I have never liked shopping. Years of being hauled through row after row of pink fluffy torture/girl things made me infinitely defensive. Even once I was old enough to control where and how I shopped I did not enjoy it. I surveyed a store for possibilities, went in, checked sizes, made a choice and got out. It was efficient. I was even weirdly proud of it. Hullo unexamined internalized misogyny.
As I got older, came to realize my gender identity, and come out as the transgender person I was and am, I came to understand my shopping discomfort a bit better. Shopping still isn’t really fun for me most of the time. Clothes either don’t fit me right or are way out of my price range (boutique queer clothing companies I am looking right at you). It can be really exhausting and depressing.
So that is where I was in my relationship with shopping when my daughter came into the world. When I was young and imagined having daughters, I imagined being the perfect tomboy’s mom, the mom I would have wanted. Of course things never turn out the way we expect them to. My daughter started choosing the bright and beautiful things as soon as I thought to offer her a choice. She fully embraces and loves everything about her girlhood…and she is no doubt a girl. She tells us that as well. Z is in fact every aspect of girlhood that intimidated me as a child. She is everything that I was sure I would never be able to successfully parent, and she makes it an absolute joy.
She is also, like myself, autistic, adverse to change that she hasn’t initiated herself, and has very specific sensory preferences and needs. So seasonal clothing and shoe style changes have sometimes been stressful for her and I. It can take time to get accustomed to shoes or clothes that touch our bodies in different ways. As such we have been going on sandal test runs the last few weeks, trying all the different types of shoes and walking away if it gets uncomfortable or overwhelming for her.
It was under these conditions that I found myself sitting on the floor of a shop, surrounded by a pile of ultra femme sandals, two toddlers, my nesting partner, and enjoying myself immensely. She so earnestly loves shopping for frilly, fluffy, pink, and pretty things. It is impossible not to share in her joy as she hunts down unicorns, rhinestone rainbows, pink superheroes, and cute skirts. This week we had success too. She found a pair of shoes that were both glamorous and felt good on her feet. They have silver butterflies. She is stomping around the livingroom in them right now, singing about lunch.
So at almost forty years old I have learned to appreciate shopping, fashion, extremely girly things, and even the color pink. I am extremely late to the party, my sincere apologies for all the times I thought all those things were insufferable. I have learned better now happily. I have the best, most fabulous teacher. She says she is a princess queen, and I for one believe her.