I am so thankful I am not a teenager anymore.
I am always suspicious that I am still stuck in my teens. I was worried I can’t point out if adulthood has arrived or not. I have the same rage as a teenager. I carry the sadness that begun then even now.
But I am relieved to realize I am not a teen anymore thanks to the opportunity to teach teenagers.
And I realize I don’t relate to the shit they put themselves through.
In my imagination, teenage years are so wise, so rebellious, revolving around the community of your friends. But then, when I see my students go through the horrible torture that is puberty, I pay my gratitude to the universe. Thank you universe that I am not pandering to the male gaze like that anymore. Thank you universe that I don’t beckon for drama “that much“ anymore. Thank you universe that I don’t get wildly upset about things anymore. Thank you universe that I am not as conscious of my body anymore. Thank you, time.
Thank you, Me. We made it through!
I tend to fight with my students as if they are my equals. To my disappointment, I’ve come to realize that they are developing their egos and self-worth and I have the power in the situation. So, I have no option but to calm down and remember that they’re in that weird space between childhood and adulthood, but basically still children. Bah! So, in no way, we are equals. It’s so annoying, because like I said, I fondly remembered my teenage-self as intelligent, rebellious and argumentative that arguing with an adult would’ve been the thrill of my life. Now, I watch my students feel anger or humiliation in an argument, and I have to back off. Maybe the relationship is not there yet, or maybe I am misremembering those times.
I try to relate to where they’re coming from, and sometimes when I witness their group dynamics with all the sexual tension and self-consciousness, I am like- I don’t relate to this shit, thank god! I do remember being all kinds of everything they are. So now, I am just a frank friend who communicates and clarifies all the time. So much of teaching is parenting. It’s emotional labour I didn’t think I was capable of or wanted to do, but I must do. There is no option.
Watching this hilarious show Big Mouth is cathartic. For every viciousness that teenagers tend to throw, in my mind, I imagine all the pathetic that is in store for them in the coming years (all the firsts accompanied with all the traumas), that I have no need for a comeback. Bas, I am not the teen in this situation. Thank you, time! 😛
I watched another cool show called “Patrick Melrose” recently with Benedict Cumberbatch playing an addict with ironic humour (again). I don’t like watching sad shows but I decided I need his accent in my life. It was a well-written, well-made show. What stood out for me was how much the character Patrick was stuck in his childhood because of trauma. Even as an adult, his inner child would lay bare in situations that triggered those same emotions.
I reflected about how I am not stuck in my childhood, but haunted by my teenage years. I was discussing one of my students with the school counselor, and she was sharing the background of the kid, and I told her how there are many students who can split their sad home life and school life, and use the happy space of school to succeed and find their self-worth. The counselor agreed but added that in the long run, it’s not a good strategy. I have been thinking about how this was my own strategy as a child, and it worked perfectly fine for me, till when I became a teen and as a growing adult, I had to confront this split because decisions awaited. So, like Patrick Melrose, if there is a time that I remember that left me really vulnerable was my teenage years, and luckily not my childhood. (Lucky because ghanta, your parents will ever give you closure!)
But despite the trauma points in my teenage life, that I have to now and then untangle, I miss it. I miss not having this inner police inside my head. I miss the intensity of every opinion and emotion. Truly, it was the best of times, and the worst of times. I learned so much. I grew so much. I also started writing as a teen, which is now messily part of my ego. I also had a lot of time in my hands to reflect and heal, fortunately.
I miss it sometimes. A little bit. Then I look at my students, and I am like- No, #kthanksbye! 🙂
PS: throwback to my embarassing teenage writing style.