When I was younger, I remember idolizing teenage girls in every way possible.
Everything about them made me swoon. They were these snarky, beautiful, long-haired goddesses who wore mascara and lace bras and kissed boys in drive-ins. I remember feeling like once I hit 13, everything would happen; that suddenly I would emerge from my cocoon of childhood naivete and my entire life would become a ‘90s high-school rom-com.
I can’t really blame little me for feeling this way; I had been spoon-fed a cliché for years, and my 8-year-old self hadn’t yet learned to question it.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the preoccupation with teenagers — or rather, the preoccupation with society’s warped perception of teenagers. This idea that there is a right and a wrong way to go through adolescence seems to have magnified as of late; or maybe I’m noticing it more as I’ve begun to realize its invalidity.
Setting aside the television shows and movies that obviously thrive on the stereotype of the wild, impetuous teenager, the main influences on the adolescent mind are social media websites and apps, which have done a lot to perpetuate and encourage this aforementioned belief as well.
These sites provide an opportunity to present yourself to the general public in any way you desire; allowing you to choose what you want other people to know about you and your interests, and what you don’t. Therefore, what you see on the Internet is rarely an accurate portrayal of who your peers really are. Nobody is as one-dimensional as they appear online; humans are inherently multi-faceted and simply cannot be diminished to a profile on any website. But … I digress.
I’m not going to lie; I used to struggle with feeling like I was going through my adolescent years in the wrong way, like I was missing out on some sort of profoundly fascinating, reckless and intense experience that everyone else was already a part of.