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I used to hate it. When I was 18 people thought I was 14. When I was 21 people still thought I was 14.

I was GROWN. I was living on my own away at college, paying my own bills (for the most part), staying out as late as I wanted. I thought makeup would do the trick so I wore more mascara and eyeliner. It was a semi-successful idea for nights out clubbin’ but in the day-to-day scheme of things, I apparently had a childlike quality to those who didn’t know me.

It was frustrating. Here I was trying to assert myself as an adult, feeling as though I was really playing the part well, but I was still coming off as a child, or better yet, a pre-teen.

There were days when I brushed it off as just my plight in life, but then there were other days. By that I mean, days when I felt as if people refused to take me seriously because I had a baby face. They looked at me as if they wanted to pinch my cheeks, pat me on the bottom and send me outside to play in the sandbox. It was frustrating, annoying, and confusing.

I was wearing suits, NICE ones too. I prepared speeches for the events that required as much, and still people acted like I stumbled in the wrong place.

But now a little older and wiser, I’ve figured some things out. When I was looking to be accepted as an adult, that’s when I suffered the most frustration because I wasn’t really one yet. And honestly, I don’t think I really ventured into real “grown-up” territory until about 24 or 25 anyway.

Someone once said, “When you stop wanting things so badly, life comes to you.”

When I started simply living my life as a 20-something, shifting my focus from how others saw me to how I saw myself, I started to embrace my younger look, and the crazy thing is, people started to embrace my adulthood. The moment I left my looks alone, started picking out the things I liked about my appearance, started counting down the perks of looking so young, that was the moment I started feeling much less self-conscious. I liked me, and I knew what I was capable of and how intelligent I was. How young or old someone looks can never dictate what’s in their mind and heart.

Once I started walking in confidence instead of self-consciousness, age and looks were no longer a factor. I realized that it had only been an issue because I saw it as one. I engaged in negative self-talk while others were simply marveling at my youth. It wasn’t a curse. It was a blessing.

I walked into the local deli back in May and the owner asked if I had just graduated from the high school in town. I laughed and said, “No sir. I’ve already graduated college.”

His eyes bugged out of his head. The lady cashier said, “Oh my gosh! Wow! I thought you were like 16!”

I smiled and said, “I know. I get that all the time but I’m actually 27.”

They both threw their hands up and shouted loudly, “No way!”

“God BLESS you, young lady,” the deli owner said in disbelief.

I cracked up, thanked him and silently praised Jesus for really awesome genes. I’m looking forward to looking 21 at 40.

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