BUSY IN BRISTOW: Weird’s Good Too

| October 12, 2014 | 0 Comments | Busy in Bristow

Some years, I’m scrambling to put together the kids’ Halloween costumes, but this year? I’m on it. Oldest Daughter was easy: she – like a million other girls her age – wants to be Elsa, so we bought her a long blue gown and a snowflake cape back in August when it was hard to imagine such icy conditions.  

Youngest Daughter told me she wanted to be Snow White. What? A princess back from my day? I was elated. In September, we found ourselves in Costco pushing a cart full of bounty when we stumbled into the costume section. I easily found a Snow White costume in her size, but when I took it off the rack to show her how pretty it was I noticed she was three racks away in a morass of dresses that were purple, red, and black. She pulled out a wine colored taffeta dress with scalloped edging, a black lace cape, horns and a scepter. “I want this one!”

“But I found you this,” and I showed her the blue, yellow softness of Snow White’s frock.

“I don’t want that anymore. I want this one!” I read the label. EVIL QUEEN.

Oh well. If you can’t pretend and let out your darker side at Halloween, when can you?

It’s true: I don’t want my daughter to dress up as Evil Queen, and I don’t want her to like the color black as the predominant color in her wardrobe, and I regularly go through the hand-me-downs we receive and filter out anything “unsuitable” for little girls including but not limited to shorts with the word, “Juicy” spelled out on their behinds, off-shoulder blouses, and my latest rejects … black lacy goth looking outfits.

But, hey, wait a minute. Look in my closet … I have more black tops than any other color, and I recently wondered how a woman in her 40’s might pull off the pierced, tattoo look without getting either piercings or tattoos.

I came into my identity late in life. As a teenager, I knew I was different. I wanted to fit in (see previous article for theme), but it was the 80’s, and there were really only three groups at my small, rural school: the Preps, the Metalheads, and the Nerds. While I fit into the last category simply by virtue of being a dedicated member of the marching band (before it was cool), I attempted to be preppy and had classes with all of the smart, preppy kids so I blended in well enough to avoid a full out beating most days.

In my sophomore year, I met Nancy … a Bohemian who listened to Simon and Garfunkel when she wasn’t listening to Led Zeppelin. I fell in love with her style and artistic tastes. I could never quite pull it off though. In college, I had a little more luck finding a style that fit my personality: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and the rest of the Seattle bands had made it cool to wear boot cut jeans and work boots with flannel, and although the grunge look wasn’t quite me either, it was at least better than the stiff collared shirts I’d tried from Izod and the opposite look I’d tried and hastily given up: Birkenstocks.

As a Creative Writing teacher in high school, I found myself two decades late: if I were a teenager now, I’d dye my hair (or part of it) pink and pierce my nose. I’d wear a lot of black and be unfairly labeled Emo.

Youngest Daughter is artistic like I am. She’s attracted to colors, styles, and pictures that aren’t what I’d choose for a 7-year-old. For example, she loves Monster High (which she watched at a friend’s house), and I hate Monster High. I want my little girls to be light hearted and like My Little Pony (or Animorphs – it doesn’t have to be girly – I’m not very girly myself, after all – but I do want it to be wholesome and innocent and not have fangs.)

For her birthday last month when I was trolling the aisles of Wal-Mart, I found a boxed doll set of interchangeable body parts. The plastic heads all had brightly colored hair (fushcia, electric blue, purple), and some of their faces were painted … like jesters in a king’s court. Their outfits were Lady Gaga-esue, and although a part of me was yelling inside, “What is this? It’s ugly! It’s weird! I wouldn’t want my kid playing with this!” Then, I bought it because I knew she’d love it.

I wish my parents had let me experiment with being weird when I was little and surrounded by the security of those elementary school years. I probably would’ve still grown up to be most “at home” in black flouncy shirts and long sweaters, but it wouldn’t have taken me years to be at home in my own body and mind. I’m realizing now: this is one of the gifts I want to give my kids.



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