Not a girl, not yet a woman

This summer I met a neighbor of mine while accompanying our children to our community pool. At one point we became entranced by an infant splashing in the water, and she mentioned that she was having baby pangs. "I'm too old to have a baby", she mentioned, "but you're young. You should absolutely have another."

Okay, first of all, this woman could not have possibly been younger than me. If I had to guess-timate her age, I'd say she was around the same as me - upper 30's, perhaps a couple of years older. On the way home, I started giving the subject of pregnancy more thought. Truthfully, and especially since my 36th birthday, I think of myself as too old for most things. Too old to wear vinyl leggings, too old to go to clubs, and certainly too old to have another baby. However, much of the time I feel like a kid playing house. I feel a lot younger than 36.  I toy around with the idea of coloring my hair pink. And my love affair with tattoos (I have ten) has only increased since getting my first one three years ago. I'm a married mom to three children and yet most of the time I feel about fourteen years old. I'm not a girl, but I sure as hell don't feel like a woman. What gives?

Perhaps my problem is that I rely on very specific, somewhat stereotypical ideas of girl and woman. Girls are innocent and fearless. They are encouraged to experiment and try new things, whether it's sports, clothing, or hair color. Girls go on road trips, where they take photos with Holga cameras and manage to look gorgeous without washing their hair for three days. Girls shop at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel and Forever 21. They are creative, free-spirited and fun.

Women, on the other hand, are hardened and self-serving. They take pilates and daydream about vaginal reconstruction and vacations in St. Barts. Women shop at places like Nordstroms and Ann Taylor. Tattoos, piercings, and wildly colored hair are frowned upon. They balance their checkbooks and pay the mortgage and cook a balanced meal for their family every night.

I think I encompass qualities of both girls and women. I have multiple tattoos. I adore Forever 21. I'm a bit naive and have an overly active imagination. I also have a mortgage and stretch marks. I feel old when I see clusters of teenagers emerge from some mall store like Abercrombie and Finch or American Eagle, giggling and texting. At 36, I definitely don't think hanging out at the mall is fun anymore, but I did catch myself a few months ago feeling really proud that I'd managed to go to the dentist. At some point in my life, I'll probably stop patting myself on the back for "adult" things like that, and then maybe I'll really be a woman.

I think this outfit embodies both girlish and womanly components. The twirly skirt and tied shirt  makes me feel young and light-hearted, but those heels are sturdy and serious. And those are definitely not the legs of a girl.

Thrifted Ann Taylor chambray shirt; vintage gray tee shirt (underneath); Forever 21 skirt; J Crew tights; Jessica Simpson booties; Forever 21 necklace; Frye clutch.


  1. I love that you look extremely happy in all of these pictures! I love that skirt, Ann Taylor is a genius.

  2. I loved this post! I think the whole idea of growing up is so interesting. And how we're all starting (maybe?) to understand that traditional adulthood isn't necessarily the adult that we want to be. I'm a little younger at 29 but I think the world pretty much sees me as an adult. I forget how old I am often and am pleased to announce that, along with tattoos, I finally dyed a pink streak in my hair after wishing for one for years. I think that your ideas of taking the best parts of being a woman and a girl and mashing them together into a lifestyle that works for you and your family is the best way to grow up and be happy! Thank you for your thoughts! Also can I just say this outfit is great! Flirty and fun, sophisticated and sassy!


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