Let’s play” truth or dare.” And since I’m a chicken, I pick “truth.” Yes, it’s true I often forget that I was once a teenager.
When I was 15, I got up every morning at 5:00am to straighten my hair with an iron. I enrolled in a gym class, knowing I’d be the only girl. I fantasized about that one particular classmate in high school, who would one day trip and fall into a pile of cow manure. I took it as a sign of matrimony when my crush and I had lockers side by side in the hallway. I took it as a sign that my life was ending when he started dating the girl whose locker was on the other side. I used MSN religiously and Seventeen Magazine was my Bible. Pulling an all-nighter and attending parties filled with twelfth graders were considered lifelong goals. Skipping health class or talking on the phone past midnight were acts of rebellion.
Seven years later, I sat beside a group of teenage girls on a transit bus. The girls were discussing the burdens of their sweet little lives.
Sometimes we forget that 15 had its hurdles. Trigonometry was hard. Punnett squares were harder. Why did I have to make my bed, when I would be getting back into it twelve hours later? My parents wouldn’t let me date until-never. Did they want grandchildren or not? I went from a size zero to a size one in pant size. My life was definitely over.
I’m just kidding. Life wasn’t over at 15. But I remember feeling like it had come to a halt, because kids can be cruel. In high school,if you were in, you were in for the next four years. If you weren’t, prepare for Hell. This Hell included sharp and painful words by fellow peers, a waterfall of tears everyday after school, a lunch date with a bathroom stall, a fake doctor’s note to get out of class, and thoughts –thoughts that can easily turn into regretful actions. Today, as our world is growing smaller, this type of Hell is spreading faster. It’s bigger and more powerful than ever. Hell is at school, on the Internet or even at home.
I bet that’s what it was like for Amanda Todd. Unfortunately, at 15 Amanda felt like her life was over. And I’m sure that’s how many teens feel today. It seems unfair doesn’t it? A beautiful life toyed with, and damaged by kids.
Hell. That’s what they’re in. It’s worse than fire and pitchforks because it’s words and someone’s self value. A bully not only plays with someone’s feelings, but insults their purpose as a human being.
When you’re in Hell, you’re put there for foolish reasons. Sometimes they shove you in there for no reason at all. But you’re there, and it feels like you’re stuck.
You’re right girls, 15 can be hard. Thanks for the reminder.
Okay, now “dare.” I dare you to remember when you were 15. Were you in or were you out? Remember those who were out. Was it you? Was it someone who sat behind you in English? Was it someone on your volleyball team?
What was Hell like for them? And how can we stop it from spreading?