The Downside of Doll Face

I’ve been up since the ass crack of dawn. This means that a lot is getting done – albeit in a partial delirium made less acute by coffee – but the laundry basket is nearly empty, the freezer is cleaned out, and, for once, I don’t need to make an appointment with myself to write. (I’m hoping this will happen more often as I work on boundaries and exercising the word “No”…but more about that another time. “No” is a word and a whole damn sentence all in one and it probably deserves its own post.)

As I’ve been puttering domestically about the house, something has been gnawing at my brain (as things tend to do). Yesterday I was visiting one of my favorite recipe blogs and the blah blah blah preceding the actual baking directions really got my goat. It was a digression on how cringeworthy it is for someone in their late twenties to talk about writing a memoir.

Yup, I was triggered. Let me explain:

I am a twenty eight year old woman with baby cheeks, innocent brown eyes, and a very petite frame. I frequently get asked what high school I attend. I was once carded for an R rated film. My best friend has been mistaken for my mother. All of these things, however, are only mildly offensive and irritating. The worst line I have repeatedly heard in one form or another is that I am TOO YOUNG TO GET SOBER.

This message is one of the reasons I am here. Ageism can kill. Invalidating anyone – robbing them of the legitimacy of their story – can kill. I’m here, waving my arms in this virtual reality, to say “Hey, I’m Autumn, and you are NOT too young to get clean, sober, or behavior abstaining”.

I may have great genes in terms of my cherubic face but I am also an addict through and through.

I think what is so bothersome about “young people” correlates directly with the stereotype that they are know-it-alls. I’m sure someone out there could criticize my blog along these lines. I would respond only by saying that I am not here to dispense advice or pretend to have all the answers. I am here purely to share my thoughts and experiences and maybe reach a few who can relate.

I don’t know about you, but I sure wish the latest teenager to overdose on heroin was around to get clean and write about his or her experience.

And what about Augusten Burroughs? (Probably my favorite author EVER!) He had more life experience by the time he was fourteen than most people get in a lifetime. Given the publishing date of Running with Scissors, we can assume he happened to write about it in his thirties. What if he had decided to tell the story in his twenties? Would we have told him to sit down and shut up?

According to Yahoo News and the World Health Organization, alcohol kills someone every ten seconds… that equals “3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined”. (Read the whole article here: http://news.yahoo.com/alcohol-kills-one-person-every-10-seconds-worldwide-131403384.html)

If we put an age limit on sobriety or the worthiness of a life story, are we not adding to the death toll? Who do we alienate when we make assumptions or comments about age? It can be lonely enough out there. Let’s be good to each other.

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