I wanted to write a post telling you to enjoy these years. I wanted to say that these are the best years of your life, when you are just starting to discover who you are, without the influence of those around you.
You are exploring your bodies, minds and souls, and that can be both an exciting and terrifying time. However, many of you are being called to be the change that you want to see in the world, and that can absolutely be a daunting task.
I think the decision to put the world in the hands of teenagers started when I was in school. The 90s were an interesting time, because it was the first time that adults started asking kids to get involved in social revolution.
It was the first time to my knowledge, that adults started to realize that the voices of teenagers were more than an annoying drone. We started being asked to volunteer with causes and events that mattered to us. We were taught about sexual exploitation, and the importance of standing up for ourselves.
It was an interesting time, because we were taught that we had power. Before that kids were just seen as useless things that don’t really contribute to the world until they become adults and start paying taxes.
Now, in your generation, you are being asked to learn how to use your pencils and backpacks as weapons against armed children carrying guns. You are being asked to put your bodies, minds and souls on the line for the future of the world.
I am so sorry.
You shouldn’t be in this position. You should have the right to be children. You should have the right to go to dances and school events without worrying that “this day” is going to be the day one of your fellow students decides to try and end your life.
Parents today are far more clued into what it takes to raise a teenager then they were twenty or thirty years ago. The danger is ever prevalent, and the fears that you are experiencing are completely valid.
No ifs, ands or buts. I just wanted to acknowledge that your experience on this earth is hard.
Its the most difficult thing you will ever do, because until you hit eighteen there will always be people telling you that it’s not good enough or that it’s not right.
When you hit your twenties, people will urge you to do things you wouldn’t do otherwise under the guise of exploration and freedom.
I urge you to try all the things except drugs. I urge you to find yourself in these years and discover all the wonderful things that make you who you are.
I urge you to draw, paint, photograph, write, and explore art. I urge you to be yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks of you, and to remember that although these years may be lonely, they don’t last forever.
I was the loneliest kid in the world growing up, and now I have friends across the globe. I count celebrities and non celebrities alike amongst my friends. I am a lucky and blessed woman, and it took a lot of years to get here.
If you are feeling alone, and lonely, please remember that it won’t last forever. Chances are, that you are one of a kind and it might take longer to find your tribe, but you absolutely and positively will.
Hang in there. Yes, I know this sounds trite from a woman in her thirties who “just doesn’t get it,” the truth is that life is harder for you today than it was for me.
That’s coming from a girl who once had another girl try to light her hair on fire. From a girl who was beaten and bullied while on crutches. From a girl who was the only Black girl in her school without friends.
From a girl who was once considered cool ONLY because she was “2Pac Black”.
I’ve seen it all. Been raped more times than I can count and had every reason in the world to give up. I chose not to, because I refused to let the pricks win.
So dear Teenagers, as hard as it is to be you right now, as difficult as it is to try and fit into the mold everyone thinks you should fit into, just remember it absolutely and utterly does get better.
I can almost hear you saying “no it doesn’t,” but that’s because you’re giving up on yourself. There is an entire world waiting for you out there, the potentials for success and happiness are endless, you just have to be willing to fight.
Are you ready to fight?
I’m here with you,
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall