Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Life As A Girl Suffocating My Girly

On Sunday night, while watching the NY Giants kick Dallas's ass, I decided to break into one of my many unopened bottles of nail polish and attempt to give myself a mani/pedi. This picture that you're looking at took almost two hours because at 30 years old, I do not know how to paint my nails without looking like a four-year old spilled the bottle. It took several coats and many cotton balls to get the color from bleeding into my cuticles and onto my skin. I attempted to paint my nails about six months ago and they looked so horrendous that before the final coat dried I took it all off leaving me with an even more horrible hot pink glow. And this time I certainly got close to taking it all off...but instead I just kept correcting it until I finally walked away with something half decent. They are far from perfect, but I kind of love my pink/purple nails. They make me feel different. They make me feel girly, something I almost never allowed myself to be. That's why at 30, it takes me two hours to paint my nails. I once worked with a girl who painted her nails a new color every week. I never asked her how long it took her but the actual physical process is not the point to me. The point is that I took two hours out of my day to make myself look "pretty"...even if it is just a stupid nail color.

Once winter strikes and the holiday season ends, I usually find myself with an extra 7 -10 pounds hanging around my belly. This season, I'm at six and while six does not sound like a whole lot, it's the kind of "few pounds" that's just enough to cover up with a big wool sweater but also just enough to take away my waist and make my jeans too tight. I have been down about the inevitable weight gain and disappointed that I let myself fall off the "gym train" just before Thanksgiving until now. But I'm glad that I'm setting aside some time to let myself be girly. My whole life I've been a tomboy. My mother tried to make me a ballerina, but with a little brother and many, many male cousins, I never had a shot. Once she left, it was open season for tomboys. And even more than being a tomboy, I just wanted to be one of the boys. Growing up in an all male household (even the dog was male) and spending almost every waking minute with my four boy cousins who lived a mile away, girls were not something they understood. I learned quickly not to complain and definitely not to cry, because if there was anything worse than a girl, it was a crying girl, or a girly girl.

I can remember wearing a heart locket when I was 11 or 12 with a tiny slip of paper with my initials + D.H. (my first boyfriend). One of my cousins fooled me into taking it off and letting him see it, where he then tortured me by hanging it over an open drain pipe. He did give it back, but he won in the long run because I never wore it again. 

I quickly rid myself of any inklings to wear jewelry. In my youth, I had one manicure when I was twelve and went to a friend's Bat Mitzvah. Thanks to many wonderful aunts, especially my Aunt Rose, they would occasionally swoop in and rescue me from my athletic socks, shinguard tan, and mousy hair existence. Sometimes, I think they even overdid it just to let me see how pretty I could be. At the Bat Mitzvah, I was more dressed up then the girl we were all celebrating.

In 8th grade, I started rebelling, but instead of going the "slutty direction," I went the opposite direction where I tried to make myself look as ugly as possible. I shopped at Army Surplus stores and Vintage shops. I wore ripped up cords and vintage Mickey Mouse tee-shirts, and put G.I. Joe or Rambo stickers over my ripped up knees. I wore doc martens and mens skate shoes. I dyed my hair with red Kool-Aid and after a soccer game in the sun, successfully bleached my sandy blonde streaks a dull pink.  My aunts took one look at me Christmas Eve and drove me straight to a hair salon to dye my hair back to its original color. In high school, I started wearing makeup, a ritual that I have gone in and out of my whole life. But in high school, I also got piercings, gross ones. To this day, I can't believe I sat through a tongue piercing on Venice Beach and proudly wore this "lightning rod" (as my Grandma called it) in my mouth until I was 23 and had to get my wisdom teeth out. My belly button, also a Venice Beach piercing acquired at sixteen, lasted until I was almost twenty six. And when piercings weren't enough I got tattoos. I have four tattoos, and I like two of them. They are black ink designs and one word. Even the somewhat girly one of three daisies looks more like Gothic weeds hanging out above my ass.  But I look at them more now with all the nostalgia you might muster up when reading an old diary. These tattoos are just the dog-eared pages of my life as a girl suffocating my "girly."

It has only been in my twenties when I started buying and wearing dresses. And even more recently, did I have a realization that I actually would want a pretty wedding dress. For a year I sat next to a girl at work who was planning her wedding and dress shopping. She kept asking my opinion until suddenly I found myself researching wedding dress designers in Paris. When she asked me to come over to see her try some of the dresses on, she insisted I try some on as well. My god, nothing makes you feel more like a princess than putting on a big flowing wedding gown. It was at that moment I realized there was always a pair of heels in me screaming and kicking to get out. But, just as I had done as a kid, I quickly tucked those urges away as I listened to those toxic voices tell me "this wasn't me" or "that I'd look silly," that I wasn't "pretty enough" or "skinny enough" or "girly enough" to pull anything off.

I have since been paying close attention when those voices, the ones I didn't even know were there, rear their ugly heads. I've been fighting them back with the purchase of shiny flats, the recent decision to get bangs, and nurturing the desire to have pink nails. Little by little, eyelash by eyelash, mani/pedi by mani/pedi, I may just let that girly girl out.


7 comments:

Carmen said...

yay bangs!

Rose said...

Let that Girly Fly Baby! Remember the day at the park with your aunts kids? You wore a dress and I think you liked it. Love you, Aunt Rose

Sarah O'Holla said...

I'm like a four year old with nail polish too. But I love getting manicures! They're only $11 - I love going to the place Oasis right by work. It's less than 2 hours and they cut your cuticles too :)

Lindsey said...

$11?!? I'm on it! Thanks, Rose! C, you will see the bangs on Sunday!

daleboca said...

can you do my nails one day? that is better than i can do!

Lindsey said...

Any day, daleboca!

Carmen said...

i loved seeing the bangs and the nails! you looked great! miss seeing your face