“How Old Are You?”
Every moment I’m in public, I’m subject to the Public imaging I’m 20-something.
Telling my life gets tiresome. Proving my experience via my autobiography and resumé in response to relentless questioning… Telling stories always gets to them saying, “How old are you?”
When I tell my age I’m met with incredulity.
Am I ridiculous to be bored, annoyed, tired by this response?
Societal perceptions of age and the life course(s) associated with age are, in 2013, ignorant.
Here, in Chicagoland, a social ecology that’s crazy conventional, it’s oppressive.
(Some would be flattered by the same type of misperception. I’m not.)
Defending ones life experience in contrast to ones physicality… (What’s that? My good genes? My ethnic mix? My life choices? Or my “child-like” way of being?)
Folks attributing my way of being in the world to a child is offensive, to kids and to me. Misplaced. Unfair.
In just about every social interaction I have, I feel freakish.
Children don’t own energy, playfulness, spark, curiosity, vitality.
As a grown-up who has resided along the margins throughout my entire lifespan, I’m not psychically or otherwise damaged by residing under such scrutiny.
I’m just doing me. Residing on the margins in a whole new way. I’m not the confused one and that’s all that matters.