I have a big family with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. The next generation is also starting to grow up. I can remember baby Jessica being very confused by the man with glasses growing his hair. What was he? Since then, I have got my eyes zapped but the long hair has made a comeback. Jess is now 13! Being on the other side of the big pond (I am a Soutie with one foot in England and one foot in South Africa), I don't get to see them as often as I like. One advantage for me of the technology age is that doesn't mean I can't be a part of their world. I am super chuffed to introduce her as my youngest ever guest poster, as she talks about feeling like an anomaly.
Jessica, Janet (her Mom, my cousin) and Ryan
by Jessica (Age 13)
Society rules most teenagers' lives, from what i have realised. Their clothes, their shoes, their hair, their words; the way they talk; the pictures they take; the way they pose for pictures; posting the pictures; where they post them; why they post them; what they say when they post them; their friends; their marks; their bags; their attitudes. All of these are basically controlled by society. I would know. I am also, unfortunately, one of society's victims.
Society controls most things about me, even though i know it shouldn't. Most people spend their whole teenage years trying to impress society, my question is, why? What is so important about society that it has the role of taking over our lives. To be quite honest I'm tired of always trying to impress people. Why cant being ourselves be enough?
I have just entered my early teenage years and I'm already feeling the pressure of society. I am constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends, when who I really am, is just drifting me away from me. I have seen so many people suffer from the pressures of society. I thought all teenagers these days were influenced by the world around them, but I was wrong. I thought to be cool or what we call "popular", you have to be in with all the trends and have the best shoes. I was wrong. I thought for people to recognise a teenager as anything but weird, you had to have at least 400 followers on Instagram. Yet again, i was wrong. You might be thinking that what i just said is exactly what you need to be "recognised". No, it isn't.
I know you've heard this before but, you can be just you. I thought I was the only one getting tired of this whole "gotta-make-an-impression" thing, but I was wrong. Lately I've made some new friends who don't really let society get the best of them and actually, they are some of the most amazing people I have met for a long time. I have learnt more about some of these people in a day then i have about most people. These teens actually don't care about what others around them judge them for. They are themselves. I think it's inspiring and incredible how emotionally strong they are. I am trying to make sure I surround myself with more people like this. They still like the same music and same clothes and shoes as me, but, it doesn't control their lives. And ... it helps that their personalities are just incredible.
Most teenagers my age are just looking for serious relationships. Everywhere on social media, you see posts reminding you to want that "special someone" or "bae". I'm so sick of always being told by other girls my age that we must impress the boys so that they will like us. Being told that wearing this or that will make us look hot or attractive. No. Most boys don't even put in half the effort for girls. Girls spend so much time on their make-up and hair. I don't even think boys care if your eyeliner is "on" or "under" your waterline. Why can't we be ourselves for them to like us?
Yes, I have "dated" before but to be honest, I'm not really interested yet. Everyone is so shocked when I tell them I haven't had a proper "first kiss" and I always tell them that it's never crossed my mind and I'm just not really interested. I don't want to kiss a guy just to tell society that I have. I prefer keeping guys as my close friends. If you have to change how you are for a guy, or girl to like you, it's not worth it. They must like you for who you are.
This generation is basically moulded by technology. Phones, iPads, tablets, computers, laptops.... If I had to ask someone to have a real conversation with me, the chances are, they won't be able to. I think our generation is just so thirsty for information, and technology is full of it. We are hungry for constant information, whether it's talking to our friends on Whatsapp and Snapchat or scrolling through Instagram. I learnt a few days' ago that your brain can process 10 pictures in a second. That's amazing.
Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp
Back on topic: Some people are going to completely disagree with what I have said. Then again, its just my opinion. Today, I have decided I am going to change, not for society, but for me. I am going to be myself and who ever can't handle it, well, I guess you are entitled to your own opinion. I am just so thankful to have met those people who have opened my eyes and shown me that being myself is better than anything else. Don't get me wrong, none of my friends have been a mistake. They have all taught me new things and different lessons.
I'm going to be a Pineapple and stand tall. Wear a crown on my head, and I will be sweet on the inside.