It's Just a Stage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Identical magnets repel each other. No matter what youdo, you can't make them stick together. For a long time, that's what my dad and Iwere like.

Growing up, my family was straightforward when dealing withissues, never beating around the bush. If a problem appeared, we fixed it. Thismeant that my siblings and I always knew how far we could go. All went prettywell when my brother and then my sister passed through adolescence, but then thebomb dropped - I turned 13.

At that time, for some reason, my personalitychanged from a somewhat shy girl who liked to read, to what I now affectionatelyrefer to as the time "when I was evil." I discovered I had a mouth, andstarted to use it. As a little girl, I was sweet, but suddenly I couldn't saymuch without being rude or disrespectful to a family member, especially myfather. He couldn't say anything to me. His simple "What did you dotoday?" would have me firing back "Dad, that's such a stupidquestion!" I would go weeks without saying one nice thing to him. Obviously,this caused an enormous conflict. We fought constantly about the most trivialthings. I even yelled at him once for telling me I looked thin because, in mymind, that meant I used to be fat.

As time passed, things varied. One daywe would get along, the other it would be a verbal war zone. I discovered,finally, that I was causing a lot of turmoil, and my family was suffering becauseof it. Eventually, it occurred to me that I was picking fights with my fatherbecause we were so much alike. Our relationships, our sense of humor, andespecially our temperaments mirrored each other's almost perfectly. For somereason, we didn't know how to live with someone so similar. We were those magnetswith the same charge, and someone needed to be flipped around or we wouldcontinue to resist each other forever.

I began an introspective search,resolving to fix my flawed personality. I looked closer at my dad, too, andstarted to realize what kind of man he is. He works hard to support his family,he helps friends who are in need, and he loves his children far more than I everimagined. Perhaps, somehow, if I could cease my relentless attitude-filledrampages, these qualities could be found in me, too. So, I tried.

Honestly, I found it difficult to change my ways. I had to stifle manyannoyed responses to my dad's sometimes repetitive questions, so I certainlydidn't transform into a perfect daughter overnight. I did improve, though, and mydad and I gradually managed to hold normal conversations. In the end, we workedout our differences, and I grew up.

Now, at 17, I look back on my earlyteen years and admit that I am bothered by them. I know that I wasted somevaluable time, and I with I had tried to be just a little more mature aboutpeople's idiosyncrasies. Yet, I learned an important lesson - don't write off aperiod of your youth as merely "a phase." Try hard, and you can movepast whatever is causing that tension in your family. Then, you can say good-byeto "evil girl" and have a character that you're proud of.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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