Tuesday, September 28, 2010
A Message to Teenagers
While awful high school experiences have become a bit of a cliche, my years of torture were delegated to junior high/ middle school. By the time I got to high school, I had a much better sense of self. But junior high sucked. I wasn't picked on or teased; that would require some acknowledgment of my existence.
I was invisible and so uncomfortable in my skin. I felt like no one cared about who I was or more importantly what I thought. I knew I was being dismissed because I wasn't the right kind of girl, the right kind of black, the right kind of person.
At first, people's perception of me made me question myself but then I got over it. I stopped caring when I realized school eventually ended and there was a whole world out there full of diverse people. I can thank Sassy magazine for that. And Felicity.
Are you familiar with Sassy? Wasn't it the coolest magazine ever? I inhaled it. Sassy taught me that cool was relative and my opinion counted. Sure, I didn't have a Zine and I loved 90210 but what mattered was the message that different was okay and even something to be celebrated.
Knowing that I would someday be defined by more than the brands I wore, I persevered, comforted by the thought that my life wasn't going to peak at 18. Those thoughts got me through the early years of adolescence and after my fabulous years in high school, those thoughts got me through college where I was once again among people who counted different as irrelevant (I had the misfortune of attending a college that was very much like a high school).
So I have a message for those who are struggling, wondering which asshole invented high school in the first place:
None of it will matter when you're out of there. People will forget who dated who, who had the best hair, the best clothes. Those people who made your life a living hell will probably still be douches though. In the grand scheme of things, high school will probably be just a dot on the painting that is your life. The teenage years will be as important as you decide to make them. So try to just grit your teeth, bear it and take comfort in the fact that you have a lot more to look forward to than prom.