This is a reader submission for our Big Girl Badge week. Tell us how you evolved from woman-child to woman, and you could win hundreds of dollars of prizes! (Send your 800 word submissions to Jennifer [at] thegloss.com or Ashley [at] thegloss.com)

Okay, you wanted a submission about evolving from woman-child to woman? Here it comes.

I would love to get that sparkly prize that you are metaphorically dangling in front of me (the flask part was the kicker for me), but I am probably blowing it by being completely honest. Because I have learned that nothing is worth betraying who I am as a person.

I object to this contest. I object to the idea of the woman-child. I object to the title. “Big Girl Badge”? I say this with genuine love and respect for you (because I frequently love what you write and have posted on the Gloss) but honestly, fuck you. You don’t get to hand out the “Big Girl Badge”. No one does. We earn it by proving to ourselves how capable we are. So I won’t be bragging about my accomplishments. And I won’t be competing with other women to try to measure ourselves against some imaginary life milestone yard stick. That won’t help me, that won’t help them, and it won’t help anyone reading this.

Here’s the thing: as individuals, we all mature differently. And we all have to find a way to live on this fucked up planet that works for us.

So judging each other, judging ourselves, is not a good thing. What makes me a woman, and not a woman-child may be completely different. And someone may look at my life and think “Hey lady, you are x years old, why don’t you grow up already?” And the most clear cut example of being an adult that I can think of is this: being able to respond “Fuck off”. Because that is the thing, right there. It is MY life. And these are MY decisions. And you don’t have to agree with them, but you should respect them, just as I must take responsibility for them.

So if anyone reads this, please understand me. You are in charge of your life. And I will respect you for shaping it however you feel best works for you. You can earn that badge every day, but you are the person you have to earn it from.

With love and respect,

RML