In almost every book about school, there is some kind of bully. Either it's the popular, hot pink lip-gloss blond chick, or the big-and-burly, brawn-but-no-brain thug. At my school, however, there is no one single bully. Instead, the student body is separated into groups: jocks, hot people, funny people, gangster people, stupid people, and nerds. I fall into the nerd category, as do most of my friends. We're the people who are going to be found with our noses in books, or the ones with straight-A's. We don't have the saggy pants, or the trophies from football games, or the rows upon rows of Aéropostale clothing. And so, instead of one bully picking on one person, it's more of an entire student body looking down their noses and sneering at you. I can't count the number of times I've entered a school restroom (shudder) to overhear snide comments about me or one of my friends, or read the bad-mouthing of smart people that has been scribble for years on top of desks and tables and chairs. But for me, it goes even deeper. You see...I love music. I play violin, piano, guitar, and sing. I'm the one who gets solos in the school choirs. And it really bugs me when I do get solos and that sort of thing, because all my life I've cared more than I should about what people think of me. I worry about my clothes, what they'll say if they see the holes in my jean jacket, or something like that. So for me to get up there and practically feel the jealously pulsing off the wall of students behind me, no matter how hard I try to please them, it's more than I can handle. And to make matters worse, I don't listen to "today's music". The first time I heard Justin Bieber on the radio, I asked if it was Taylor Swift. (That was in 6th grade, and I have since learned to tell the difference.) My mom is turning 50 this year, and my dad's older. And so, growing up in an environment like that, I was practically born listening to people like Big Bopper and The Beatles. The very first movie I saw was Fantasia 2000. I went to sleep singing songs from musicals that no one else has heard of. So, you see, I'm different. And the trouble with teens is that anything different or unusual is automatically labeled as "strange", and "disturbed", or "needs psychological help". People tell you to be yourself, but I can't. Imagine your face if I went up to you and started spewing stuff about Beethoven, or talking about the Beach Boys, or singing songs from "Godspell". You would probably want to do something like run to the nearest phone and report a deranged lunatic was running around without a straitjacket. And so, I'm alone. No one is there to talk with me about Andrew Lloyd Webber, or to pour over maps of Middle Earth, or to discuss the high points of Buddy Holly's career. That's the trouble with teens. You're either a complete stranger and surrounded by people, or you know who you are and are completely alone. Let me know what you choose.
The Trouble with Teens
April 9, 2012