I’ll be thirty in just under a month. Several times over the last six months, that realization has snuck up and whacked me upside the head. Here’s the problem, though . . . .
I don’t *feel* that old. Not really.
If I were to ask a random passerby on the street, most assume I’m around twenty-five. It’s a blessing I’ve inherited from my mother–who people constantly age down ten years, until they are told I am her eldest daughter. But it’s also slightly annoying when I have to go to an event as a professional.
I’m young (in their eyes) and a woman–who tends to dress in slightly revealing clothing, or at the very least snug-fitting clothes. You would, too, if you’d gone from a size 16 to a size 8. Just saying.
It’s rare I’m treated disrespectfully at conventions anymore because of my perceived age. It was never really an issue except for the first few, when I actually was young and had no fraking clue what I was doing. No, where I run into problems is when I step into a field typically handled by men.
One of my (numerous) jobs includes writing and directing battle reenactments for a local renaissance festival. The faire producers have always been respectful and give me everything I need to put on a good show. Other people . . . not so much.
During the last event I ran into a group of guys, who will remain unidentified, who didn’t seem impressed that anyone with tits could run a battle pageant. Let alone write it, do all the safety checks, and everything else involved in making this impossible task happen. Impossible task? Sometimes. There’s a million variables when it comes to live steel combat. Add in black powder weapons (matchlock guns and cannons), and there’s bound to be a screw-up somewhere. My job is to predict the problems and fix them before an actor is injured. I can do this because I’ve fought live steel and handled battle pageants for eleven years. But these guys didn’t need to know my history to treat me with respect. The second I introduced myself by my working title, they should’ve been helpful and answered my one very simple question. Instead they ridiculed me. Vocalized their doubts about my ability to do my job. Called me age-innapropriate pet names. Oh, and spent the entire conversation staring down my tank top.
Sad thing? I wasn’t surprised. I may be almost thirty, but refuse to act like it. The only time I feel “old” is when my bad back throws in the towel and I’m left to hobble around like someone three times my age. Still, someone shouldn’t have to look old to be treated with respect. That’s stupid.