I’ve had several friends tell me that they don’t want people to know how old they are. Well, more accurately, they don’t want people to know how young they are.

It’s not that I can fault their logic-- sometimes, it can be difficult to be taken seriously as a young adult. We’re “millennials,” after all, and not even the kind with steady jobs yet. Am I even a millennial? I think I might be too young for that. I have another year or two before my generation becomes the one everyone likes to yell at.

However, I don’t see my age as a barrier to overcome. I may have fewer experiences than older people, but I have different experiences, and difference is valuable. For example, I literally do not remember a time when the internet was not easily accessible at home and at school. I got a Facebook when I was 12 years old (I wanted to get a Facebook desperately. Oh, how times have changed). I’m still young enough that signing up for for a form of social media is not a sign of the end of that medium (says the person who mostly just uses Twitter and Instagram. You whippersnapper, you).

You can make jokes about young people being addicted to their phones-- which people do, all the freaking time-- but we’re the ones who know these interfaces intuitively and can predict the success of technology with great success. If we don’t like it, it’s not going to work.

While I can make arguments that my age gives me a unique perspective, and that perspective is valuable, I actually don’t have to argue at all. The most important thing is this: my age does not devalue my work. My age does not devalue my work. Am I more likely to be worse at things because I’m inexperienced? Yes. Does that take away from when I make good things? No. If you can’t judge my work based on its quality and not the fact that I’m still a teenager, then I’m not the one with the problem here.

I might have this attitude because I’ve always worked with people older than me. I’m young for my grade in school and often befriended people in years above me, so I consistently had a friend group a year or two older than me (which is a big difference when you’re ten). In high school, I started competing in a club that was primarily populated by seniors when I was a sophomore. I’ve worked closely as the only teenager/student on groups of adults for years.

I also have always been salty about people looking down on me for my age. I have a distinct memory of watching a movie when I was twelve years old, and one of the characters said “how should I know? I’m twelve!” I was indignant. How could this movie insinuate that a twelve-year-old be so immature and ignorant?

For the record, here is a picture of me at twelve. So mature.

I’ve never had someone flat out tell me I couldn’t do something because I was too young, but I’ve had innumerable instances of people criticizing my youth in all sorts of uncreative ways. I say like too much, I upspeak, I don’t know any better, I spend too much time on my phone, I’ll understand when I’m older.

I am nineteen years old. If you devalue my work because of my age, it’s your problem, not mine. I’m just going to prove you wrong.