This I Believe

Adrienne - Juneau, Alaska
Entered on February 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Sixteen is a world full of highs and lows. It’s the greatest time in your life, also one where the rest of the world looks down on you. Being a teenager is classified as more of a disability, and less a time to learn about yourself. I walk down the crowded hall at my high school, the friendly shouts and punches flying all around me, I believe in adolescence.

When I was younger, still going to recess and steadfastly refusing to eat broccoli, there was nothing I feared more than the herds of highschoolers that roamed around my neighborhood. I would cower on the furthest side of the sidewalk, almost into the street, when I passed by one, positive they would take any chance to spit on me and beat me up. I’m sure a portion of my stigma against teenagers was purely out of intimidation, but thinking back, it was more complex of a fear than that.

My opinions were molded from those words I listened to flow from the mouths of the adults I knew. I would hear the word “teenager” and almost without fail the fallowing conversation would be negative; almost disgusted at what seemed to be this disgraceful –and very different– race of humans. Being myself, vying desperately for attention over my older brother, I never wanted to be demoted to that despicable level I had heard my mentors describe. I was terrified of what I was inevitably to become.

While some girls jumped into middle school, already anxious to begin a whirlwind of change, I fought it. I tried to pretend I wasn’t changing, that I never would. No way could I be brought so low, turned into a creature that caused so much frustration. Awkwardly and haltingly I pushed from 12 to 13, and somehow crashed into teenage land around 14. It was a striking phase of realization, that sometimes you have to just let go in order to be even close to happy.

I have definitely had my full dosage of adolescent blunders; been through most all of the stereotypical teen traumas. I think you have to make mistakes once in order to know for yourself what is wrong. These years are for experiencing everything that will make you an understanding and capable adult. Being sixteen you don’t know what age really is, and yet its sad to see that when you do age, its rare you remember what youth is. Who knows what I will know in fifteen years, who knows what I will think. I know one thing now though, and that is that I believe in adolescence.