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life, serious thoughts

How hiding my age became my identity

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Just a little warning…this post is different from the types of posts I write, but I’m planning to write more serious-type posts in the future. 

For several years, I have been obsessed with one thing. Every time I put on makeup, it consumes my thoughts. Every time I put together an outfit. The way I talk. The way I communicate through emails. I’ve gone through hair transformations, faced a fear, and pushed boundaries. And I have deceived people by twisting my words around to make them believe what I want them to believe.

Because for years, I’ve been consumed in this: looking, acting, and leading people to believe that I’m older than I am.

This obsession has nearly become an idol, and definitely has become my identity.

I’m not sure how it started, honestly. I know I started thinking this way when I was twelve. See, I started a business at that age, and the next year I entered high school, and around that time, there was a guy I liked who was older than I am. All those things combined made me push to look and act older.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being mature, polished, and professional at a young age. I applaud you if you are young and yet all of those things. I think it’s wrong if that becomes your identity and idol.

As I’ve grown older, it’s oddly gotten worse. When I was fourteen, I wanted to look sixteen. That was the golden age for me.

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Well, I reached sixteen, and around then, there wasn’t a golden age anymore. I just wanted to look older, older than I was, by at least two years but preferably more.  Around fifteen/sixteen, I started my photography business and really entered the professional world. I deceived myself into thinking that if people thought I was older, they’d take me more seriously. Well, that’s partly true, but I’ve found people are actually more impressed once they find out how young I am.

Honestly, it’s a shame. I regret that this has obsessed me for all the years I’ve been a teenager. I haven’t really been able to enjoy being young because of this. In the past year, I’ve slowly changed a little. I’ve stopped wearing makeup every day, wore my hair in braids all summer long, fell in love with Chacos and farm tee shirts, and had a water balloon fight for the first time. There were a lot of things that happened this year that grew my faith and that God used to mature me, and at the same time, I started to walk away from trying so hard to make people think I was older.

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I think the wake-up call was when I was rehearsing with the concert pianist for the concert I’d been hired to sing at, and he asked me if I was in high school.

If I ever got mad, I’d punch the wall, but I was definitely exasperated. Seriously? My hair was perfectly curled-but-messy, my makeup wasn’t caked on, and I was wearing sheer patterned tights with a black pencil skirt and button-up. I was even talking the way that I wanted to talk – low, smooth, not rushed.

I realized that whatever I do, some people will think I’m older, and some people who see me for the age I am. I can twist my words around to make me sound like I graduated years ago. I can do all I can to make people think I’m older.

But in the end, it’s all a lie.

So today I’m doing something I never thought I’d do.

I’m smashing my idol.

My identity the past few years has been in being older. It’s a strange identity – it’s not beauty or a career or success or anything like that. It’s the strangest identity I’ve ever heard of, but it’s been my identity all the same. That shouldn’t be. My identity – is Christ. Who I am because of my Savior – not who I am for how old I am to others.

I’ve hidden behind hiding my age. I’m insecure when people know the truth. I want to be looked up to – not only by those younger than I, but those my own age. I don’t want to be young.

It’s time to admit it, smash the idol, and move on.

So? So I’m seventeen. I only just graduated this past spring. I don’t even have a drivers’ license.

I’m not hiding it anymore.

Did you hear that crash?

*sweeps up pieces of idol*

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25 Comments

  • Reply Hannah

    Aww, this was such a heartfelt post. I also have a slight problem with this, I feel like I’m not actually old enough to make a difference, or do anything meaningful, so I try to act older, and like you said, twist my words to make everything seem like I’m older. It’s nice to know someone else had something similar.

    December 23, 2018 at 12:44 pm
    • Reply Aria

      ❤❤ Thanks, Hannah. :) Yeah, it was the exact same for me, only it just got worse. I think you’re way ahead of most thirteen-year-olds, Hannah, and not only are you doing many meaningful things right now, but you also have so much potential in front of you. Savor your teenage years, girl, because I didn’t, and I regret that. ❤

      December 23, 2018 at 4:16 pm
      • Reply Hannah

        Aww, thank you so much Aria – you are quite the inspiration! :)

        December 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Hannah E.S

    Realizing the personal problems we have can be difficult. But changing the things that need to be changed can be even harder. But at the same time, it can release the heavy weights that carried us down, down below.
    I applaud you for standing up, and realizing the truth about yourself. And trying to make a difference. <3 We all have our own stories, problems, knowledge, that we can share to those who care to hear.

    December 23, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    • Reply Aria

      That’s so true, Hannah! Thanks, dear. ❤

      December 23, 2018 at 4:16 pm
  • Reply Allison

    WOW, Aria. I LOVED THIS POST. It’s one of my favorites you’ve ever done because I could feel how real it was. I love real. I don’t really know what else to say, but… *hugs you* Enjoy being seventeen, my friend. I think you’re wonderful just the age you are. :)

    December 23, 2018 at 2:51 pm
    • Reply Aria

      I AM GLAD. Thank you, dear. :)

      December 23, 2018 at 4:17 pm
  • Reply Callie

    WOW…this was a beautiful and so-good-to-bear post. I too have tricked myself into believing that things will be better (aka “smoother”) if I’m older, prettier, more mature sounding and looking etc. But you know what? You are so right. All those things are idols. They do not glorify God in a single aspect. In fact, they’ve ruined all the sweet fellowship times I could’ve been having with God. I missed out on growth, witnessing opportunities, friendship opportunities… And so much more.
    I’m smashing my idols with you now.
    Thank you, again, for such an honest and heartfelt post. Wish I could tell the whole world what I’ve learned the hard way!!!

    December 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm
    • Reply Aria

      Awww, thank you, Callie! I’m glad it could speak to you!

      December 24, 2018 at 4:11 pm
  • Reply Annie

    It is so true that our identity is in God. May He bless you through these last few years as a teenager! I think that even through the hardest lessons, God will teach all of us something! Thank you for writing this post! It is so true! 😊 I totally thought you were 19 by the way! I’m 16 and I don’t drive either…in fact, I’m scared to drive, lol! 😊😂 Anyway, great post!

    December 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm
    • Reply Aria

      Thank you, dear! Yeah, I know. Ha ha, well, I’m not scared to drive, but my parents and I decided to wait to get my license. :)

      December 24, 2018 at 4:12 pm
  • Reply Emma Figura

    Oh Aria, I could just feel the thought and emotion you put into this post! Thank you for sharing this raw side of you. I have always struggled with identity— and always felt like I don’t measure up in some way or another. It’s tough for me to see myself as God sees me: His child redeemed by his Son. *hugs*

    December 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm
    • Reply Aria

      I think identity is something most struggle with. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Emma, and thanks for commenting!

      December 24, 2018 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply Merie Shen

    This was a beautiful post… I really loved the way you conveyed your idol, how you defeated it in the end. I’m looking forward to more posts like this. :)

    December 23, 2018 at 11:09 pm
    • Reply Aria

      Thank you, dear! :)

      December 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply Amie

    Amazing post, Aria! I enjoyed it. 😀

    December 24, 2018 at 10:32 am
    • Reply Aria

      Thanks, Amie!

      December 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply Liz - Home with the Hummingbirds

    This was a beautiful post, Aria! I really enjoyed reading it. :)

    December 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • Reply Aria

      Thanks, Liz!

      December 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply penelope!!

    such a beautiful post, i love it when others share personal stories of their weaknesses, its an encouragement in my book.
    yes, your identity is in Christ!!! and also, i was shocked that you had never had a water balloon fight!!! aria, when you are older, you are going to regret not slowing down and living life as a teenager! i applaud you though, for realizing your idol and slowly working on it:) be a teen!!! have fun!!

    December 26, 2018 at 10:15 pm
    • Reply Aria

      Thank you, dear! Ha ha, yeah…don’t worry, I already do. Thank you. :)

      December 27, 2018 at 9:25 pm
  • Reply Jo

    I loved this post! Thank you for sharing it. it’s kinda crazy how far we can go to look older than we really are, huh? Here I thought I was the only one. 😛 I remember having to curl my hair and talk professionally because of somee important church members were coming- not fun. I’m sorry it’s taken a lot of your teenage years- but you’re still a teen for three years, right? XD So you can go crush that idol! And grind it to a dusty heap and burn it!

    December 29, 2018 at 11:08 am
    • Reply Aria

      Thanks, Jo! Ugh, yeah. Don’t worry, you’re not! RIGHT. You bet, girl!

      December 30, 2018 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply Tess

    Wow. What a post. I – I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like this, but I’m just speechless. *claps solemnly and contemplates life decisions*

    January 10, 2019 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Samantha Sky Grady

    Aria! You don’t know how proud I am of you for realizing this identity/idol of yours and SMASHING IT! I’d say that THIS is a real sign of maturity and being “older”. Has the Lord brought freedom in this realization? Again: proud of you!

    January 10, 2019 at 9:12 pm
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