19 Going On 12

Yes, I'm 19 And Yes, I Know I Look Like I'm 12

"Wait, how old are you?"

Heather Burke

My whole life, I've been told I have a young face. From people I've never met before, to my own family members, people seem to assume that I'm a junior in high school at oldest. While people try to guess my age, I've been told I look anywhere from 12 to 16, but never once has it been my actual age. This has gone on for 19 years, and to be honest, some days it's a struggle.

To be fair, I am not a big person. I'm only 5'3", and most of the girls I meet that are younger than me tower over me a good three or four inches at least. I know I don't look my age, but when you walk onto the campus you've been living on for two years and get mistaken for a high school student taking a tour, it's a bit frustrating.

The thing is, I know I look young. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll get carded at every bar long after I turn 21, that people will continue to think that my 16-year-old brother is older than me and that my distant relatives will ask me what year of high school I'm going into for the next 10 years of my life. I have (ironically) grown into my baby face, and am learning to confidently decline when waitresses still offer me a kids menu and crayons when I go out to dinner with my family.

For years I've tried to make myself look older. From different makeup looks to haircuts, to trying to change the way I dress, I tried everything. However, nothing could seem to make adults stop telling me that "I'll appreciate it when I'm 30 and look like I'm 22," or make me feel insecure as I stood next to a girl who was three years younger than me, but who looked three years older.

However, No matter how many people get my age wrong, or how many times I have to remind my great aunt that I'm not in high school anymore, I love who I am, and the body God created for me. I have learned to love who I am for who I am, even if that does mean getting mistaken for a middle schooler every once in a while.

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