ear buds and the eye rolls outnumber the laughter. I try to remind her to stay true to who she is and not feel like she has to become “less than” for other people. Is this something all girls – women – go through? Or is it something that is part of human nature and growing up?

When does the bag go over our face and a penumbra covers our true selves? Or maybe the better question is why…

©️ 2021 iido

27 thoughts on “Growing Pain – A Tanka

  1. The teenage years are, never easy, for anyone, because, we are, trapped, between, being fully, adults, and staying a child, and all we can do, to support the children, is by, being around them, and, having the faith, that we had, taught them well, that they feel comfortable, coming to us, to seek the advices that they may need, that, is all, that any parent, can do.

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  2. Pingback: What do you see # 66 – A Roundup – Keep it alive

  3. You raise some interesting points, Irma. I’m sure everyone goes through those emotions as we grow up, and for some the transitions take longer and are more difficult to handle. It took me many years to ‘metamorphosize’ into a person who felt truly comfortable in her skin. One of the compensations for getting older.

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  4. As a former high school teacher, I saw the process where girls were made to feel less than. They are encouraged to be quiet, non-confrontational, acquiescent. To put a bag over their heads, in other words. I did see the same thing happening to boys, but not to the same extent. Let’s encourage more raucous laughter in young people and less eye rolling!

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  5. I feel like many ‘women’ are born with paper bags over their heads, told to be seen and not heard, don’t be as smart as the boys, serve all males, don’t whine when raped …

    removing those paper bags are not easy and many never do 😦

    Your poems are great but your info afterwards always resonates deepest with me, love your deeply honest, reflective thought process … take care precious

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    • So true, Kate! It is a sadness that many women don’t have the opportunity, the support, the bravery to show their true selves.

      I’m glad you resonate with my reflections – I often wonder if I’m disclosing too much but the catharsis feels so good. After the photo is when my paper bag is removed! Hope your doing well, dear Kate!

      Liked by 1 person

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