I wish I could stay a child forever. As a child, I never had to bother with what clothes I wore, what I said, or how I acted. It was all so simple. Someone you could play with was considered your friend; if someone wouldn’t play with you, you’d just have to convince them to be your friend anyway. It didn’t matter if they were boys or girls, if they were good at school or not – anyone that could smile and laugh was noticed.
Being a teenager, though, is not simple. You have to be very careful to act precisely right. If you stick out too much, you are attention-seeking. If you don’t stick out enough, you are a wallflower. It might sound simple, but the problem is that you never know exactly where the difference is. You have to be somewhere in between nothing and extreme.
When you’re a teenager, it does matter how you act, what you say and wear, and who your friends are. You have to belong to a stereotyped group, and act accordingly. You can’t be good friends with people of the opposite sex without there being unwanted rumors. When I was a child, nobody cared if I had a sleepover with a boy. Now, my parents would not even have considered it (I wouldn’t have considered it either, but that’s just because of the rumors I would have to endure. Despite what some people might think, you don’t have to be related to have a completely platonic relationship.).
Somehow, some of my family have gotten it in their heads that I should wear make-up and care about fashion. Just because I’m a teenage girl, I should love shopping. Of course I can shop (and enjoy it) or wear make-up occasionally (even if I don’t like to admit it), but I’d rather practice with bows and arrows or read a good book. My interests (bow and arrows, reading, drawing, playing soccer and handball), my friends and my family, are some of the things that are important to me. It makes me stick out a little, though not necessarily always in a good way. I don’t get attention the way I “should” – wearing nice clothes and whatnot. I stick out because I’m quiet and have different hobbies and interests than most. I don’t know quite how it happened, but I somehow managed to stick out as a wallflower.
Talking about stereotyped groups and all that, one thing has to be made clear; it’s an idiotic concept that I don’t agree with. There are a lot of things I should and/or could have been, but I never said I cared about that. In a way, I’ve lived my whole life trying not to be what I should, but what I want (sounds clichéd, I know, but it works!). If someone should notice me, it will not be because of me acting like a sheep and being like everyone else. I tried that once (I scowled at someone just because everyone else did) – afterwards I felt stupid, degraded, humiliated, guilty and angry at myself. It is not something I’d like to repeat.
Luckily, I’ve got good friends who don’t care about what everyone else says. I think that, maybe, if I didn’t have my friends, I’d try to be someone else. I’ve got people who don’t think I’m weird – and even better, people who don’t think weird is a bad thing. However, being a teenager is difficult nonetheless.
I still wish I could be a child forever, after all.
Karina aka Ina-Nate.