‘zine queen

My younger self would be appalled to learn the truth.

That I, at the ripe age of 29, have completely failed to keep up with my magazines.

I grew up reading magazines. Reading them. Page to page, advertisements, little text boxes, every page of the articles. I devoured them.

I remember starting off with Redbook. Then Vanity Fair. Elle. Vogue. Good Housekeeping. People. T Magazine. W. National Geograpic. Forbes. The New Yorker.

I read my parents’ magazines when they were done skimming them. My brother had a subscription to National Geographic kids, and then Dad had National Geographic.

But once I started reading Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmo, W….I was hooked on the advertisements. I kept my magazines. At one point, I had a bookshelf full of every Vogue and Elle for 10 years.

Then I realized I needed to pare down. “Who keeps old magazines?” I thought.

So I sat down one week with a trash can, scissors, and my stacks of magazines.

And I went through them, one by one, page by page. It was during a phase of my teenagehood where I was slightly hyper-focused on random things, so I got through it surprisingly quickly.  I cut out every advertisement, outfit, and headline phrases that appealed to me.

Then I kept going. Every magazine I got my hands on, I clipped for some unknown compulsion to store these beautiful images and ideas. I even clipped things from the Delia’s catalogue…

So eventually, when you cut things out, you wind up needing to put them somewhere. I organized my little treasures into collections and categories. The full page ads went in one shoebox, the words in another, then celebrities sorted by blonde, brunette, and other.  The non-person items were sorted into their own bo.

I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with them, for a long time. Then finally I went through and started using them for collages on random things, like the side of my little computer desk in my room. Or bedazzling my trash can with images of jewels – “One man’s trash is another’s treasure”, I chuckled wittily.

Then, last year…I cleared out my office/storage room for my baby child. All those boxes of images and words have moved with me from house to house, year after year. I occasionally add new things, but not half as much as I used to.

And I couldn’t do it. Could not part with them. So I have the boxes stacked in the closet, the binders full of images in the guest room bookshelf. And I still find myself dog-earing pages of magazines occasionally, or tearing out sheets that I will probably just wind up tossing away.

“I can do something with these,” I think occasionally. The Guess campaigns, the Etro spreads, the Ralph Lauren photo spreads. Or maybe I can use the headlines and phrases for inspiration to write novels or blogs.

Or maybe, some day, my daughter will rummage through the boxes and use them for her own sheer joy. Maybe I can sacrifice them for art projects and crafts. Maybe.

I think, perhaps, they represent some lost dreams and hopes, the ability to waste hours and days on these beautiful images and imagining the lifestyles I could live in them myself.

But for now, I’m content to hide my little treasures away in the closet…


There’s a strange juxtaposition of admiring and mourning the old, whilst preparing for and anticipating the new.

I have foolish notions sometimes. The thought of “Oh dear, we never made it to Napa.” The realization that three-day weekends in Germany won’t be as possible. “As” possible – because really, we may still do them…but we should adjust our expectations to the understanding that parents just don’t do that.

I sometimes think we, our group of friends, are too old for all this. All this typically being the nights when we take shots and drink far too much and stay out far too late, and pay for it in a day of misery the following morning. We are all in our late 20s, early 30s. Surely, the occurrence of booze-fueled vomiting, mysterious wounds, and sleeping a day away for recovery is increasingly less frequent. Surely, the likelihood of anyone getting a DUI is nonexistent. We are not foolish college kids, reckless high school students. We’ve been in the real world, holding real jobs, and are all established adults by now. But, alas, that’s not the truth.

Then on the other side, we expect to seamlessly transition from our free-spirited unburdened selves into responsible, mature parents. How does that happen? I’ve stopped researching trips to Napa and vineyard trails, and started researching breastfeeding and cloth diapering. Gone are the slightly hungover workdays, replaced instead by pre-natal vitamins and 120 ounces of water. I still fret my unhealthy diet, no longer for fear of getting fat, but instead for fear of insufficiently supporting my growing progeny.

I sit here, in the quiet of an early morning in my childhood home, balancing the two opposing mindsets. The person who still wishes to deny adulthood’s approach, and the person who is eagerly awaiting the changes adulthood shall bring. Shall the twain ever meet? They must, in May.