I know this girl.
She’s pretty awesome.
You might know her, too.
In fact you probably know a lot of girls just like her. Smart. Sassy. Beautiful. Compassionate. Kind. Funny. Loyal. Honest.
Confused. Hurt. Lost. Rejected. Silent.
The rejection is palpable. The hurt is tangible. The confusion makes us cry. The silence is heartbreaking. We all just want to find our way back home.
It’s easy to shrug and just say “hrumph, teenagers!” because we all know growing up is hard. If you say that you had an awesome adolescence, I call bullshit. I don’t think there is such a thing. It is filled with heartbreak, awkward changes, impulsiveness, bad choices…a road littered with shit and more shit, usually left by friends who suddenly turn on you for no apparent or logical reason. It is pimples and periods and passive-aggressiveness. It is meanness and mourning and middle-school manic moods. It is little victories like a text from a boy you like and a reprieve on an assignment you missed. It is moments where you are stuck between wanting to be a grown-up but needing your mom to take care of you.
These experiences are incontrovertible. They have been shared by teens around the world since the beginning of time. Cave girls who put on their best furs to lure their lovers. Girls from the 50’s who put on racy red lipstick in the school bathroom and dreamed of wearing Biff’s letterman’s jacket. Those of us from the eighties who rolled up our skirts and waited by the phone to find out who was meeting at the roller rink or movie theater.
Incontrovertible, for sure, but what has changed for our daughters and sons is the access to each other. They have never heard a busy signal, have never had to wait to use the phone or wait a whole day for an answer to the “Check-Yes-or-No-Do-You-Like-Me? note”. They text, they use Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Kik to chat. They are instantly rewarded or rejected. And what these kids have to say to each other can be pure evil. Evil. And the words, there forever, easily read and reread, are deeply scarring.
At my house we are trying to slow the flow of hatefulness and unseemliness by limiting access, by talking more and having “courageous” and very uncomfortable conversations. I thought I was savvy because I am friends with my kids on FB, I follow them on Twitter…but I underestimated the ability for a teenager to circumvent my “safeguards,” and now we are dealing with circumstances that are mind boggling, consequences that will last a lifetime for everyone involved.
The rejection is palpable. The hurt is tangible. The confusion makes us cry. The silence is heartbreaking. We all just want to find our way back home. We’re tired of stumbling around in the dark, looking for the light switch that someone moved while we weren't looking.
I know this girl. She’s pretty awesome.
And she’s going to be ok. She’s smart, sassy, beautiful, compassionate, kind, funny, loyal, honest, strong and brave.