“Teenagers are difficult.”
Are they really difficult?
Are they difficult because they are different? Or are they difficult because they themselves are clueless? In a world where they constantly are overwhelmed with the pressure of being and switching between a child and an adult from time to time, are they really difficult?
Teenagers are clueless. They often find themselves lost in the sea of what-ifs, trying to figure out who they are. Learning, and more importantly, unlearning. Teenagers are a plethora of things, but only being difficult is something that they are not. Ask yourself this, are teenagers really just difficult? Or are they difficult because you don’t understand them?
I am a teenager. I am eighteen. And sometimes, I wish I could parent her. My thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen-year-old self. Because even she, just like so many of us teenagers, was struck off by being called, ‘difficult.’ I’d take her in my arms, and whisper,
“This is new, it’ll be okay.”
My thirteen-year-old self was scared. Having newly moved into this phase of life, teenage, she was nervous. She was confused by the line that divides a child and an adult. The line that everyone expected her to know. To understand. And to abide by. She was expected to know when to shush down, be a child and when to use her voice, be an adult. No teaching whatsoever. To her, I want to say, “This is new, it’ll be okay.”
“They don’t have it all as well.”
My fourteen-year-old was constantly overwhelmed. Social media was a part of her life, a major one, I’ll admit. It also birthed feelings of not being enough, of being clueless, into her. Looking at people flaunting their lives, their friends, themselves, she felt left out. In the process of becoming someone, she lost track of who she was. Constantly comparing herself to the masquerade effect people put up online.
I want her to know very well that no one is perfect. It is all a facade people put up to feel better about themselves. Because isn’t that all we all want to do? Feel better about ourselves? To her, I wish I could say, “They don’t have it all as well.”
“It’s okay to let go.”
My fifteen-year-old self found herself in a whole new environment, plus two and all. The whole idea of being away from her friends, people she used to know, to be around people she barely knew felt a little unsettling to her. It would be right to say that distance caused a rift.
She constantly found herself trying so hard to keep up with people she used to know. The idea of losing them seemed devastating to her, at the same time, it was a lot of effort to keep up. I wish I could tell her that it is okay to let go when it stops making sense to you. Holding on is as important as letting go. And sometimes, letting go is even more important.
“You don’t need to have it all figured out.”
My sixteen-year-old self was torn between choosing a major, a college, a future. Watching everyone seem so sure of what they wanted, what they wanted to be done honestly make her envious and anxious. She wanted to have it all figured out, have it all mapped out for her. Point A to Point B to Point C. A perfect plan. But life doesn’t work out that way.
Life doesn’t follow alphabetical order, there is no fixed point A, B, or C. Sometimes, you go from Point A to Point D, you don’t even know when you do it, but you do. I guess that is the thing, that is the fun of it. I want to tell her to shhh because it is okay. I want to tell her to not be hard on herself, I want to tell her, “You don’t need to have it all figured out.”
“You are doing great.”
My seventeen-year-old self could use a bit of pat-pat on her back. Finding a sense of identity, figuring out a little about herself, learning who she is, unlearning who she isn’t, was a major part of being seventeen. Becoming a person, unbecoming a person was something she was learning to do. She knew this was the start of building a person, a person with values, principles, and stories. To my seventeen-year-old self, I want to praise, I want to admire, I want to adore. I want to tell her that she is doing great.
“You are enough.”
Now, at eighteen, I want to tell myself that I am enough. And this is enough.
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