Some throwbacks to this post indeed! Not just of yours truly, but anyone who experienced high school in the 90’s and early 2000’s will be able to get a little bit of nostalgia, it might leave you longing to watch timeless movies like “Clueless” & “Bring It On” (the first one, not any of the other awful renditions).
In middle school and high school I “suffered” from a condition I dubbed, Babyface-itis. I started feeling different from my peers towards the end of elementary, when everyone else seemed to be breezing through being 4 ft tall and I was still a little bit stuck. All of my classmates were outgrowing me around 4th grade – which life threw another curve ball at my obvious difference when I was prescribed glasses to wear as well. Was this what I had to look forward to? The short Asian girl who wore glasses? Nicknames started coming in from shrimp to midget to shorty to Not-Tall-ya and it didn’t matter that my father told me how beautiful I was every day, being treated differently by your peers at such a young age really sucks, and we all know how mean children can be. *Side note: parents, it eventually WILL matter to your children that you continue to lift their spirits, they will look back on that and thank you tremendously.
By the time I was in 8th grade I had already accepted the fact that I was short, and things weren’t looking like I would be of “normal height” any time soon. I accepted my role as the tiny Asian girl to a point – I didn’t wear my glasses for YEARS because I was embarrassed by them – which severely ruined my vision tenfold, I don’t recommend this to anyone – and I sank in to my role that all my friends sort of created for me. I was soft-spoken and kept to myself as much as possible. Cue tiniest violin ever right? But when you’re 12, you don’t care about what the future might hold. You care about the here and now. Your only worry in life is that the boy you’ve been crushing on since 2nd grade will never look at you as anything other than a little sister.
High school was hell at times. Imagine not only looking like you’re 9 years old as a freshman, but… all of your friends around you are hitting puberty. Their faces are changing, their voice, and their chests. They are being looked at already as young ladies, and here you are, trapped with the face of a child. The body of a child. You feel so out of place every where you and you cry to yourself late at night because you wonder when it will possibly be better. The first guy who gives you ANY bit of attention in that way you will find yourself gravitating towards him and for all the wrong reasons. Seriously, why did I “date” the first guy who called me pretty. -_- Explains a lot!
THEN there’s the teen idols. The movies, the tv shows. Another reminder from the outside world that you are lacking. Every teen movie from the 90’s – and even more nowadays – reminds you of the kind of clothes you cannot afford to wear and the cars you won’t be driving and how you should look. Are you kidding me, Hollywood? Life is tough enough! When I would watch movies I would get instantly depressed afterwards thinking, “wow! I am never going to look like THAT!” Or, “if that’s what a 16 year old should look like then I am in serious trouble…”
This post is dedicated to those who are currently suffering from Babyface-itis, or used to suffer from it. Without sounding so cliché and like a broken record… IT GETS BETTER. Not only does it get better, you have so much to look forward to! The bad news is that you might never get rid of the baby face – you will look like you’re 20 when you’re 30, you will look 30 in your late 40’s, and you will have learned to embrace that. Trust me! Without words I am actually going to SHOW YOU through photos below what I looked like and went through in those crucial years of growing up. I look at my 14 year old self, I look at my 17 year old self, and I am saddened that this young girl spent so much of her time worrying and being filled with sadness about her appearance. I wish more than anything that I could go back in time as my future self and reassure her that everything is going to be okay – more than okay – and to start loving yourself. I wish that I spent more of my time and energy LOVING myself and enjoying my youth!
There unfortunately is no cure for it. In fact the only cure for it would be your future self coming to your bedroom amidst all of your qualms and slapping you across the face telling you that none of it matters. None! Can I just be your future self for today? Someone who has been through it? There is no cure because you can’t outgrow it. Like I mentioned earlier, you will just be the 30 year old who is constantly ID’d… except that you will learn to like it.
When it comes to what you are seeing online and what you are seeing on television or the movies, it’s not real. You might stop and wonder “do girls really look like this in high school?” The answer is no. If they do, that’s a wardrobe team with hair and makeup. Girls are doing everything they can to grow up so quickly. I cannot express enough times that it truly does not matter what people in high school think. In the grand scheme of things, your chances of maintaining friendships with peers who made you feel down about yourself are a good .. umm, no chance. Can you imagine how many 17-year-olds were shocked and contemplating life as we know it when they witnessed Shannon Elizabeth and her perfect body in American Pie? She was playing a 17/18 year old exchange student (who was 26 in real life) and within 3 minutes made us all feel completely inadequate. This doesn’t deny that she is beautiful, and it was likely tough to get an actress under 18 to do that without it crossing some lines, but hey! It’s only a movie, take it for just that.
If you are reading this right now and you are currently being bullied, please speak to an adult you trust. If there isn’t one at home then seek a guidance counselor at your school. There is help out there and if I were to go in to bullying for this article it would become entirely too long to read. If you are just feeling down on yourself because you haven’t hit puberty yet or you are a late bloomer like myself, I just want to tell you that the best is yet to come. You can still admire and appreciate the beauty of the fully made-up and done-up actresses of your generation but to aspire to be them would be insanity since they are on a television or movie set with professionals waiting for the director to yell cut and they are re-applied.
Like I stated earlier, there is no curing your genetics and making you look older besides allowing time to take it’s course. But! You can change your perspective on it. You can know that this is just a season, and one day soon it’s going to happen for you, and when it does, you’re going to love it. Just, do us all a favor. Get there. Get there with an education and proper frame of mind and when it all falls in to place you will know exactly how to handle it. I am currently 30 years old and believe me, I’m embracing it! Yes I might be the only mom at the PTA meetings or soccer meets who looks like the babysitter – had a mom in Amelia’s preschool ask me if I was her sitter during pick up time the first week… – and I may look completely out of place in certain settings but I am more than okay with that. <3
*Pardon all of the specs on my scanned images, clearly didn’t think to clean out a scanner I haven’t used in years! 🙂
^That would be me to the right, the Spring of 8th grade. Finishing up middle school and hanging out with one of my best friends, Natalia Koegen.
^A few weeks before entering high school. Our dad would take us to Ocotillo for some ATV action!
^Harley’s birthday. We did things like that in 9th grade, celebrate birthday’s of dogs with cupcakes they cannot eat.
^Sophomore year. 2001 with my friend Jessica!
Junior Homecoming, getting my hair done by my fave, Samantha! (2001-2002)
Sister-sister <3 Beginning of Senior Year, 2002
End of senior year, 2003 with Natalia
End of Senior year, 2003 with Samantha
^2006 at 21 years old.