Tonight I spent a few hours reliving my youth through movies. Gems like, The Breakfast club and Sixteen Candles. The latter was never one of my faves but it is a cute movie. The Breakfast Club however perfectly sums up teenaged angst. That movie rang so true to me as a kid. The pressure from parents, society and peers. The drama, the anger, the confusion. The belief that the whole world revolves around you and what you are going through. I have always thought I had kept a pretty good handle on remembering what it felt like to be a kid and doing my best to understand each stage as they go through it. Tonight watching the “Brat pack” express pain, fear and intense rage towards their parents and society as a whole truly brought it rushing back to me just what a tumultuous time our teenage years can be. One quote by writer/director John Hughes displayed at the bottom of the screen made me chuckle and yet it is so true (I paraphrase here because I don’t remember the exact quote)- sometimes feeling bad is just as satisfying as feeling good.
It’s true, teenagers can revel in their own pain just as much as their own happiness. A melodrama is much more exciting than a happy tale.
Finding yourself as a teenager is just as traumatic for some as birth. Your whole world is changing whether you are ready or not. You are hurtling towards a scary unknown and the people trying to help you get there can seem pretty scary and cruel. Throw in some scrubs, surgical masks and forceps and the scenarios are interchangeable in the minds eye. The journey to adulthood is all at once thrilling and terrifying. Everything you experience seems utterly unique and completely unlike anything your parents would have ever experienced therefore their advice is astoundingly useless.
Parents just don’t understand- a Will Smith song I sang as a teen like it was the theme song to my life, now I listen to it and hear a song about an ungrateful, materialistic punk who commits grand theft and nearly statutory rape. Ah, how our perspectives change. How good it feels when we finally crawl out of our heads and leave the drama and angst behind. When family becomes a source of comfort again and not the enemy. When you realize that the bad moments are just that-moments. When the immediate becomes less important than the big picture. Leaving all that behind can be such a relief……. right up until you live it again, as a parent. Then, it is so important to remember how it felt . It is crucial to go back and feel it again and empathize even when it is you they are railing against. To remember, to guide them but most of all to let them experience it. Nothing is harder for a parent than seeing your child hurt and you can’t take it away. You always want them to have it easier and not to make the same mistakes you did but life doesn’t always work out that way so the best you can do is to learn from your own mistakes and be there for them as they learn from theirs.
I think it’s wrong not to allow someone the right to have a problem because of their age. People say, ‘Well, they’re young. They have their whole lives ahead of them. What do they have to complain about?’ They forget very quickly what it’s like to be young.