When you're young, you see adults from a low angle shot. From our low vantage point they looked amazing. So big and tall. People, real people.
When we were young girls we could not wait to be grown up women. Grown up women who could wear make-up and bras. Who could sit at their dressing table and dab perfume behind their ears and run a manicured hand across their collection of jewels deciding which to wear today.
Being a Grown up Lady meant pantyhose. It meant gathering your stockings into a doughnut shape before gingerly pulling them up your freshly shaved lady leg.
Shaving! To us hairless little girls it seemed like a joy. The shaving cream, the pastel coloured razors. Oh, gee! I can't wait! We swooned as we watched our mothers.
Being a grown up lady meant having periods. Which meant having cute little pads wrapped in tissue to slip into our handbags or small tampon boxes with cute designs on them. It meant having a time each month where we lounged around because we had our period. Oh to have periods! We could not wait!
We longed to wear bras. Satin bras, lace bras, bras in all colours. Bras to clasp at our backs and show off our boobs. Oh to have boobs! We remember longing for boobs. Laying in bed at night thinking. When I have boobs I am going to squish them all the time! Just sit around and squish my own boobs. Then squish them into bras. Beautiful bras.
Being a Grown up Lady meant driving. And driving meant having keys. Jangling car keys that you could carry around outside of your hand bag and flounce around to show off the fact that you are a Grown up Lady.
As a child. Being a grown up lady meant drinking wine. Wine in fancy cups, whilst wearing lipstick and laughing with friends.
Grown up ladies went to the gym. They loved it. They went to the Gym every morning and they leisurely worked out. They went willingly and they came back glowing, head to toe in fluro spandex. We could not wait to be Grown up Ladies and join the gym.
Grown up Ladies cooked dinner and bathed children. They did so with a joy in their heart. They loved cooking. They even seemed to love putting their kids to bed even when they fussed and stomped and had tantrums. They made being Grown up Ladies look great.
We never understood though, why Grown up Ladies were so restrained. Why didn't they jump on the bed? Why didn't they eat candy for dinner and ice cream for breakfast? When we are grown up ladies, we will do it right, we thought.
But the reality of being a Grown up Lady is not what we were led to believe it would be. It happened so gradually that the perks of the role were lost on us. Make-up? Sure. A little is okay. But who can really be bothered putting on a full face of the stuff everyday? What seemed like a joy, a privilege even, suddenly became a chore, a burden. Instead of Yay we can finally wear make-up and be a Grown up Lady! The conversation became, Why should I have to wear make up just because society tells me to?
As real Grown up Ladies we saw the pointlessness in shaving your legs to slip them into pantyhose. Shaving in general became a bit of a chore. Already? I shaved yesterday and I need do it again?!
As soon as we cut our legs the first time the novelty wore off. And as soon as we realised just how expensive shaving cartridges are we were less likely to use them as often.
We failed to see the scowl on other mothers' faces as they covered their legs in shaving cream and raked the razor across their skin. We failed to notice that they were only shaving to just above the knee, where their dress for the evening out would stop. We saw what we wanted to.
We didn't realise that the boobs our mother had, the boobs we were so in awe of, were not held in a such high regard to themselves. When we got boobs of our own we learnt how easy it is for boobs to be either to big, too small, too saggy too pointy, even if only in the eye of the beholder. And bras. The bras we longed to wear. If only we'd known how hard it would be to find one that could, look nice, hold 'em up, prevent jiggling and be comfortable.
And don't even get us started on periods.
As soon as we were able to drink wine we did. But we didn't do it like the Grown Up Ladies we were. Oh no. We drank too much. We drank from goon sacks of wine. We did not do it how we had seen it done as children. And mostly we soon learnt it's best if we don't in fact drink wine at all.
We learnt that cooking dinner every night is actually pretty shit, putting kids to bed at night is always a struggle and that while exercise is a necessary evil, going to the gym is never as appealing as it seemed to be.
There are some things that are still just as good as they seemed when we were little;
While putting on make-up is a controversial choice now days and can feel a tad oppressive, it's still fun. It's still awesome to slather on some hot pink lipstick and pout into the mirror. And it's still fun to put on nail polish and dress up pretty to go out somewhere fancy. Driving is just as fun as it always looked. The freedom it offers is far greater than we could even have imagined. And jangling your keys does feel pretty cool. Having the choice to stay up as late as you want, even though you know you will probably regret it if you do, is still a choice. And having the choice is what matters. Want to binge watch Netflix? Well you freaking can!
One of the best things about being a Grown up Lady is having children to snuggle. It may not have been as alluring as the glamour, but snuggling your children in bed in the morning has got to be one of the coolest grown up lady feelings there is. But do you know would be really fun? Being a little kid. That looks fucking fun.
xox The Madisons