Let’s talk about how much it sucks to be a teenage girl.
BONUS: A helpful “how-to” tip after each sucky problem on how to react when you recognize a girl in her upper teens with whom you are acquainted displaying the sucky problem.
We have no idea what we want.
Even if we say we do, we don’t. I recently got into an argument with my boyfriend, who I insisted was acting “clingy”/”desperate”/”attached”. I was searching for specific examples of things he’d done to make me feel that way, and the only recollection I could muster was the time he left roses for me on my doorstep.
The conversation went something like this.
Cath: You’re always acting all obsessed with me. I feel like I can’t even breathe. You’re suffocating me.
Boyfriend: What? Like when?
Cath: I don’t know! You just are!
Boyfriend: Cath, what am I doing?
Cath: Like last night! With the roses! It’s just too much. I’m sorry. I need my space. I need my independence.
Boyfriend: Wait, so you didn’t like the roses?
Yes. No. ARGH.
Cath: I don’t like what most girls like.
Yeah okay, Cath. Fun fact: I love roses.
HOW TO REACT: If your young lady friend is attempting to explain her emotions, but is clearly contradicting herself, or when her actions contradict what she claims her emotions to be, give her time. She doesn’t know what she wants, and that’s okay. You can’t expect her to. Give her a little bit of time to think over everything she’s feeling and when she’s had time to process her emotions, she will get back to you. Don’t push it.
MOOOOD SWINNGGSSS. UUUUGHHH. One of the hardest things about becoming a woman is dealing with the raging hormones and all their side effects, including the infamous mood swing. Contrary to popular belief, mood swings aren’t always manic-depressive. Sometimes a mood swing consists of suddenly slipping into an intense feeling of sadness in the middle of an otherwise routine day. Usually I don’t recognize the slipping, only once I’ve slipped.
What sucks the most about mood swings is when others try to help. Yes, you read that right. Somebody will ask, “Are you okay?” and it only makes you more upset. 9 times out of 10 I respond with a stern “I’m FINE.” Then I immediately feel bad, of course, for snapping at someone who was only trying to be compassionate.
HOW TO REACT: When your young lady friend is inexplicably acting mad, sad, pissy, or downright crazy, do NOT ask her about it, and do NOT comment on it. (ie. “Well you’re awfully pissy today.” This is a death wish.) Instead, offer her one of her favorite drinks and/or invite her to plans for later. Here are some examples:
Mother: Hey sweetie, I’m making some hot chocolate, do you want some?
Boyfriend: Hey babe, I know you really want to see that new Ryan Gosling movie. There’s a showing tomorrow night at 7. You down for a movie night?
Friend: Yo, want the rest of my Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee?
The inner battle between the part of us that wants to be spontaneous and daring and explore the world, and the part of us that wants to curl up in bed and live inside Twitter, Instagram and Netflix until the coming of the apocalypse to end the human race.
I firmly believe that each and every girl in her upper teens living in a middle to upper class society can identify with this struggle to at least a small extent. The era of social media has given us teens the ability to create our own personalized utopias. We create Pinterest boards filled with our favorite fashions, travel destinations, project ideas, dream homes, custom closet designs, high heels, makeup, hairdos, manicures, and even photos of things that don’t mean much at all on the surface, but evoke a feeling of liberty and spontaneity in our teenage minds.
These pictures make us feel free. They inspire us to design, to travel, to take risks, to dare to live. The ironic effect is that we spend so many hours sitting in front of a computer screen, pinning away our secret perfect lives while we waste the only one we have to live. We feel safe inside our Pinterest idealist worlds, our customized Twitter and Instagram newsfeeds that cater to our every interest. They are security blankets. We live inside these personalized, electronic idealizations of the world because the real world pales in comparison, but that intrinsic desire to experience the fabrications of these worlds– that is, in reality– never really goes away. We will always wish to travel to all the pinned locations on our travel board “in real life”, if only we could ever muster up the determination to stop pinning and just book the tickets.
So because we have these two sides of ourselves fighting for mental priority all the time, all we really get from this battle at the end of the day is reassurance that we have NO IDEA WHAT WE WANT. (See (1).)
HOW TO REACT: If a young lady you care about says she identifies with “wanderlust,” yet spends the majority of her day staring at a screen, congratulations! You have a completely normal 21st century teenager. Feel free to use her as a control specimen in your next scientific experiment. Probe away!
The more you know.
Update: Boyfriend has stopped acting “clingy”. In fact, he has stopped telling me he loves me altogether. ASLKdg;lsjdsgla;lk