A Glimpse At Social Warfare This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Youth everywhere: I turn and see the scene everyone notices but never thinks about. Young women, their faces painted with the modern-day battle paint of mascara. Young men wearing designer jeans and shirts they emptied their pockets for so they could be noticed, ignorant of the impoverished children who sewed them. This is their battle armor. I see the cries of a war which this generation is losing in more ways than we know. It’s like watching fireflies trying to attract each other with their brightest dance, or a crowd of ants circling a piece of meat. Saying and doing anything simply for a glance from the opposite sex. This is the war of our generation.

We fight with namebrands such as FuBu or Sean Jean. Our battle cry is whatever third-rate ebonics term happens to be popular, and all-too-often we see our generation bow down to the ideal of having an intimate moment with someone they think they know. Our soldiers are the people who idolize 50 Cent and The Game, the ones with pockets at their knees and heads in the wrong half. Our strategists are 85-pound kids with extra-small black t-shirts and baby Gap jeans who hide behind a clever lyric they heard in a Taking Back Sunday song as if they know what it’s like to hurt or feel despair, all the while trying to make themselves look as frail and innocent as possible. Taking shelter behind a pair of thick-rimmed glasses or a shirt that urges “Think Different” as camouflage to make themselves and others believe they think thoughts deeper than a pothole.

Our generals are the prophets of the battalions, going by aliases like Jay-Z, Papa Roach and Death Cab for Cutie, the catalysts of unexpected faith rose up to lead their armies onto this battlefield of our design-created, controlled and conquered by only the most cretinic and foolishly delusional culprits of the raging war.

This is the scene I see when I go out in public. It’s not a mall, it’s a war zone. A cultural and social war zone where intellect hides in the trenches while ignorance mounts a full siege against anything with meaning. Punks, emo faeries, rappers, preps, it’s all meaningless. They’re just titles given to the various platoons of peons who fight each other yet are oblivious to the fact they’re all on the same side. Does anyone else see this? Does anyone else notice that we’re shedding our blood for something that will only make us slip further away from ourselves?

Or maybe I’m reading too much into all of this. Maybe I’m too analytical ... or maybe I’m caught in the middle of a battlefield where everyone is everyone’s enemy until they hook up. All I know is that I feel like I don’t fit into the image. People will name me, people will label me, but in the end it makes no difference. For unlike them, I see where conformity ends and freedom begins.

They place me in a corner because they can’t figure me out. “Wait, you listen to Dashboard Confessional, but you don’t believe in love? I don’t get you. You’re emo, right?” They try, but they’ll never figure it out. But hey, I guess it’s human nature to feel different. Uniqueness is such a paradoxical need. The only difference is that those who are truly different shape the world. Those who are really different live in illusory victories and individuality and realize it doesn’t take a mohawk, or band shirt, or extra baggy shirts with a big “Southpole” on it to be noticed. In this day of ignorance and visages, try wearing a sweater that says Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra in small letters in the corner, and see the attention given to those who don’t desire it.

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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.iloveyou. said...
Sept. 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm
This is absolutely amazing and so true. You aren't the only one to see the war around us, you just knew how to put it into such beautifully crafted words. Love it. You can shape the world for sure.
 
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