"You'll grow out of it. Give it time."
When you are on the cusp of your fragile teenage years, these words are the most annoying and frustrating words any young girl can hear from anyone. It is always "cute" instead of "pretty" or "adorable" instead of "beautiful". At twelve years old, these words make sense even if they are annoying. Most people assume that these young girls will grow into the words "pretty" and "beautiful". That assumption is usually correct, unless the young girl has a baby face.
It has always been a little joke in my family that I never aged passed twelve years old. I would always laugh with the rest of the family about my "misfortune". I would always wonder, in the back of my mind, if I was permanently stuck in this twelve year old stage. All the while, at sixteen years old, my aunts would pinch my cheeks, and tell me how "cute" I was, much to my annoyance.
While my family had relatively harmless jokes, my friends and peers in high school could and would be quite cruel. "Cute" and "adorable" were not in the vocabulary of teenagers. Somewhere in between fifteen years old and eighteen years old, I started to associate "cute" and "adorable" with "fat" and "ugly" as my self confidence dropped to an all time low. To be fair, a lot of this was self-imposed. What teenager likes to place the blame on themselves? It is safe to say, due to my shy and somewhat unapproachable personality (which is something that hasn't really changed in the past twenty years), I was pretty dateless. In my teenage mind, I also believed it was partly because of my baby face.
I did, eventually, "slim" down during my senior year of high school, but my face remained the same. It wasn't until after high school that I accepted the fact that I would always have a baby face. Through most of my twenties, my baby face was a curse and a blessing. I was (still am) ID'ed all the time, and I couldn't (still can't) escape the dreaded words "cute" and "adorable". On the bright side, those words lost the negative connotations that I use to associate with them.
Now that I am thirty-four, I begrudgingly admit that I am thankful for my youthful appearance. I have a certain displeasure for the words "cute" and "adorable", but I try to spin it into a positive. I'm on par with kittens, puppies, and other baby animals, and I've yet to meet a person that can resist the cuteness. My baby face is only a tiny part of my struggles, but it is a tiny part of what makes me, me. Without it, the person I am today wouldn't be alive.