Hi, I’m Robert, and I have a confession to make: I’m a teenager.
No, I’m most often not a smelly, irrational, insubordinate ball of angst. I only occasionally blast my ears out with loud music. And I don’t resist waking up because I’m lazy- well, not entirely because I’m lazy.
If I were an exception, it could excuse the bad rap that teenagers get. But I am most certainly not alone. Most of the people my age that I know do not fit this description either. The perception of teenagers has been so warped in our culture that it has become a commonplace idea that teenagers are beings to be dealt with, feared, or avoided.
There is a growing opposition to the belief above, and for that I am grateful. But I remember that when I was a little(r) kid, the perception that was presented to me of being a teenager felt foreign, far-off, as distant as the planets in the sky. I felt that I would never become a teenager, since I would perpetually be [fill in the age], and would never be that old. I questioned, confused and scared, how anyone could be that mean to their parents and other people.
So when my 13th birthday finally came, I expected it to be big, like an explosion propelling me into a new personality, a new stage of life. However, it felt natural, almost anti-climatic, a simple culmination of all of the years before it. My personality did not flip like a light switch, and my best friend did not suddenly become my room.
There had been, and still is, such a big hubbub of attention directed towards the teenage years, the awkward years, that my expectations had been calibrated for something much grander. In reality, life went on. Most things stayed the same, and while there have been some major changes in me, they have happened gradually. I just celebrated my 14th birthday a little over a week ago, and again, nothing much has changed immediately. Who knows, maybe my life inexperience is speaking for me, and I will change more rapidly over the next couple years. But at least right now, I am still mostly who I was before, so I ask that people just try to see the child behind the hormonal monster in all of us teens.