We’ve all criticized teenagers for being glued to their phones as an escape from reality. We’ve all had endless conversations about the generation gap, which always concludes with social media being the hub of problems. But truly, problems occur due to the lack of acceptance of how overlooked and under-represented teenage well-being is.
Well-being is described as a state of mind, which is capable of processing emotions. While major teens report emotional numbness in the first place, processing never gets to be the spotlight of the question. Why? What could teenagers possibly worry about? They aren’t adults yet with full-blown- responsibilities and neither are they children, new to the world, having a challenge fitting in. They are teenagers, living the best time of their lives as parents might describe it. But straight-forwardly, no. Now let’s talk about why.
Teenagers have a lot to worry about. Whether it’s the constant validation that their friends are around, to feeding into society’s standards, to the school norms, to having to twist and shrink into the places they don’t fit in, to maintaining a social life that constantly acts as a trampoline, to getting routine schoolwork done, additionally a hundred extracurriculars they are forced into, as every teen now should be a ‘package deal’. Have you ever wondered what this creates?
Have you wondered what happened after you taunted Sarah for eating sweets just because her stomach folds weren’t fitting into your narrow mindset? She went to the mirror, and she blamed it on herself. You took it away from her, both her peace and her happiness.
Have you wondered what happened to Paul when you silently agreed to him being shoved around towards a toxic idea of what masculinity is? How you stood while he was being looked down on for crying and being told to be a man, while he could barely be alive? He wiped his tears, and they built up inside him until he could barely feel his heartbeat.
Have you ever stopped and looked into the eyes of Carl when you couldn’t call them ‘they’, despite them identifying that way? How oppressed those- ‘Choose’, ‘What were you born as though?’, ‘So which washroom-‘ made them feel?
Their eyes bled through the pain, the pain you so easily inflicted onto a 14-year-old. That one conversation has scarred their whole life.
Have you ever wondered why Riya is so attached to her phone when she’s in 20 support groups and constantly checking up on her friends who have family problems, eating disorders, attachment and trust issues overwhelming their need for existence, to texting ‘I’m here for you’ to six different people just because their parents don’t know they need it?
Have you? Have you gone beyond your dialogues and tried to initiate a conversation instead?
Let’s talk when you do.
To the world, is a budding poet, a deep and forward thinker, a debater overly driven by her Sagittarius spirits and a multi-layered writer willing to put her mind to positive changes in the world.
To her friend, she’s a coffee-driven, spontaneous, impulsive and oxymoronic creative who often forgets the ‘normal’ way life goes to make her own.