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They always say that teenagers think that they’re invincible, that nothing can harm them. That’s why they always throw themselves into risky situations, do all the wrong things, live like it’s their last day. That’s why they party, drink, smoke, crash cars, vandalize property and laugh it off like nothing happened. That’s why they won’t wake until the sun is overhead and won’t sleep until it’s about to rise.
They always say that teenagers don’t care what other people think. That’s why they shoot off their mouths, scream colorful words, talk back with a snarl. That’s why they bluff, boast, brag, and act arrogant because after all, nothing can hurt them. That’s why they threaten others, dare people to do things that they don’t want to do, verbally abuse people. That’s why they fashion words into daggers and nails on a chalkboard, digging up new wounds and opening up the old ones.
They always say that teenagers only know what they desire. That’s why they steal from stores, run away from the police, loot places rich with luxuries. That’s why they copy off answers, cheat on tests, don’t do their homework because there is always someone with the answers. That’s why they chew gum in class, mouth off the teachers, sit with their legs wide open at another person’s house. That’s why they dress in rags, in clothes that show so much skin, clothes graffitied with useless words and images. That’s why they play their own music at the highest volume, singing and dancing and not caring what others think because it’s what they want. That’s why they don’t understand any current events happening in the world, don’t understand anything that actually matters.
They always say that teenagers don’t understand what’s good for them. That’s why they never listen to their parents, push back their responsibilities, wait until the last minute for everything. That’s why they always crash and burn, just to do everything again. That’s why they’re lazy, addicted to social media, glued to their phones. That’s why they roll their eyes whenever criticism comes their way. That’s why they ignore criticism and stuff it in the backs of their minds, never to be opened again.
They always say that teenagers are only in love with the idea of being in love. That’s why they confess to people in such lavish ways, spend too much precious money on asking others to prom. That’s why they flirt around, send winks and eye smiles, make empty promises that dissipate into the air once confronted. That’s why sugar and cream and everything sweet pours out of their mouths while they are, after all, just sweet nothings. That’s why their I love you’s turn into I hate you’s in a matter of seconds. That’s why gossip spreads like wildfire, why someone that is their friend is only an acquaintance, and then a stranger, in a blink of an eye.
They always say that teenagers are good for nothings.
They always say that teenagers think that they’re invincible, that nothing can harm them. That’s why they cry over rejection, crumple under harsh words, choose the safe route over what they truly want to do with their lives. That’s why they live each day just waiting for it to pass over their heads so that they can finally get to the next day, where everything just repeats itself over and over again. That’s why they spend late nights doing homework and projects that really don’t always matter and then laugh it off the next day as if getting three hours of sleep is no big deal. That’s why they worry so much about getting good grades: so that they at least have some progress to show the people that don’t really give a damn about progress, only an end result.
They always say that teenagers don’t care what other people think. That’s why they beat themselves up over one thing that one person says. That’s why they spend hours agonizing over something that someone said ages ago and wondering exactly what he or she meant in the first place. That’s why they never truly say what they think, in fear of isolation or rejection. That’s why they bluff, so they at least have something to cover up any weaknesses. That’s why they cut their arms and wrists: to connect the dots of hurt, betrayal, and depression together like the constellations in the sky. That’s why they let rivers flow from underneath their eyelids at night, only to let them dry up so they can pave it over in the mornings. That’s why they smile like that. That’s why they’re just pieces of colored glass waiting for something to glue them back together, only to have waited too long so they can only piece themselves back together haphazardly with duct tape and safety pins. That’s why being “unique” has become a type of normal. That’s why the word “expression” is devoid of meaning: because nobody truly does it anyway.
They always say that teenagers only know what they desire. That’s why they give up so many could-have-beens for all the what-will-bes. That’s why they throw away dreams like crumpled pieces of paper into the trash bin, where it makes a sound that is reminiscent of a sigh. That’s why they’re always afraid to ask for something because nobody trusts them with anything anyway. That’s why they stay up until the stars go to sleep for acknowledgment that may never come to them in this lifetime. That’s why they bottle up so many words: because they are letters that are always written but never sent, only to be burnt in the furnace of one’s mind. That’s why they listen to their music: because only then do they live in an illusioned reality that some people actually achieved their dreams. That’s why they see the hate that poisons society and blurs their vision with tears.
They always say that teenagers don’t know what’s good for them. That’s why they are always entangled with the social aspect of politics, shouting for “equality” and “justice” for everyone while they rarely experience equality or justice in their own lives. That’s why they take hours weighing the options of a choice and going with it after sacrificing everything they know. That’s why they pick up all the ashes after they make mistakes and try to rekindle the embers into a flame that can burn at least a little bit longer than the last time. That’s why they’re unmotivated: because the people around them have stopped caring. That’s why they are struck by glancing blows with every word of criticism and keep all the wounds inside to seem stronger, only to wither into lowly weeds and shrubs. That’s why all the words pile up and topple the pyramid of self-esteem over on its sides just for them to build it up again, but it’s just too tiring and hopeless to keep rebuilding.
They always say that teenagers are only in love with the idea of being in love. That’s why they will never confess anything until the last moment, and by then, it’s already too late. That’s why they write long speeches on thin paper airplanes only to never throw them to another person’s heart. That’s why they make empty promises and feel even more empty when they can’t fulfill it. That’s why they are always desperate for another person: because the universe, although always devastatingly large, will be a lot less lonely with someone else. That’s why words that are brushed off as nonsense always mean something to them, even if it is subconscious. That’s why an I-hate-you never truly means that, and that’s why a true I-love-you is so precious because it is so rarely genuine. That’s why they always see the people closest to them disappear like smoke, just how strangers fade into the background like water vapor. That’s why they fight for the rights of everyone to love each other without being ashamed. That’s why they are fighting for everyone to love anyone even if they can’t ever love anyone the way they truly want to. That’s why they throw everything and anything aside to make others happy even if they can’t conjure that kind of happiness for themselves. That’s why they are always setting fire to themselves to keep others warm.
They always say that teenagers are good-for-nothings.
That’s why they’re working so hard to change those perceptions.
The world is waiting for them to do what they know best: defying the odds.