As for the shoes, I managed this in a few different ways. The first, of course, was to step into those plastic, pinchy, Disney-princess adorned dress-up kit numbers that slammed the sound of shellack into the floor. God, those things hurt, but as a life-long ballet dancer who went on toe shoes years before she should have, aching, bleeding feet couldn't phase me one bit. To that end, I would sometimes wear my toe shoes around the house under the guise of rehearsing. The firm blocks in the toes created a sound with each step that was satisfactory for my needs. The last way, which I will admit to being embarrassed to write right now, was to sync up my steps with my mother's or aunt's or grandmother's so that each click of their shoes mirrored my soundless steps.
Now that I have my own handbags and heels, these last few years have involved a lot of my planning for the future. Getting excited over graduating college, getting into the real world, working a real job, living in my own place. Whenever anyone trapped me in a conversation about any of the above, I always heard - and perhaps I'm in the wrong tense, as this "advice" hasn't actually stopped coming - that I shouldn't want to grow up so fast and that I should enjoy being young. Truly, the day before my final college class, someone's heartfelt advice to me was this: don't graduate.
Well, okay then. Nevermind the fact that there was nothing I could do about the fact that whether or not I wanted it to be true, I was done with college. But here's my bigger issue:
I appreciate that you're concerned that I'm not savoring my youth or that I'm living for the future so much that the good times may pass me by. But let me assure you, neither is true. I appreciate every day I'm given and make the most of my ability to do things at 22 or 23 that I won't be able to do in a few years - at least, not as easily or without judgement or severe consequences. But that doesn't change the fact that I do and always have looked forward to things that come with full adulthood. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I've never lived alone or even out from under my parents' roof, so I can't wait to finally be able to. Yes, yes, I know paying rent sucks and living at home is free and blah blah blah. Doesn't change anything. It also doesn't change the fact that the perks of adulthood (for me, at least) are the only things missing - my own place, a job I enjoy going to (and get paid enough from to afford that place), the freedom to pick whatever damn colors I want for my shower curtain and kitchen dishes. I have all the bores of adulthood - working, deadlines, paying all my bills, being fully responsible for my own actions. Its demanded that I act like an adult and pay my car insurance bills and not eat Funions for dinner. So I can't very well act like I'm a kid, can I? I know better than I did at 16, and I like that. I like having a life of responsibility. I just want to have all the pieces of it. If you were to take away my bills and all the bores of adulthood I have to comply with, then sure, maybe I won't be in a hurry to grow up. But until you can do that, don't tell me not to be in a hurry to live my own life the way I'm only half-assedly able to do now. I want the whole package.
Now, at 23, I have all the high-heeled, click-clacky shoes and handbags I want. Well, okay, not all. A girl's hunger for those items can never be fully satisfied, and I'll admit that no matter how big my collections, I'll always see another stiletto or bowler bag I feel like I can't go on breathing without. But the point is, I've always been ready to be a grown up. I've always been ready for the heels and purses, and I've always been ready for my own home with a soft blue and white bathroom and light-colored couch with warm red and orange accent pieces and a new place for my favorite antique secretary's desk.
So please, stop trying to tell me I don't want to grow up. In fact, don't tell that to anyone who's out of college and living at home who says they can't wait for these things. (I'll grant you this: a 16-year-old wearing more makeup than a drag queen and pretending she knows a thing about last call hook-ups [yeah, I've seen and heard girls like this and wanted to cry] needs to hear how she's better off enjoying the fact that she doesn't need eye cream or control-top panty hose - spout your "advice" off to her all you want.) Maybe it sucks for you and you wish you could trade places with me, to be back living rent-free in your parents' spare room with all the free heat and hot water you can consume. Maybe, you shouldn't advise me not to want to grow up, but rather advise yourself to not take the blessings and freedoms of adulthood that you do have for granted? Either way, trust me, I know what I'm saying. I'm not idealizing the future. I know the challenges I'll face, and I'll be prepared when I face them. Rest assured, I've got the perfect favorite handbag and black peep-toe pumps (sky-high, of course) to get me through adulthood just fine.