One day, I walked through a shopping mall with someone much older who, hating it there and looking at me sideways, threw out "You used to be a mall girl, didn't you?"
The shopping malls I had known, with glass ceilings, part fake and part real potted trees, bright lights and hot air vents, was a strange con on my generation of teenagers. On the one hand, an industrially repetitive architecture
of cheap thrills created a feeling of familiarity in almost every city I went. The magazines I read went with the malls, too, kids all over the land were reading them, rushing to follow trends. Mostly, this involved sticky lip gloss and novelty nail varnish, platform shoes and acrylic sweaters.
This glassy place created and served the artificial need to reinvent myself through the medium of disposable clothing. I reinvented myself lots of times, believing I might find myself. But there was a glass ceiling, it was all skin deep, and teenagers go through momentous turmoil. These polyester and acrylic moments were
not built to last, they were built to wear off and become truly ugly.
I stopped the shopping mall weekends, the sneaky cigarettes by multicoloured indoor fountains, the snickers ice cream bars and Britney Spears tunes. It was surprisingly easy and I wore blue jeans and black old hand-me-down sweaters, old cords and men's shirts.
Some day, I was the right age for Vogue or Harpers Bazaar. There it was
again, that same call to self-reinvention. Updated and upgraded of course,
incorporating some of the old princess myths they tried to sell me already when I
was a little girl, a bit Barbie, and a bit grunge and britpop, too,
cause they figured...
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