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Brittany Gibbons

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What My 4-Year-Old Taught Me About Beauty

Posted: 04/22/2013 1:14 pm

Britanny Gibbons

My husband and I are the same age. Born a mere 23 days apart.

But, if you ask Jude, our math savant son, Andy is 32. I am 30. So, fine, I lied about my age to my 6-year-old son who could give all of zero f*cks about the number. But, I cared and got weird about it.

I'm that woman. Turning 30 was really hard for me. It's not even so much about getting old, though these eye bags can die in a fire, but rather, the irrational anxiety I have about mortality and time.

Mentally, I'm not aging gracefully. I'm aging like f*cking Bruce Vilanch waking up each morning to a new group of Facebook birthday reminders. In other words... super obnoxiously and probably with facial hair.

Husband: "So you're going to be, what... 31 this year then?"

Me: "No, I wanted to be 30 one more time."

Husband: "Yeah, that won't fly with Jude, he's too smart."

Me: "Honestly Andy, we have got to stop sending them to school, it's ruining everything."

I sighed and stared out the window, Gigi's head in my lap, as I played with her hair on the couch in the sun room. We've cut it three times and it's still down to her butt like the Renesmee Andy never had to eat out of me.

That's when he said it: "She's a tiny you."

And then it hit me.

She's beautiful and smart and funny and graceful and witty and brilliant, and for four years, I nodded my head in agreement with every Joe off the street who told me she is exactly like me... when I thought exactly none of those things about myself.

I was a terrible under-30-year-old, and here I've spent years holding onto and mourning a youth that, in actuality, largely sucked. It was 29 years of being horrible to myself, replacing moments that should have been wonderful with memories of starving myself to fit in my wedding dress, or sobbing in the car as we brought our baby home from the hospital because I still looked pregnant in my black faded maternity gauchos.

My friend Audrey told me once that you don't count as a person until you are 30. At the time, I thought she was just saying that to make me feel better and to slowly back away from the knife block, but she was right.

If I were to sit down and draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and make a list of everything I achieved in my 20s versus everything I've achieved in my 30s (which, by the way, I won't, because it's 2013 and I forgot how to use crude writing instruments), the 20's side would be comprised of untagged Facebook photos and the word fat all smeary from tears and donut cream, while the 30s side would boast things like writer, spokesmodel, advocate, travels show host, TED speaker, entrepreneur and, of course, more donut cream.

I wasn't brave enough to do any of those things before 30. Time to refocus, because I've clearly been doing it wrong this whole time.

I'm going to be 32... and I'm still figuring out parenthood. In fact, I fail more than I succeed, but I do it with such epic flair that you can't even tell I messed up, what with all the pyrotechnics and second place contestants from "America's Best Dance Crew" popping and locking about.

I'm going to be 32... and I have an amazing career that I've built myself. My in-laws may not know how to describe me to friends and it may not fit on the employer line of my kid's soccer emergency medical form, but that doesn't make it less legitimate.

I'm going to be 32... and I'm in love with my husband again. While technically I was never out of love with him, it seems like there were a few years in there where we were more like two eunuch roommates working the night shift together at a baby-making laboratory. But, I've found that marriage is a circular thing, and with time, and our kids becoming more independent, we eventually come back around to the kind of raw sexual attraction we had as newlyweds, give or take our energy level or a new season of "Downton Abbey."

I'm going to be 32... and I don't give a f*ck what you think about my body. Keep it to yourself, or don't, if that's what you need. If in your mind you need me to feel about myself the way you feel about yourself, because that makes it hurt less, so be it. But for the sake of my daughter, I'm over this woman on woman genocide. While men sometimes chime in with the always biting superficial generalities like "you're fat" or "you're ugly," it's girls and women who are better crafted for emotional terrorism. Slicing away at the achilles until our victims are left feeling completely devoid of value and unfit for love, friendship, or in extreme cases, air. And then something catastrophic occurs and we all sit around shaking our heads wondering, how did this happen? How did we get here? This is how. Knock it the f*ck off.

I'm going to be 32... and I'm OK with being more spiritual than religious. When asked, I always joke that I am Catholic by tuition, but the truth is, nothing fits right now. I'm content with that, and so is God. He totally told me.

I'm going to be 32... and I have fewer close friends than I did in college, and I couldn't be happier about that.

I'm going to be 32... and I'm way better in bed than I was at 22. I finally just accepted that sh*t is going to flap around and jiggle. Now, instead of worrying where my nipples are pointing or if you can see my vagina in the dark, I have the confidence to be a little bit selfish and a whole lot adventurous. So yeah, go ahead and stick your finger in there. Better yet, stick two.

I'm going to be 32... and I've never felt more beautiful.

I'm almost 32... and it took a 4-year-old to teach me that.

Gigi and Me
 

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