I have an older brother that I idolized when I was growing up. He was born six years prior to me, in 1969, so had a knowledge of all things denim, Led Zeppelin, and Ford Mustangs. My Dad was the man in my little world. A carpenter who firmly believed that a fancy gym was a ridiculous notion, suggesting instead that one should curl a five gallon bucket of joint compound to get into shape — a man who abhorred makeup and who married a woman who preferred not to wear it. This is not a knock on my family. They’re wonderful. But cool clothes (read: mall clothes) and lessons in femininity were not high priority on the parenting agenda. I didn’t care about bruises and scratches on my legs from spending most of my life outside. And between you and I, I still don’t. I think obstacle courses / mud runs are fun and I enjoy a good hike in the woods.
This was the perfect storm for what became my lack of: fashion sense, makeup application skills, and cool hairstyles.
My teen years and twenties followed the same formula. And with age, I made more attempts at being girly, yet it never really felt natural. I was forever viewing other girls as though I was on the outside looking in on some “girl club” that I didn’t belong to. I’m only now, at 38, starting to become more comfortable with heels and attempts to do my hair. I’m always nervous to go to events where there will be other women (I’m aware that this is all events, by the way) who completely have their shit together. I never feel quite grown up; I never feel mature. This is usually because I forgot to put on lotion, do something with my nails, sweat at the idea of having to put on makeup, and/or am wearing an elastic hair tie with a dress.
Enter: MOTHERHOOD. I had a daughter. Which pleased me beyond belief! I loved buying her little clothes and shoes. And then the pink started to trickle in. And I embraced it. And lots of dresses. And the obsession with princesses. Whaaaaaa? I never exposed her to princesses. How on Earth did that happen? And the DANCING! I can explain that. She may or may not have witnessed some solo dance sessions in this house. And, oh lawd. THE TUTU.
The me of 20 years ago may have been terrified at the thought of having to raise this little girl for fear of not being capable of teaching her the ropes so that she wouldn’t have to struggle with the angst and awkwardness of being a girl among other girls that know what’s what. Surprising to me, I’ve had a blast with learning how to raise a little lady.
She insisted on wearing a tutu to bed tonight over her footie pajamas — something I may have normally not understood and thought to be not very sensible. Instead, I told her that she absolutely could and that it would also allow her to dance in her dreams. And she thinks I’m cool. (Don’t rain on my parade — I’m totally aware that this is not going to last forever.) She likes to put on my jewelry and walk around in my work shoes. Since I have someone to really girl it up with, I’ve really gotten into stepping up my game. And I’m learning to find the balance between tomboy and lady.