Author’s Note: This is not an excerpt. This is not a writing piece that I would usually post here. This is me. Real, raw, unedited, me.
I am angry.
Constantly. Every waking second of every day I am angry. At myself. At others. At no one in particular. I am always angry.
But today I am angry with good reason.
I am a senior in high school. I am a person who tries to earn the respect of others instead of demanding it. I am a girl who writes instead of cutting. I am a human, though sometimes I am a poor excuse for one. I have a job. I can drive a manual. I cook and clean and take care of the house that I live in because it is needed, not because it is asked of me. I am a young woman striving for the next part of her life, a better, more stable, part of her life.
I am also treated like a child.
At 17 years old, I have to ask permission to go to speak. To go to the bathroom. To call my mother. To take a step outside to calm my anxiety attack.
At 17 years old, I am looked down upon by adults not because I am short (though I’m told every day that I am) but because they find me naive. Uneducated. Immature. Irresponsible. Helpless. Mentally and emotionally handicapped.
At 17 years old, I am a prisoner.
I am more than the numbers on my report card. I am more than the number of loads of dishes I’ve done today. I am more than a girl with a head full of fantasies (though, being a writer, I have a lot of those).
I am smart. I am brave. I am defiant when it is called for. I am determined.
And yet I am treated as though I am nothing more than a shadow. A stranger in a room full of friends. A wildflower in a field of roses.
Worse yet, I am treated like a criminal.
“Teenagers can’t be trusted!” I’m told.
“Kids your age are reckless!” they say.
“Wait until you get out in the real world.”
“You’re too young to understand.”
“You don’t know what’s best for you; ask an adult for help.”
I am suffocated by stifled creativity and lack of real guidance. I am smothered by rules and regulations and consequences when I don’t measure up to perfection. I am prevented from happiness because I am drowning in responsibilities without being allowed privileges. I am dying.
My opinions are devalued on a daily basis because what I think doesn’t align with what you think, and for some reason that makes me wrong. More than that, it decreases my credibility. If I’m wrong one time, I’m wrong every time.
Welcome to the life of a teenager.
What would adulthood be without having to recover from the teen years?
But hear me.
This is not the life I want to live. This is not the life I want to remember.
I want to be trusted. I’ve earned that much. I’ve made some bad decisions and caused some trouble, but nothing worth this cruel, enduring punishment I live through day in and day out. I want to be allowed to grow up.
Please let me grow up.
Please see my side. Please understand that I have the best of intentions. Please stop punishing me for what I cannot control. I am not others, and others are not me. Please try to understand how I feel.
Because I think if you were me…
You’d be angry too.