Confession: I tell lies sometimes.
For example: I have, for the past six years, been telling people that I am forty. I am not. I haven’t been this whole time. But when I turned thirty-two, six years ago, (oooo! math!) I figured that when people heard thirty-two, they were just thinking forty anyway, so why not just skip all the cognitive dissonance between what is and what is believed – the true vibrating painfully against the what just as easily may have been true – and just tell the damn lie. So for the last six years in my head I have been forty, in my mouth I have been forty and in the minds of others I have been forty as well.
Now, my break from my life of lies has always been on my birthday. On my birthday I own up, tell the truth, lay it on the table. On birthdays we remove pretense, we remove guile, we are laid bare for all to see.
Here is the truth:
- I am thirty-eight today. It is a good age to be.
- I have three kids who make me crazy and keep me sane at the same time. They do this, I’m pretty sure with magical powers. I’m also pretty sure that’s not a lie.
- I have a husband who carries me on his back, while I simultaneously carry him on mine. This is also not a lie. We also have magical powers. Magical powers are an essential tool of the long-married. This is well-known. Ask anyone you like.
- I have, by my daughter’s count, eleven gray hairs on the top of my head. They are short and stick straight out from my scalp. I am convinced that, if I concentrate hard enough, I will be able to use them as supernatural antennae. I will catch messages from other planets. Or from fairies. Or from the dead.
- I can run long distances and carry heavy things and do a back bend without breaking something, though really I shouldn’t be doing any of those things. I have arthritis and I know what happens to arthritic joints. One day, they will have to replace my knee with something ….else. I secretly hope it will be robotic. I have Cylonic aspirations. (If Cylonic is not a real word, I suggest it should be. Let’s start a petition.)
- I have stretch marks on my belly from my pregnancies, so deep that I can hide crayons inside them.
- I have nineteen scars on my legs, four on my arms, one inside my belly button, and two on my forehead.
- My blue eyes are crinkled from excessive joy.
So there you go. Truthiness. Live it up.
Yesterday, I told people I was forty, and I will do so again tomorrow. But today, I celebrate the age I am. And while I loved being thirty-seven (prime! a singularity! a typographical dissonance – all curves and edges, all flesh and blade, all cushion and sting!) thirty-eight has a certain stability to it. It has feet firmly planted. It has strong arms, strong hips, a strong back. It is clear eyed and loud mouthed and laughs too long.
And I think I shall enjoy it very much.