The Truth Will Out: The Age Closet

Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, by their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

~Oscar Wilde

Greetings, Internet! I’ve recently had a bit of an online identity crisis. This has happened before: flashback to 2012, and then my super long extended blogging hiatus in which I abandoned Let Them Grumble and created this blog/website/thing in August. Since I started blogging two years ago, a lot has happened to me.

I’ve been published in three anthologies. I self-published my first collection of poetry and short stories.

I have met some wonderful people online and in person, and haven’t followed any of your blogs nearly as diligently as some of you have followed mine.

I’ve changed my main blogging topic from Anne Boleyn to writing to feminism and everything (and I mean everything) in between.

I’ve switched countless themes and two domain names and attempted a character blog.

I’ve grown in the last two years. Every post, comment, like, and follow has impacted how I perceive other writers, history fans, feminists, bloggers, and people in general. And I wanted to thank you all for that — goshdarnit I don’t care how cheesy I’m being. I know I sound like Bilbo Baggins at his one hundred and eleventh birthday party, but I swear I’m not going to pop on a magic ring and disappear again.

When I started blogging, I made the decision to remain somewhat anonymous. The main reasoning for this (other than online safety) was because I wanted to be taken seriously as both a blogger and a writer. I know I’ve posted some very non-serious things, but I didn’t want who I was to impact how people thought of me and my writing.

I was afraid of being stereotyped because of my age.

Of course some of you knew how old I was, or guessed, and obviously I wasn’t a 95-year-old woman judging by my profile photos, but I didn’t want my age to become relevant to my content, even if it was a compliment. I wrote my first blog post just before I turned sixteen. Now I’m eighteen.

I know those of you who take the time to read, like, and comment on my posts don’t care how old I am because you’re fabulous anyway, but there would have been those skeptical to read the blog of a sixteen-year-old rambling on about the validity of Anne Boleyn’s reproductive organs or researching for novel-writing. I didn’t want to be labelled as a “teenage blogger/writer.” I wanted to be a blogger. I wanted to be a writer. Period. No stigma of teenagers attached. I didn’t want anyone to think, “Oh that Libby. She’s so cute thinking she’s a writer, and she’s only 15-18.”

So, the little italicized voice asks, why are you coming out of your age closet, Libby? 

And yeah. I take selfies.
And yeah. I take selfies.

Since I joined Twitter I’ve interacted with several “teenage bloggers/writers” and these are the ones that inspired me to come out of my age-caged turtle shell. Not only are they successful at both blogging and writing, but they have a certain pride regarding their age. They don’t care that they’re XX years old, but it is a part of their life and it is something many of them talk about in their social media outlets. I loved “meeting” them online. There’s an entire online community of teenage writers that I had no idea about. They were fascinating. I wanted to support them because I understood. I had things in common with them, things I wanted to say “Me too!” at, until I remembered I was keeping my specific age locked away in a dungeon so none of my adult followers would judge or label me, consciously or unconsciously.

I want to be able to relate and reach out to other writers/bloggers/feminists who happen to be in their teens. I want to support them and swap experiences with them.

Do I want my age to suddenly become centre stage? No. But if my age makes it easier for others to share their experiences or for me to share mine, then I will happily add the phrase “teen writer” to my online bio.

I’m tired of hiding in my age closet. It’s unnecessary and inconvenient. If I want to tell you about the time George Elliott Clarke visited my Advanced English class, I will. (Sidenote: it was fantastic.) If I want to give advice on how to apply for scholarships, I will. (Sidenote: user discretion is recommended.) Where I previously avoided talking about age-related activities, I will embrace them.

So yes. I am a teenager, and it does take up a considerable amount of my life. Unlike some writers I have tests and exams to study for, research papers to write, and preparations for university to make. I haven’t seen a whole lot the world yet, but I will. I like teenage things and adult things. I’m afraid and excited for the next stages of my journey — writing, publishing, attending university, and otherwise. I want my work to continue to be taken seriously, and hopefully more seriously as I accomplish more in the coming years.

My name is Libby, and I am an eighteen-year-old writer, blogger, feminist, and chocolate addict extraordinaire.


8 thoughts on “The Truth Will Out: The Age Closet

  1. Age doesn’t mean a thing. You’re an intelligent woman with much to say about many things. I’m so pleased to have found you here. Now I’m sorry, but I don’t plan to come out of the age closet. Like Mr. Wilde said, “Thirty-five is a very attractive age.”

    1. Darlene, thank you so much. I’m incredibly honoured to have had you take your time to visit my wee little corner of the internet for so long! And of course. You can stay in the age closet as long as you like. 😉

  2. YOU FINALLY CAME OUT! I’m so excited for you, and your years of growth to come! I think that your writing has always been extremely mature, and so I love imagining all the shocked face as they read this post. I imagine that many would be quite surprised to find that this beautiful writer is actually a teenager, and that her writing may exceed some of theirs. Bravo, my friend.

  3. Good for you Libby! 🙂 Proud of you and keep up the great work. I love reading your work, and I think it’s great that you are moving forward everyday on your long road ahead! Never be embarrassed or keep yourself hidden, you have lots to be proud of and lots to give.

    1. Thank you Sarah! I love blogging, and now that I can be even more open about the particular obstacles someone my age has in the writing/publishing industry I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me next. 🙂

  4. Good on you Libby! Age isn’t something to be ashamed of 🙂 You shouldn’t be embarrassed about it at all, or feel that you have to keep it hidden.
    Age is just a number – I’ve met children as young as 10 that are far more intelligent and have greater views and opinions than people that are 50.
    I’m so glad that I found your blog (I believe I started with the Anne Boleyn days) and even though I don’t comment too often, I’ve loved reading every post 🙂

    1. Ali, thank you! It really means a lot. I always felt tethered down by my age, and now that the cord is cut I can delve further into my blogging and writing.
      I can’t believe you’ve stayed on board the Libby-train for so long. It’s an impressive feat. 😉 Thank you!

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