Older, But Not Wiser This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Tonight, as I was cleaning out some old notebooks, I came across a bunch of stuff I'd written about a year and a half ago. That was a difficult time for me. A time when I was trying to make some major decisions and come to terms with a lot of things that really didn't make much sense to me.

Most of the stuff I wrote was about frustration. My frustration with the world and the way it worked. With the overwhelming powers that controlled and regulated my life. But most of all my frustration with the apathy of the people around me. The way they accepted everything so blindly. Never asked why things were the way they were or questioned if they were necessary or right. Never resented their lives being planned out for them, or questioned the authority of the powers that be. They never wanted to know what it was all for, or why they were following a society with no idea where it was headed. They never let out a single cry of despair or scream of outrage. Nothing.

None of it seemed to bother them. They just didn't care. I used to pity and envy them at once. Disgusted by their oblivion to their own meaninglessness, and at the same time jealous of their clear, untroubled minds as they glided through their days of hollow triumphs and victories with the blissful smiles of the ignorant.

And now I'm reading over these assured, angry scribblings and I'm shaking. The arguments are so clear, and so passionate, and so full of frustration - and they're leaving me cold. They don't mean anything to me anymore. Because I've become one of those people I never understood. One of those people who finds it easier to comply with authority than fight it head on, who puts on a pretense of conformity rather than taking the trouble to fight for independence. Another brainwashed clod who merely accepts the world as it is, not bothering to challenge the injustices and senseless codes of behavior.

See there are only two ways to keep your identity safe in this mixed-up world and keep yourself from buying into the meaningless structure and system. One is insanity. Complete rejection of all that is considered normal, right or competent. The other is to fight. To fight long and hard and tirelessly and never stop fighting. To question and resist and scream and yell, and to keep yelling even if no one will listen. To never give up on anything. To never compromise or question whether it would be easier to just surrender the fight and go along with the rest of the world.

It takes a strong person. An unbelievably strong person. A stronger person than I've ever met. A stronger person than I ever was.

And so, as I sit here and organize my school notebooks, worrying about my grades and anxiously planning next year's course schedule, I want to settle an old score. I want to make an apology. I want to apologize to a thirteen-year-old girl who knew too much of this world. I want to apologize for abandoning her. For leaving her without explanation or justification. But it's too late now, anyway. She's gone forever. Because people like her can't live in this world. And it's a damn shame. n

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

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Camomile_Addison said...
Sept. 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm
Believe me - she lives.
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback