I’m An Adult Who Is Constantly Mistaken For A 12-Year-Old. This Is What My Life Is Like.

A photo of the author taken on recent vacation.

I was at the airport, waiting for a TSA full-body scan, when the woman managing the line asked me, “Are you old enough to go in the scanner?”

I stared at her face and wished I had the luxury to be surprised by her question. I was 30 years old. Full-body scans are a requirement for everyone once they’ve turned 12.

I have always been small compared to my peers. As a child, I was consistently one of the shortest in my class, lagging behind the others when we ran laps in gym. I would get asked if I was one or two years younger than my age, which irritated me but only to a point. On good days, I’d imagine myself as Cinderella due to my uncommonly small shoe size.

Once I became older, the perceived gap increased dramatically. My friends filled out while I remained spindly. I was given the freshman nickname “Itty-Bitty,” and people began calling me “tiny” as a matter of course.

As far as I know, I have no growth hormone deficiency or underlying condition other than being petite. But, I do have a confluence of genetic markers that signal youth: a round face, slight bone structure, minimal chest definition, and wide eyes. These are all features I can’t change. I also have relatives on both sides who hover around the 5-foot mark. My mother, too, is narrow in frame, and early in her marriage she was often mistaken for my father’s daughter.

Getting IDed is a matter of course for me: “That’s really your age? Are you sure? Hahaha, you must get IDed all the time!” I’ve taken the advice of loved ones ― and nosy strangers ― and tried responding to comments like these with humor, but the people asking the questions have merely looked confused. I have attempted to improve my confidence and posture with little effect; it’s hard to stand tall when I have to look up to speak to everyone, no matter how straight my spine.

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“You’re so lucky,” people tell me as they roll their eyes jealously whenever I mention getting IDed or mistaken for a preteen. I want to tell them that they’d change their minds if they were the ones who had heard infantilizing remarks for over three decades. Would they enjoy repeatedly being mistaken for a date’s child or asked if they were old enough to sit in an airplane’s exit …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Australia


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