I’m not stressed. I’m joyfully ripping my hair out while delightfully crying my soul out through my eyeballs.

I have to say something.

Today I was stuck in the elevator on my way to increasingly awkward work and I was delighted to hear other workers delightfully talking about their delightful children.

Delighted.

Until they got to the part where they mercilessly mocked them for being stressed. Because apparently the fact that you don’t have bills (yet) means that you, as an emotion-filled human being, do not have the right to be stressed.

The father in question was bragging about how, when his 13 year old daughter asked for help on a school assignment because she was stressed delightfully ripping her hair out and happily trying not to cry while perceiving a future filled with joyfully failed math tests, he laughed her off and responded with…

“What could you possibly have to be stressed about?”

At the end of his story everyone in the elevator dutifully chuckled, while I quietly condemned the human race for being insensitive self-obsessed butt munches.

I am an adult. I work full-time. I pay bills. A mortgage in fact. I owe like 70,000 dollars to various places. Guess what?

I don’t cry myself to sleep like I did when I was 13 fucking years old. And let me tell you why…

I’m not looking a few months into my future and realizing that soon I shall be starting a totally new and weird phase of life, going to a new school where I will not know anyone, inevitably get horribly lost on the way to classes that are totally intimidating and eventually be expected to get a part-time job to pay for gas that goes into a car that I will have to learn how to drive and never ever wreck (because that always works out).

I’m not expected to suddenly morph from a quiet, shy, awkward preteen into a half-adult. In case you don’t know what a half-adult is, it’s when you still have the emotions of a teenager, the foresight of a teenager, and the fears of a kid, but are expected to complete assignments like a responsible adult, perceive consequences like an adult, and handle emotionally trying situations like a motherfucking adult. All while being talked down to on a regular basis because even when you’re doing your damndest to be logical and explain your side, you are still wrong, because when arguing against an adult you are still considered a kid, despite their expectations of you saying otherwise.

I’m not being flooded with a sinister level of hormones that make me pimply and greasy just when I really want to NOT look pimply and greasy. My boobs are relatively the same size now and they exist, unlike when i was 13.

I’m no longer expected to complete pages of math equations that look like an ancient Mayan language to me. I’m not humiliated daily by those fucking “board races” where teachers decided it’s totally fun to stick you in front of the whole class to work through said equations, adding even more pressure because if you get it wrong, or do it slower than the other kid, then your team loses points, which usually means losing half your classmates  some sort of in-class coveted candy prize.

I don’t have (as many) panic attacks about being fat when I shop because I’m no longer in that stage where I feel I should really fit into the same size jeans as all my same-size friends (Have i really gained weight?) but can’t because wtf are these curvy things where my hips used to be?

I no longer have conflicting feelings where one second I’m totally excited about these new things then the next absolutely terrified of failing because I want to make my parents proud so bad.

And this is all assuming your child isn’t beginning to deal with symptoms of something that could very well break them in the future: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder…

Because those things really do start that young.

Being 13 was fucking terrifying on just about every level of human existence.

I get that there are trials and responsibilities and obligations that their little kid mind can’t even conceive right now; things that you deal with on a day to day basis.

But remember, you have the tools to deal with that. You’ve had practice. That little stressed kid is only just learning what kind of abilities they may have. None of those coping skills have had a chance to develop and grow, and making them feel like they have no right to those overwhelming emotions is not going to help.

I was lucky. I have parents who never uttered that phrase to me. While what I was dealing with may have seemed minuscule to them, they had the compassion to realize that it was earth-shattering to me.  I will always be thankful for that. Maybe that’s why, even as I’m coming into adulthood ( Cuz trust me, I still have a bit to go) I still look back and go, damn.

Every time I see some kid looking stressed I just want to shake their hand and be like, “Dude, you’re alive. You’re doing fucking great!”

And then hand them a stress ball that looks suspiciously like their math teacher.

Kids can be a lot to handle, I’m sure. I don’t have any. They terrify me. I applaud all of you that have traversed that particular road for your bravery. But when that kid looks up at you, wide-eyed and says “help, I’m stressed.”

Please…please please please.

Help them.

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. nosleepandcrazy
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 05:18:28

    “Adults” these days seem to have memory loss of their teen years.

    Reply

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