group hug for the teenagers.

today marks the day i am no longer a teenager. i’m thrilled, mainly because people can no longer pull the teenager card. you know, the one where you express any emotion a little too fiercely, & every adult in the room goes “oh, teenagers“. or when you’re trying to have a serious conversation with an adult about something you consider a crisis & they ever so condescendingly say, “you don’t happen to be a teenager do you?” …grr.

i never really understood why “grown-ups” were so cruel to teenagers. i mean, i know we could be dramatic & emotional creatures, but hey, you probably were too when you were a teenager, cause we have our reasons.

i suppose different teenagers go through different experiences, but one thing is for sure for all teenagers. the choices you make during those 7 years are choices that will actually affect the rest of your life. so go ahead & mock us. “teenagers. everything is so apocalyptic.” (kami garcia.) i know you definitely were being pretentious there, but here’s the deal. in today’s society, when you enter high school, you are all of the sudden expected to know who you are, who you want to be, & what you want to do with the rest of your life. feeling the pressure? the choices you make academically will not only affect your opportunities in high school, but will determine what kind of colleges you can get into, & what kind of scholarships you can receive. yep, walking into high school as a freshman & you automatically need to be focusing on college. but wait, you also need to choose what you want to do for the rest of your life, because you need to begin building your experience outside of school. extracurriculars are what colleges look for, so make sure you know your exact work-field you’re going to go into, so you can start internships & volunteer work right now. hah. sounds like teenagers are forced to be adults, right?

& perhaps they are forced to make adult decisions about their future lives, & have the looming fear that every choice they make will affect every opportunity in their future, but on top of all that, we are treated like children. oh yes, even at 19, people will still tell you that you are not “officially” an adult & make condescending jokes. you are forced to make decisions that will affect the rest of your life, but won’t truly be free to make those decisions without an adults approval. you are told to figure out who you are & want to be, while also being told who you should be & who you have to be. you are told to be original, stand out, don’t follow the crowd, & have your own ideas, but then told to follow the rules, submit to authority, & stop asking so many questions. & as said by the brilliant johnny depp, “the problem is that everybody treats teenagers like they’re stupid.” while at the same time, expecting them to know everything! being a teenager or being a living contradiction?

in addition, these 7 years will probably be the years in which you experience some of the highest highs & lowest lows. you will probably have a lot of adults tell you that the wide variety of emotions you feel is totally invalid, which is ridiculous. the gauntlet of scenarios & emotional stress you will go through as a teen is overwhelming. which is why around 20% of young people are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. personally, a statistic that kills me is knowing that almost half of sexual assault victims are under 18 (44%). so an entire generation is experiencing a ton of crap, & yet, society still frowns upon them & portrays this message that until they are no longer teens, they won’t be taken seriously.

i’m not making this point to rant or make some stink about how i was treated as a teenager. really, that’s not my intent. i really just want to put it out there that being a teenager was really difficult for me, & is equally as difficult for all teens. self-harm, eating disorders, relationship abuse, internet bullying, depression, anxiety, running away… it’s all significantly increasing, especially with this most recent generation. so why are we so cruel to teenagers? some of my peers are already making fun of the generation after us. but i feel that if we constantly de-validate an entire generation for just being the age that they are, we really won’t succeed in anything but creating an even worse-off generation than we were.

so. long rant made short? HEY YOU TEENS. here is a big, huge, jumbo-sized group hug.

i am so sorry for all the crap you are probably going through, & all the confusion, & all the emotions. but you are valid. you are relevant. you are smart. you have ideas that could change the world. you are capable of complex thought & emotion. you are honestly capable of anything you set your mind to! so don’t let any of the stinky old grown ups get you down. (respect them… just don’t let them cramp your style.) i’ll do my part as an “old lady” now, to make sure & cultivate an environment of love & support for you guys. when going through such a rough time of life, you deserve to be more than tolerated.

& that’s it! that’s my ramble for the teenagers out there.

here’s to my twenties & all that they will hold.

love & hugs,

meredith.

 

 

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