Why I'm Almost 20, But I Still Look 15

Lately it seems like I'm always getting told, "Wow, you look so young!" People ask me my age, and when I say, "19," they comment something along the lines of, "Oh, I would have guessed, like, 15... but you'll be thankful for that someday."

People aways tell me I'll be thankful for these comments today. Sure, maybe when I'm 40 and still look 35, I'll feel good about myself, but there's a huge difference between that and looking 15 when you want to look 20. Those people who tell me I'll be thankful in the future don't realize how hurtful they can be in the present. I can think of a couple different reasons why I do look so young to other people.

One or more of my conditions probably stunted my growth, so I'm stuck at 5'2 1/4".

Every muscle in my body is swollen and inflamed, including the ones in my face. So that "cute baby angel face" is actually a lot of pain and muscle knots. So, yeah, it's a little bigger and rounder than it "should be." Honestly, all of me is.

I also barely have the energy to make myself look presentable, let alone perfectly put together. So, yeah, most days you won't see me wearing any makeup besides maybe some cc cream or powder. Most days my naturally curly hair is pulled back or down in some not-so-perfect style. Most often I dress for comfort and temperature regulation, not fashion. I wear compression socks instead of heels, extra layers instead of little black dresses. It's just how I have to function.

I know no one means harm by telling me I look young. I think what hurts is realizing that what they're saying is true, but there's not a lot I can do about it. And I think what hurts the most is knowing how much I want to be twenty and how much my illness is keeping that from me. I couldn't handle going away to college. I can't drive, because I have seizures. I can't work, because I'm too sick. I can't even eat whatever the heck I want, and some days, I can't even eat at all. Even if my maturity is higher than a twenty-something (or so I'm told it is), my body is stuck in this young and somewhat helpless state. There's not much I can do about it, and I cannot tell you how hard that is. So, maybe please stop telling me to be appreciative of comments that remind me of this painful reality I'm stuck in.

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