Many would of course like to look 20 years younger than their actual age without using cosmetics or plastic surgery, but for Melanie Bell, a 30-year-old with a writing career, it’s no fun to be mistaken for a 12- birthday.
Bell, an author who migrated from Canada to the United States before eventually settling in the UK, remembers how often she is mistaken for her date’s daughter while being carded in bars and asked if she is old enough to go through airport security.
“I’ve always been small compared to my peers,” Bell writes Huffington Post.
Melanie Bell is an author and creative writer whose height is shorter than the average adult
Bell wrote of her frustration that she was constantly mistaken for someone nearly 20 years younger
Bell said people often think she is her date’s young daughter
“As a kid, I was always one of the shortest in my class and lagged with the others when we were laps at the gym.
“I would be asked if I was one or two years younger than my age, which irritated me, but only to a certain extent.
“On good days I would introduce myself as Cinderella because of my unusually small shoe size.
“As I grew older, the perceived gap increased dramatically. My friends filled in while I remained spindly.
“I was nicknamed ‘Itty-Bitty’ by the freshmen, and people naturally called me ‘small’.”
Bell is perfectly healthy. A doctor has not told her that she is suffering from some form of growth hormone deficiency.
“But I do have a confluence of genetic markers that signal young people: a round face, a light bone structure, minimal breast definition and big eyes,” she writes.
“These are all functions that I cannot change.”
Bell says she is perfectly healthy and has no shortage of human growth hormone
Bell also has a youthful complexion that would make others jealous of her
Bell writes that she has family members on both sides of her family whose height reached 5 feet.
Early in her mother’s marriage, according to Bell, she was also mistaken for her husband’s daughter.
It seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Bell writes: “Getting identification is a matter of course for me:” Is that really your age? Are you sure? Hahaha, you always have to identify yourself! “”
She writes that she tried to keep a sense of humor in it, but it has been challenging since her responses to “curious strangers” inquiring about her age have “looked confused.”
“I have tried to improve my confidence and attitude with little effect; it’s hard to stand up when I have to look up to talk to everyone, no matter how straight my back is, ”she writes.
In Western countries, adults in their 30s, 40s, and 50s spend hours and large sums of money looking and feeling young, but Bell writes that no one should envy her.
“You’re so lucky,” people tell me as they roll their eyes jealous whenever I mention they are identified or mistaken for a preteen, “she writes.
“I want to tell them that if they were the ones who had heard infantilizing remarks for more than three decades, they would change their minds.
But Bell also writes that she is tired of being asked for ID at airports and bars
“Would they like to be repeatedly mistaken for the child of a date or ask if they were old enough to sit in the exit row of an airplane?
When she got her master’s degree, she said she was asked, “Are you starting a junior high next year?”
People often confuse her with her brother’s little sister, even though she is five years older than him. That is because it is 1.8 m long.
“Such situations make me want to ask people who insist that a youthful appearance is a gift: Would you appreciate it if your educational efforts and experience are reduced or erased at a glance?” She writes.
“Maybe, but I’m tired of it.”
Bell writes that she finds peace reading emails from colleagues who treat her as an adult, although that’s because “they can’t see my face.”
One of the most unpleasant things Bell has been told is that she is suffering from an eating disorder and that she is wearing ‘doll clothes’.
“Others refuse to believe I hear the things I hear, or say these comments shouldn’t bother me, because” you look 12, of course, “she writes.
“I may look young, but I’m old enough to recognize that these comments are not helpful or constructive.
Many of us are culturally conditioned to feel insecure about our bodies.
That’s no excuse to make derogatory comments about what other people look like.
Bell also writes about the pain of “body shame” with people wondering if she had an eating disorder
Others also make hurtful comments by asking if she’s wearing ‘doll clothes’
“Sometimes I look in the mirror and struggle to take myself seriously or connect the voice in my head to the elf-like creature looking back at me.”
Bell writes that she relied on a few hacks to minimize the problem.
“Putting on business attire while traveling, wearing huge platform heels when the occasion allows, relying on custom items, dark colors, bold lipstick and keeping my hair short, it all seemed, at least on occasion, to satisfy questions,” writes she.
She writes that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many indoors and limited social interactions with the online space, has given her an advantage: she is less likely to be judged by her body.
“It seems that in a world where someone might be able to infect someone else, public comments about each other’s bodies have been declining for some time,” she writes.
“Ironically, as a respiratory illness floats around the world, I breathe easier.
“My physical concerns are focused on hygiene, eating right and exercising – keeping myself healthy in the ways that I can.”