I wasn't in exactly the same place as the author was: I always considered myself a girl. But I didn't think I was very good at being a girl. And mostly, I didn't want to improve at it, either. I didn't want to be other people's idea of a girl. My poor mother, daughter of a garment industry family, really never did understand it. She'd take me shopping for clothes, and I'd go hide under one of the garment racks with a book.
The one period in my life that I tried hard to be gender conforming was when I was a new mother. I really didn't like it. No matter how hard I tried, I didn't seem to have much in common with the other mothers I met.
Most of the time when I feel like being girly, I do it by myself, for myself. This includes shopping for clothes and very rarely, cosmetics. Makeup, for me, feels like a lie. I don't think it's a lie on other people, mind you! But for me, it's a lie.
I do like jewelry, though. But it has to be smallish and folk-arty or simple and not get in my way. Earrings are good.