I feel like there have been dozens upon dozens of posts like this one, but I felt like I wanted to put in my two cents, because honestly there are thousands of different ways to write about this topic–about what being a teen means.
(Would love for everyone to keep in mind, though, that this is how I feel, as a kind of try hard drama queen, and that everyone has their own idea/experience.)
I first started reading YA at 10. I’ve been reading YA for almost 6 years now, and somehow it’s never occurred to me that I’ll be older than all these characters I used to think of as heroes and heroines. Hell, I’m older than some already. And it’s weird to imagine anyone I know–any 15, 16, 17, 18 year old I know–saving the world. Falling into
these epic romances. Having an adventure.
Because here’s what being a YA means–what being a teen means.
It means being unsure about yourself or about the future or about anything at all, stressing about the smaller things in order to ignore the bigger issues at hand.
It means wanting to know who you are, but not having the faintest clue–knowing that this is when you should start discovering yourself (because isn’t that what everyone says? That high school is the time for discovering yourself?), but not knowing where to even begin.
It means crying into a phone at 2 am as one of your best friends tries to calm you down, but not having any idea what to say (and that somehow makes it worse because ohgodnowsheknowswhatamessIam)
It means working your ass off to get straight As, and falling apart the moment you see that finalized 88. And crying so hard you fall asleep and can’t stop crying for the next four days.
It means dancing until your feet hurt with your friends until you can’t breathe, but wanting to dance even more just because of that.
It means letting go a little because you are sixteen dammit, and you aren’t going to spend your entire life dictated by grades and homework. So you call up your friends in the middle of a major testing week, and spend the afternoon eating and talking about random stuff (though you do glance at those worksheets once in a while).
It means taking silly pictures and nice pictures and weird pictures with your friends–because it’s the age of technology and you’re going to take advantage of that.
It means being reckless and impulsive once in a while, following your gut, and hoping it leads to better things. (Sometimes it does, sometimes it does. It means being okay with that.)
It means feeling alone sometimes, but knowing that there are probably some people who love you. But you just don’t feel it and it hurts. It hurts a lot.
It means feeling like the world is at your feet sometimes, triumphing over the smallest things and feeling outrageously proud and happy.
It means making friends with the unlikeliest of peoples, and loving them and their quirks because they love you and yours.
It means knowing you’re part of something bigger.
It means falling love with something–whether it’s a person or a time or a feeling or a season.
It means loving the stupid nights of crazy laughter and loud music and adoring the quiet days with coffee and a good book (always, always).
We don’t exactly need to save the world or fall into an epic romance or have an adventure. Because we can be wild and fearless and volatile. Because we are young and we feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Because this is when we learn to survive the darker aspects of living and to appreciate the rarer times when everything is perfect.
And for now, that’s enough.
(It means being scared to post this, but posting it anyways.)