Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No offense 21

As I was leaning over the sticky Fedex/Kinko's counter trying to explain the color wheel to an over-paid clerk, I overheard the Red Baron introducing herself to a fellow patron behind me:

"Hi, my name is The Red Baron (for the record, she doesn't call herself that) and I am 4 years old. This is my little brother, The Little Man (also this name is a blogging alias and not his real name - aren't I tricky?) and he's two and a half. That's my mom over there, her name is Pieface but I call her Mama. She's 21."

21!!!! How funny is that?

The woman, quietly but audibly gasped and then said really slowly, "WOW. Really? Well isn't that something."

I let the awkwardness hang a little (because it's kinda fun) and then leaned over and asked my fellow Fedex patron, "Did she just say I was 21?"

The woman, bless her poor little heart, replied, "Yes, and you know - it's great to get all this baby stuff out of the way like that."

"That's so funny, because I'm not really 21."

In the nicest tone possible she replied, "Oh. Well. You sure look like it."

I know she meant to compliment me, but oddly this compliment left a sickly sweet after taste like day old cotton candy. I actually like being my age. No offense to 21, you and I had some great times, but I'm on the 31 train now and it's got a slurpee machine and everything. I really think it's mostly because of how I feel physically and how good I feel about myself right now. I'm even thinking of renaming this blog "Pieface is Awesome for the Following Reasons." (KIDDING - sort of).

As I've gotten older, I have come to appreciate my physique for what it is and not pine so much for what it's not ever going to be. My body is eons from perfect, but the fact that I have come to accept certain things about myself feels like an accomplishment and being tagged as younge devalued that accomplishment somehow.

In the past 31 years I have learned and accepted things like:

Words like "small," "petite," or "delicate" will never be used to describe me. And that's ok.
Words like "solid," "carnivore," "stout," and (thanks to my Canadian and Norwegian ancestors) "most likely to survive an arctic winter" are words that would more likely describe me. And that's ok.
I have no memory of ever being a size 6. And that's ok.
My feet were size 9 in grade 4 and I could share shoes with my mom. And that's ok.
I have finger toes, not because I can play the piano with my feet (I'm not THAT awesome), but because my thumbs and my big toes are the same length. And that's ok.
I am blond, but not in Marilyn or Gwyneth kind of way. And that's ok.
The DMV decided that my eyes are hazel. And that's ok.
My face is shaped like a pie. And I love pie, so it's ok.
One time a dentist described my mouth as small, but then we had only just met. And that's ok.
The orthodontist told my mother that I would never be a model if she didn't pay for an expensive elective surgery to correct my overbite (right in front of my 14 year-old self). My mother's eye's grew so wide you could see the small little red veins in the corners and responded in a loud voice "Let's hope to God that she amounts to more than just a model!" Which was MORE than ok (isn't my mom rad?).

Nothing really earth shattering but I still feel proud of myself. I'm just so happy to be in a time and place in my life where physically I can just say "Here I am. I like me." Not to say that I don't compare myself to others (I am female after all) but I'm finding that more and more often I admire better things about people. I'm drawn to their wit, or humor, their intelligence or perseverance, their skill or their energy - things that last beyond time and spanks. This has come with getting older and (I think) seeing people more for who they are.

So I told the lady:
"That's very sweet, but really - I prefer 31 over 21 any day of the week."

Her palpable relief that I was indeed in my 30 was hilarious and she said, "Oh yes, your 30s are the best - enjoy every minute of them. And 40 is even better."

Got it sister. Sounds great.