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14 Going on 40… Or Is It the Other Way?

Yes, I’ve gone on about this before in a cutesy little list and all, but you have to bear with me, as in some regards, I’m still really a teenager. Don’t worry, still got my driver’s license, any propensity to scream about things unreasonably was never really there to begin with, and the chances of my music disturbing the neighborhood is nil, unless someone is hypersensitive to Simon and Garfunkel gently wafting from my tiny speakers. I am, however, going through puberty again and I think it shows. I’m just waiting for the acne to show up again, which would royally suck.

The average woman my age has been there, done that, is considering going for the easily maintainable lunch lady haircut, and has secret, or not so secret worries about becoming a pre-mature grandma. Yeah, I’m not quite there yet. Not even close. The reality of middle age transition is that you remember very vividly all the stuff you sat on the sidelines for and never got to do, or were even willing to admit to yourself that you wanted to do. Once we start living as ourselves and mentally free, all those old desires come roaring back. Frankly, it’s downright ridiculous, or even ludicrous, but oh, it’s there. Jenny Boylan even admitted to this, and if an esteemed Colby professor can cop to it, the rest of us sure as hell can.

I realized all this about a year ago when watching TV. I’m slow with the Tivo remote. Real slow. In fact, if my spouse isn’t there to fast forward, I’ll often do the unthinkable and sit there slack jawed and watch commercials. I saw one for Sparkle Sketchers and immediately I wanted them. I mean, shit, who wouldn’t? They were the bomb! All pink and sparkly; I mean seriously, how great is that? Reality sunk in when my 4 year old urged me to fast forward. I was watching Dora the Explorer with him and it suddenly dawned on me who the target audience really was. Crap. I bet they didn’t even make them in my size. How unfair is that?

I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but no. Not even close. In the lifetime leading up to full time transition I managed to accumulate way too much stuff that is in no way age appropriate. I have enough makeup with glitter embedded into it to supply the Bunny Ranch for a solid year. I have clothing that qualifies me as the wardrobe specialist for Rachel on ‘Glee’, not to mention a permanent bookmark on my computer for the sale page at Forever 21. I came close, real close, to filling out the subscription card in an issue of 17 Magazine I was reading at the doctor’s office. Thankfully I was called in before the temptation overwhelmed me. And yes, I’m horribly embarrassed by all of this.

At the same time, it all stands to reason. I was jealous when my sister got to take dance and synchronized swimming. Sure, my parents would have let me if I asked, but I was also under the impression I was doing life without parole in guy land and wasn’t super excited to mark myself the equivalent of a snitch so early on. Instead I quietly read in my rabbit cage and lived inside my own head where such things were possible. When people like to say “the heart wants what the heart wants”, they never think to add on “and the heart still wants 30 years later, dammit”, mainly because it just sounds stupid. It’s true though and yes, I do still want to take ballet.

The bummer in all this is that I can’t go walking around in Sparkle Sketchers without looking like a jackass. If I were to stroll into a beginners ballet class in a tutu, you can bet money that enrollment would plummet like a rock. Being asked to prom and slumber parties are right out. On top of it, my only child is a boy, so my chances of vicarious wish fulfillment by making him live out my dreams are just shot. It’s OK, I would have made the worst pageant mom anyway. “Oh for cripes sake, think up a talent on the drive over there, it’s all a load of malarkey if you ask me. You pick your nose well, how about that?”

The good news is that I’m pretty much over that phase. My wardrobe and makeup are all geared for work, or geared towards running into people from work when I’m not there. I’m probably not going to crash cheerleader tryouts at Amherst High, or have the mailman look at me any weirder than he already does on account of my subscription profile. When Halloween comes, I’ll bypass all the costumes geared toward tweens that infuriate protective fathers and are considered too risque for the dancers at Rick’s Tally-Ho. Inside I doubt I’ll ever feel old, and part of me will always want Sparkle Sketchers, but I’m good being 40, and more than happy just being myself.

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