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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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