For my work currently, I’m looking at a very odd age group, the tween group. The too cool for Ronald McDonald, and too young for prom group: the very awkward age group of 9 to 14 years.
I’m ahem, a twenty-something right now, but if you were to ask me, what are the most
traumatising memorable moments of my life, I would probably say the ages of 9 to 14. I don’t remember much about my life before I was 8 but I do remember at 13, slamming doors and shouting at my parents: “You don’t understand me!”
Looking back, that age group was awfully difficult. I remember listening to Hitz FM when it first came out, thinking I was so effin’ with it because I listened to cool music now, and urgh, only boring adults listen to Mix FM* I wanted to grow up so quickly, I read Michael Chrichton without really understanding him to seem more adult, but devoured Christopher Pike in my room (good Lord, why on earth did I like his books so much, they’re like the predecessorts to emo). I pretended not to be interested in Sailormoon when in effect, I adored the series and used to tape them so I could rewatch them over.
It was at that precocious age that you are painfully aware how different you are to everyone. You want to be different and unique and you wanted to fit in. You find yourself falling in love for the first time and find your heart breaking and you swear, you’ll never love again. That is until the next cute boy walks next to you. Everything was just so much bigger and grander, and why is it that the world just won’t understand you.
Looking back, if there was any advice that I wished I could have told my tween self, was that, it will get easier one day. One day it won’t matter that you didn’t get that Guess shirt, it doesn’t look that nice anyway. And there are other funkier brands out there that are beyond your imagination. The world IS far greater than you imagined and one day, it IS possible to see everything and experience everything. And that loneliness you feel right now will dissipate with time, and you will find loves you.
And about being different and fitting in, that is a battle that you will face all your life, but it’s okay to be different, be proud of who you are because at the end of the day, what matters is what you feel about yourself and not what others feel about you. Because the fight will go on forever, at the very least, know that if you’re happy with you, you’ll be happy.
I won’t promise you that life will get easier, being an adult does suck, I’d rather still be a kid, or at least remain in university. They say that it’s one of the best times of your lives. I have to agree with them, it’s true.
But it’s not to say that I am belittling your pain. Learning to deal with pain is a way of maturing and you grow stronger that as things get tougher, you can handle it better. Having said all that, I would never want to go through the extremities of emotions that you went through at that age again.
Just remember though, however painful it might be at that point, it too shall pass.
Of course, knowing my younger self….I’d probably listen intently before tossing out all the advice given and whine how adults just don’t get me. Ahhh…youth.
*Nothing has changed there now, only boring adults listen to Mix FM. They put on the most tedious 80s music. For the longest time, I had a huge bias against 80s music until I watched Ashes to Ashes and realized, fuck it man, the 80s was awesome! I wished I was an adult then!