Rewriting history

By , February 27, 2010 6:06 am

One of the things I’ve been thinking about, as I figure out a way to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past, is what moments I feel I ‘missed out’ on. There is a whole lifetime of experiences I feel like I’ve missed, but I’m hoping I can find a few specific moments to explore through performance. And, by doing so, and really exploring these moments to their height, I’m hoping to find some sense of resolution about having ‘missed out’ and be able to start looking forward.

Here’s the list I have so far. My rule for myself is I have to put down anything I feel like I missed out on by not growing up and being socialized as a girl, no matter how silly or inconsequential my adult mind thinks it is. I don’t think I’ll explore all of these things on stage, but I’d like to at least try and see where things go, and what feels the most raw (and thus the most important).

  • Playing with dolls
  • Playing dress-up
  • Having slumber parties
  • Having a Bat Mitzvah
  • Learning how to put on makeup (this is a big one, and one I just need to sit down and practice)
  • Horrible, awkward, clothing shopping with my mom
  • Going to awkward middle school dances in a pretty dress (or even in an ugly dress)
  • Going to prom in a pretty dress

How ’bout it, gang? What pivotal moments of girlhood or growing up female need to go on this list? As I said, my entire goal is to be as ridiculous and indulgent as possible. There are parts of me that feel like my regret is silly, that I should be happy about who I am now, not regret who I wasn’t. And, consciously, I think that’s true. I just can’t get myself to really believe it, in my core. But if I can flood myself with things I ‘missed,’ maybe I can realize I didn’t miss anything – that who I am today just fine.

7 Responses to “Rewriting history”

  1. Jonah says:

    I think it’s important to do whichever items feel like they are important things that contribute to adulthood. In your case, it sounds like makeup is one. If prom is another, then there’s some kind of queer “prom” the BYC puts together annually, I think.
    For me, thinking about a bar mitzvah was important, and I’ve thought about a formal sort of thing, and sort of scratched the need by doing part of a service a few times post transition, and it being special to me even though others didn’t know why. Particularly when I got called up for an aliyah (the one and only time in my life) under my male name with people who didn’t know me when I passed through Cleveland. That was really special to me even though nobody but me knew why.
    I think there are a lot of adult men and women who feel that they didn’t get to have some important part of boyhood or girlhood and that there exists a market to help those people, who tend more to be people who were raised in one culture and therefore didn’t have the cultural childhood they would like to have had to fit into their chosen culture.

  2. Jessica says:

    I avoided a lot of those, some by choice (I hated dolls unless they had significant electronic components), and some just out of apathy (I am 20 and still don’t know how to apply makeup, and I don’t really want to learn). Others I fully participated in, such as prom. Instead of doing what everyone else did for their dresses by going to department stores together, my mom took me to a little, local boutique that sold unique(? or at least not mass produced, the store only had one of each) dresses. Since we went WAY off-season, I was able to get these really nice dresses for cheaper than the dept. store ones. What do you think you, personally, would have done as a girl? Focus less on the things on the list that you don’t think you would have done, and find things that would never be on any general list but you definitely would have done (example: is there some tradition that your family did with all their girls?).

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jessica. I think you raise a really interesting question on my perspective: can I think about not what “girls” do but what I would have done? I’ve been thinking about things in such a stereotypical way, it hadn’t occurred to me to turn the question around and (for example) ask my mom what she thinks I missed and would like to share with me.

  3. M says:

    I think we should have a slumber party sometime that I’m back in Chicago. We should do it at your mom’s or T’s house. The latter is where the bulk of my slumber party experiences come from (other than SH’s house).

    I feel like its a totally girl thing to dye/cut your hair in some drastic way post break up. This is something you have plenty of time to do as girls do it always not just as young adults.

    You could read Babysitter’s Club books. Those were a definite past time.

    Oh and you can still go to Nordstrom’s during prom season and try on dresses which is what we did for years before we were actually old enough to go to prom. I bet A would totally go with!

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes to a slumber party! :) (And you know my mom would love having a bunch of people there for a sleepover.)

      And I’ve been thinking about doing something dramatic with my hair. You know it pretty well; what exciting things should I do?

  4. beo_shaffer says:

    Hope you don’t mind me commenting on an old post.
    The sleep over one is a huge deal in my book. Another one the could be considered big is no Bat Mitzvah. Two more big ones, that addmitaley you might not regert are no first period and not haveing “the Talk” as a girl.

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