Sunday, August 1, 2010

Teenage Wasteland - Maybe or Maybe Not

Over the last two weeks I've had the privilege to meet a few teenagers and discuss with them what their lives are like. When I was younger I dealt with the same things most teenage girls face drugs, sex, and feeling pressured to give up my empowerment as a woman. I remember at that time feeling ugly, alone and simply just uncomfortable in my own skin. I also had a friend who committed suicide when I was 17, it haunted me deeply and created a wave of guilt that almost ruined my life.

I'm always curious about how teenagers feel now because the world is even more fast paced, superficial, and pressured than it was when I was in High School. The young girls I spoke with explained that they did feel extreme pressure to be thin, beautiful and to have sex before they were ready. I wonder why the parents aren't more involved in helping these young women get a foothold?

What I also found fascinating was the explanation of their intimate relationships with their boyfriends. They described to me in detail emotionally abusive relationships but it didn't even occur to them the repercussions of this. Personally I've experienced abuse when I was a teenager and it took me years of hard work and self reflection to be able to move forward. But I still have moments of terror remembering my first relationship and the pain it caused.

Essentially I think most people tend to avoid anything uncomfortable or emotional because we fear being engulfed by it. Also when you engage in opening up and being vulnerable there is a chance of people considering you "weak". I have complete respect for men who engage in any vulnerability because I think society has really forsaken them by considering it a weakness. That only leads to suppressed emotion which in turn can lead to self destructive behaviors, addictions and numbing pain never ever works!

It angers me intensely that society engages in things that help strip men and women of self esteem and power. I do think pain and suffering are extreme teachers in growth though so I don't worry too much about the upcoming generation or my own they will figure it out.

I also wish the parents of these teenagers would open their eyes a bit and try to understand their kids and what they face. These kids need to be loved, appreciated and taught about superficiality. To the women who are measuring themselves against magazines etc those are NOT a true representation but airbrushed lies don't buy into it. It comes down to one word profit so why allow that to be your marker of self worth.

Also parents need to teach their kids how to navigate in this world sometimes you need to go against the grain which can in turn cause others to attack you. People do like to keep things within a certain range so the moment you choose to fully express yourself it can cause problems. I will say I've engaged in a wide range of things and to me the most satisfying living has come from allowing myself to feel and express whatever emotion has come up whether positive or negative. The key is to honor yourself which leads to honoring others.

Just a thought

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