I am currently a 16 year old girl living in the United States. It is not easy being a teenager in 2016.
Constant stress, disappointment, and anxiety fill my everyday life more than I thought it ever could. So much is expected of me every day. Wake up at 7:00. Go to school until 3:00. Do sports until 6:00. Do homework until 8:00. Eat dinner, and go to sleep. I never have time to do anything I want to do, unless I choose not to do my homework. I often choose to relax or talk to my friends instead of doing my homework, struggling to do it the next day in the crowded lunchroom.
We have to be perfect, but not too perfect, or you’re just as terrible. Girls are either too ‘slutty’ or ‘innocent’. Too ‘ugly’ or ‘trying too hard’. Too ‘smart’ or ‘too stupid’. ‘Try too hard’ or ‘Don’t try hard enough’. Guys aren’t expected to be respectful and kind, and ‘boys don’t cry’. There is no middle ground, and labels get thrown around quicker than insults. Rumors are spread, and anxiety has become the new ‘normal’.
I can’t go through a day of my normal routine without hearing people make fun of somebody else, or hearing someone insult themselves. Most of the insults to our bodies are not said by other people, but said by ourselves. We hate ourselves more than others hate us. I have insecurities about the dumbest things, yet I think about them all the time.
No wonder so many teenagers smoke and drink, we need to get all the terrible thoughts and responsibilities out of the way for just a couple minutes. That’s all we need to escape. But if you don’t do drugs, you’re weak they scream. Party hard or go home. But if you’re too crazy we won’t accept you either. Just because I don’t want to ruin my life, I’m weak, and ‘lame’. I can count hundreds of girls my age that have lost their virginity. I even know one that was pregnant.I am not shaming anybody for what they want to do with their lives, but I feel we find value in ourselves in our bodies and boyfriends, not our grades, or accomplishments.
Don’t you dare be different, but be different. People don’t like it when you’re gay, because “you might like me!”. They don’t understand that it’s not a choice, and we aren’t flaunting it. As a member of the LGBT+ community, I would know. Nobody respects each other and people make fun of people trying to be themselves, asking for new pronouns, wanting to be happy.
While it is hard, I’m sure we have it easier than any other generation. We are in a new era of smarter teenagers, with strong, smart voices.
I’m looking forward to getting out of this wreck of ‘teenage life’.
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