Mostly, I'm struggling with this thought that I've been wasting a lot of time. We're learning about the 1950s in my history class, and the beginnings of rock and roll along with the development of youth culture has been a fairly significant part of the last week. I love all of it, and I think it's really interesting, but my teacher has this way of stating for a fact that everyone is going to settle down and have a family someday that puts me on edge. The other day he said something along the lines of:
"Teenagehood is the age of rebellion. It always has been. Your parents knew that too, but one day you'll grow up and find that there is a game to be played, and if you want to win, people realize that it's better to fall into those lines."
And suddenly I was sitting there in class, filled with abject terror that someday I would think that way too. Does it happen all at once? Will I suddenly wake up one day at twenty three and decide that the counter culture fostered and nurtured by teenagers is no longer worth it? Or is it more like a slow, crawling death, where I watch everything that I used to love draining of color until they aren't interesting anymore?
I have adored the idea of rebellion and counter culture and the gorgeous underbelly of society for so long, but I haven't done anything about it for fear of ostracizing myself. I don't want that to matter any more. I thought I was waiting until I had more opportunity, or more money, or more time. Apparently that window closes the moment I grow up. Wasn't college supposed to be my time of rebellion too?
I don't want to waste anything else. I want to discover new music, new people, new problems, and new places, until I can tell him that he's wrong wrong wrong wrong and that I will fight back against anything I want to for as long as I can. It may not come as a surprise, but growing older is probably my greatest fear. The knowledge that someday I'll have to slow down, take smaller steps, stop taking leaps of faith, horrifies me. My life right now has been the best I can ever remember and I know that there's still years yet for it to get even better but at the moment I'm loathe to leave it in my past.
Teenagers will always be the ones that are changing the world. When has anything happened in pop culture that wasn't spearheaded by a group of passionate and rebellious young people? When has anything happened ever without young people shoving it into the light of day?
I want to change the world. I want to incite rebellion, start a movement, lead a crusade. I want my life to be burning fire, sparks flying and wings spreading until I become a part of the undeniable history of the universe. The sanctity of the teenage years doesn't come from the glorious hell that is puberty; the sanctity of the teenage years comes from our first roots of self expression as people who are beginning to have a say into what's happening in the world. Teenagers are known as difficult and rebellious because it's our time of self discovery, and the selves we are discovering aren't happy with the fucked up world that is being handed to us. Don't invalidate the rebellion of teenagers just because someday you think we'll fall in line and play the game. There is no game! The only game is the one that you and your generation have perpetuated to keep yourselves on top. Don't discredit our desire for things to change, and don't contradict us when we say that what you see for us in our future is not what we want for ourselves.
And yes, this has basically turned into a rant, because I am angry. Teenagers are so important to the future and the thought that everything I am now is being written off as whimsy before I settle in is so disrespectful. I am not someone who needs to be tolerated until I grow up and become what you deem an acceptable adult. That is you telling me that what I feel and what I think isn't valid until I grow out of it and start catering to society's standards for me. And that is unacceptable.
This is the same anger that I feel when I think about the way I am treated and considered as a teenage girl as well. This is the same teacher that predicts a marriage, and a husband, and a bunch of kids for everyone, and I want to scream that he has no right to tell us what we want, and he has no right to decide that this future is our only option. I want to shout about stupid and unfair dress codes, and discrimination in the government, and the whining about unfair standards from boys who will grow up to make more money than me because I was born female. I don't want to be told that all of this is just a part of typical teenage contrary-ness, that yeah, feminism is totally a thing and there aren't really any groups that are treated as second class citizens any more. I am not a woman who needs to be pandered to until I agree with the way you interpret modern womanhood.
And so I'm going to take this fucking anger, and I am going to manifest it in something beautiful and dangerous, and I am going to spit in the face of people who think young people, young girls, are irrelevant to today or the future. I will rebel now, and if I ever wake up someday thinking that nothing needs to change, I will rebel again. I will travel and learn new things, and I will protest until you can hear me. And I will win the stupid game, because I have shattered it and reshaped it until it is unrecognizable as what you knew. I will win because I have changed the fucking game.