Monday, April 16, 2012

The thing about writing for teens...



Is that you have to get teenagers. And sure, some of us remember what it was like back  in the days of the disco   when stirrup pants were cool  when Clueless hit the theaters  when we were teens, but I think the edges can get a little blurred. 


So for today's post, I questioned a few of our teen spies/analysts--and my teenaged cousin--about their favorite and least favorite things about being a teenager.

Their responses were so familiar to the things I remembered, while at the same time, could be used for serious character development and/or motivation. Here's what they had to say: 

Pros to being a teenager:

Hanging out with friends and very low taxes.

I love that I can just not do things I need to take care of, and the world won't end because of it. It's nice to know that there's no one out there depending on me so completely, and I don't have to worry about anyone but myself. 

I can act as crazy as I want, and just be odd, and my friends will make fun of me and strangers will give me odd looks but it doesn't matter because I'm me. 

I love the sense of possibility. There's so much you can DO, so much you can try. You're not quite a child but not quite an adult, smart enough to think for yourself but dumb enough to do all the things an adult never could or would. 

 Your whole life is spread before you, and it can be anything. 

The fact that I can get away with really stupid stuff "because I'm just a teen, and she'll definitely grow up before eighteen." 

I guess I like all the opportunities available to me, and the fact I can partake in a ton of different activities and extracurriculars, whereas as I know I won't have time for all I do now in a few years.

More self-awareness about the world around me. Every day, I gain more insight into everything around me, and I aim for more and more. Basically, figuring out how to use my teen years the most. Also, as the years go by, age restrictions will shift, and I'll be able to do more stuff. Car at sixteen? Cool.

I love not really having a lot that we need to care for. I mean, our parents pay for food, living costs, and anything else we might need. We have freedom without a ton of adult responsibility.

And the cons:

The stress of high school and nagging parents.

I don't like the restrictions, how I'm stuck at home when I want to party, and I'm suffocating in New York when I want to go see the world. 

I hate how 11 hours of my day are spent on school and going to/from it, and I come home to another three hours of homework. 

I want to learn to be my own person, not in my family's and my community's shadow, but I can't because I'm under 18 and I'm still in high school. Also: it kind of stinks that I can't get any solid summer jobs... 

I hate that my age is used to dismiss genuine problems or feelings. Adults have this tendency to write us away as "those hormonal teenagers." So, according to them, because our bodies are a soup of raging hormones, it makes all our problems and emotions completely trivial. We don't actually feel that sad, that happy, that in love. It's just the hormones. I wish they'd take us seriously. 

School. It's such hell, being in high school, because all you want to do is get out of it but darn, you have 2 years left, ("hang in there!") Also the fact that everything I do is considered "sketchy behaviour" and that we live in a very ageist society. 

Something I don't really like about being a teenager is the assumption that because I'm a teen I'm irresponsible or reckless or something like that that a lot of people have about teens.

Not enough freedom. While my ambitions go up, the amount of control I have plays catch-up, along with the amount of motivation I have. For example, I had been slacking on this Social Studies project that I'm supposed to do, but it doesn't help that I don't have enough incentive to do it. I rarely need 100% for any school assignment. On the other hand, I find that I don't have enough motivation for the more important stuff. I have suffered at least one emotional breakdown due to anxiety.

But back on freedom. Sometimes, I feel like not everyone in the house is on the same page. At times, I feel so paranoid about one of my siblings snatching my laptop from me or--even worst--looming over my shoulder, that it kills my motivation. Also, there's the fact that I feel like I'm not like most people, especially boys, my age. The social pressure sometimes worries me into wondering whatever I'm not making the best of what little time I have as a teen.

I don't really like being told what to do. I am a pretty independent, stubborn person who has a tiny issue with a authority, so being told what to do rubs me the wrong way at times. I always do what I'm told, I just mumble under my breath about it the whole time :D




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