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I dont want to grow up (but my daughter says I have to)
We all know there is an openly held belief that women of a certain age have to behave, act or dress in a certain way. No-one knows why, it just is. The absolute bastard of it is that it
If you are at all like me, then you more than likely have experienced that sideways ’ Who does
These glances can hurt, or they can empower. My most recent ones hurt, in fact they were like punches in the post 7 kid stomach, a total bind side. They came from someone that I love, respect,
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I don’t want to grow up, I really don’t. But I have to- well to an extent I do, What I don’t want to do is act my age. You see I’m 47 an a mother of 7 and every day in one way or another I feel in some sort of limbo. I don’t feel 47, and most people I know or meet would say that I don’t look 47 ( whatever that means…) and that is kinda what this is about.
We all know there is an openly held belief that women of a certain age have to behave, act or dress in a certain way. No-one knows why, it just is. The absolute bastard of it is that it certainly doesn’t apply to men ( there is the odd joke about motorcycles leather trousers and mid-life crisis but hohoho, doesn’t he look distinguished…). Its like we as a group upon the chiming of our 40th year unwittingly and with a confused compliance become lemmings to waterfall cardigans, palazzo trousers and hotter shoes (* Discalimer- there is nothing at all wrong with said garments if that is what you like/feel comfortable in but not if its what you feel is expected of you or somehow what befits your age) and wine bars.
I have fought tooth (still as of yet un-whitened but its on the list) and nail ( short natural but occasionally grey or black) to keep hold of and in- touch with my younger self. By younger self I mean the me that could throw on any old thing and it suits, laugh out LOUDLY at my own jokes and speak in a way that would make sailors blush without a little voice in my head saying ‘REALLY?, REALLY? You ok hun? I want that freedom, I don’t want to let it go.
If you are at all like me, then you more than likely have experienced that sideways ‘ Who does she think she is’ glance. Ironically this has most likely been at the park, the school gates, even out with our girlfriends- places where generally speaking we are with our own, where we should feel safe and able to be ourselves. Sisters and all that. Wrong. you and I know that women CAN be like vultures ready to pick at the bones of the weak to build ourselves up. Its like society has programmed that into us, like we cant be the best us unless someone else is put down.Well that’s how it can feel sometimes. Listen, I’m no angel I’ve been guilty of being that vulture, I still am occasionally. In my defence generally now my talons are now out for eyebrows but that’s just me, I’m probably jealous as mine are CRAP despite my best efforts and I know its wrong and that I probably get a tiny wrinkle with each little snicker but I cant stop myself and I probably will continue to do despite my best intentions. Lets call it a quirk. Anyway, I don’t think the owners of said eyebrows should STOP having eyebrows, or STOP turning them into little landing strips for sparrows. I’m glad they have big bushy full eyebrows, I just wish I did too. Unfortunately I don’t think that the reason why I raise a thin pale eyebrow is not the same reason we raise one at a 50 year old in a mini skirt standing at the bar drinking a pint before a Drake concert. Its not jealousy but more a disappointment mixed with confusion and dare I say disgust.
These glances can hurt, or they can empower. My most recent ones hurt, in fact they were like punches in the post 7 kid stomach, a total bind side. They came from someone that I love, respect, nurture and build up at every given opportunity. They came from my daughter. In fact, they are coming pretty thick and fast at the moment and I don’t know how to feel about it. Said daughter is 16 so understandably there is a level of ‘un-coolness’ levied against me ,to an extent I expect and accept that but this is more. I can see within those glances something worrying, something that goes beyond an eye roll and ‘Oh God Mother you just don’t understand’, its closer to a ‘Please act and dress your age, you are a disgrace to this family and me and how can I face the outside world knowing that they know that we are related’ look. Now I have to put things into perspective here, I don’t wear stilettos and micro skirts, fine if you do but its not my thing, nor do I wear jeans slung so low that my gynaecologist need only walk past to make sure all is well in my lady garden. My thing is cropped jeans, sweatshirts, trainers, being loud, opinionated, the odd swear word at dinner and at times enjoying a drink a wee bit too much. Not overly LAMBISH for this MUTTON you may think but I assure you that you think wrong. Its like I have encroached into territory that has long banned my type. ***I like my jeans quite tight too, I’m 47 have carried 7 children and work hard to remain the size I am*** I’m proud. And as I should be, and as we should all be. No matter what our age or size we should be allowed to do, act and dress how we feel comfortable. We can shine when we are comfortable ( or when having a hot flush, natures way of giving us a glow), we just need to stop trying to extinguish that shine, we need to fan those flames .
Back to my daughter, I guess it comes to this. She wants me to grow up, she wants me to be and act like the mother that most of her friends have, but that’s not me. I love Radio 1, I dabble in Heat magazine, I enjoy reading amazing books outside karate lessons like ‘Letters to my Fanny’ by the amazing Cherry Healy or ‘I Love Dick’ by Chris Kraus and I like cropped tight-ish jeans. In short I am in my current state not fit mother material ( I’ll add here that I am American and live in an itsy bitsy teeny weeney Welsh town which as you may well imagine only compounds matters!)) and its getting to be crunch time. My daughter in my opinion is bright intelligent open minded but yet she is suffering from this female to female affliction. She wants me to conform and behave. What do I do? Do I carry on regardless, showing her through my defiance that I can be who I want and be happy or do I slowly feed in a bit more Boden and Coast into my wardrobe? Help, I don’t want to grow up, but my daughter says I have to.