Life is funny, changes so much, does it's own thing. I'm good friends now with people who I used to watch in wide-eyed awe, certain I'd never be cool enough to be included in their crowd. I have discovered that they are largely hilarious dags, awesome people, and only deserve the same amount of hero-worship as all my other brilliant, beautiful, creative friends. Roles and dynamics have relaxed in older friendships that used to be strictly gender or age based (I play the preening princess rarely these days and the little girl not at all. I don't feel like an acolyte, or an apprentice, or in need of protection anymore. I'm equal, push back, fend for myself, offer what I can). Places that I used to go after hours of preening, filled with nervous tension and helpless unless armed with a sturdy posse of reliable friends: I walk into now in street clothes, head up, there for a good time and well aware that whether I'm the best dressed or the best dancer there has precisely zero relevance to anything. Which means I can play dress-ups now with so much more freedom, because it doesn't matter if this is the absolute best outfit I could possibly have come up with: it's fun, it entertains me, it's fine. Every time doesn't need to be the best time.
This is not an all-at-once thing, but a stocktake. I went out to Phoenix last night, site of five years worth of drug-fuelled, costumed, hard-partying personal growth. Spent the night hanging out with just a few friends and striking up conversations with interesting-looking strangers, and had a flash of how very fucking different a night like that would have been two, three or four years ago. And I'm glad.
I have concluded that the myth that growing up sucks is a total crock, sprouted by the same bullshit artists who pull that horribly depressing "Highschool is the best years of your life" scam. In much the same way as my life improves immeasurably the further I get away from my highschool experiences, I can say that growing up is really working out for me. It's not easy or simple or without complications, but fuck I'd rather be who I am now than who I was then.