“But you look so young!”
If I had a nickel for every time…
I got my driver’s license renewed recently and the picture on my ID looks the exact same as the one I got at age 16.
“Yes, I’m aware I look like I’m 12,” I stated flatly.
“Oh but it’s a good thing!”
It’s either that or “Oh it’s a compliment!” or “Must be good genes!”
Really? You’d think I’d notice if it was a compliment. If you have to convince me of that fact, it’s probably a clue.
“Huh,” I said out loud.
Because first it starts with the assumption that I’ve only just hit puberty, then that I’m a single mother, then that Zoe is unwanted and I’m an irresponsible floozy. It takes just about no time at all for the human mind to go from an innocuous observation to reasons to judge and criticize.
Looking like a pre-teen is not the real concern though. Look too young and people don’t take you seriously but look too old and you run up against the same problem. My physical age couldn’t be of less importance.
Why is it that we assume that saying something makes it true? Someone declares something to be a compliment and thus *poof* it is so? Not quite. But if we believe and believe it sincerely, does it then become a good thing? Still not so.
There’s truth and there’s intent and they are two totally separate things.
So the truth is that I look like I’m 12 and the truth is that that is just a fact. I has nothing to do with me, in a good way or a bad way. All it means is that it affects people’s first perceptions of me– before I open my mouth. But if not that, people would surely find something else to judge or evaluate. Someone’s opinion that this is a good thing? Well that means next to nothing.
So if I think I’m a loving person, or wife, or mother– really, truly believe it with all my soul– does that automatically make the love materialize in my heart? Think of it this way: if I truly believe I can fly, would you let me jump off a ten story building? If I really thought I was a genius would that enable me to discover a Grand Unified Theory of physics?
And the answer none of us want to hear: no. No, it doesnt, you wouldn’t, I couldn’t.
Truth is unrelated to what we wish to be true, unrelated to what we declare to be true.
What can we learn from this? Rather than insisting on what is comfortable and convenient, we can seek to uncover truth. Life becomes infinitely more fruitful with that approach.
That, and please don’t tell me I look young. I know it seems like I’ve only been hearing that for 12 years, but it’s really been a good deal longer than that.