Note: Another old post (Feb ’08) from my old blog. Still importing like crazy, yo!
On Monday, I turned 27, that enigmatic rock star age, which somehow feels a lot older than 26, but not in a bad way. I was sort of always eager to grow up in some ways, I think because I always felt like I was treated as soooo much younger at home that it just felt so incredibly claustrophobic. Even just thinking about it and remembering is making me tense up, like that feeling of claustrophobia is still stored in muscle memory.
I don’t know if it’s because of my albinism – perhaps paleness makes people think of innocence – or because of my disability, or because I sometimes have trouble standing up for myself, but for whatever reason, I get that a lot.
One time I was at the Seattle airport, my first time there, and I couldn’t find my gate, and so I asked for help, and so this woman led me to my gate, and at some point during the conversation she asked me about high school, and I told her I was in college, and she told me she thought I was fifteen. I was soooo insulted! Another time, Adrian told me that he thought of me as seventeen or eighteen, and I was soooooooooo upset. I mean, this was someone who knew me well, often told me how independent I was. I was beyond pissed and hurt. Sometimes I even get it from friends, where I feel dismissed or bossed around, and it just makes me nuts.
In a lot of ways, I have always felt older, even as a little kid and a teenager. I wanted to think for myself, make my own decisions, be treated as an equal. I usually tended to get along better with adults, and even now, most of my friends are older. Some of my closest friends are 10-25 years older than me, and in my writers group, I’m the youngest by decades. Sometimes I think that social isolation I experienced growing up forced me to look inward more, really get in touch with that inner landscape and contemplate things on a deep level at an early age. It was either that or all the reading I did. It has often made me feel like a stranger to people my age.
Which has sometimes made it hard. In a way in all this lusting for adulthood and independence, I never got to be a kid. Or, to put it another way, I got the crap parts of being treated like a kid – treated like I couldn’t make my own decisions, told what to do at every point, got my opinions dismissed at every turn, had rules and restrictions that would have applied better if I was five to ten years younger, and just generally disregarded – and missed out on some of the more pleasant things that traditionally come with being a kid. And in some ways, though I hate to admit it, I am young for my age, mostly socially, though I’m working on that. That’s sort of what I wrote about in that piece that’s in The Sun.
So though I know I should be happy when people think I’m younger (isn’t that what every woman wants?), I’m usually not. It just doesn’t register for me that way at all.
As an independent person, I so vehemently hated being treated as younger, and I guess always had the idea that if I was older people might treat me better and wouldn’t be able to get away with treating me like a kid, so I actually feel a new measure of relief from that old claustrophobia every time I circle around the sun again. So I’m glad to be 27, and that it feels, for some strange reason, a lot older than 26.
It’s like, who can mess with 27?
“Fix You Up” – Tegan & Sara