Teenage Selfies (TCWT)

Teenage Selfies (TCWT)

This is not my usual kind of post. This is for this month’s Teens Can Write Too! blog chain, and is one of the most challenging prompts we’ve ever had.

Prompt: Use pictures and individual words to show what, to you, is the essence of being a teenager.” 

I decided to use pictures of myself for this prompt, with only a few exceptions, for an important reason which will become apparent.

learning:

october 2014

growing up:

 october 2014

staying childish:

hats-1.png

change:

november 2011
november 2011
april 2013
april 2013

dreams:

august 2013

identity:

august 2014

understanding:

april 2013

breaking:

sometimes literally. 2014.

getting stronger:

august 2013

doubt:

ballet 5

shame:

i am not ashamed of this event. but i am playing a character who suits the sentiment.

pride:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

stories:

Snapshot_20130919_1_thumb.jpg

friends:

august 2013

enemies:

20141001_144942

losing:

while this has significance to me, it isn't something i feel comfortable explaining

gaining:

october 2013leaving:

december 2010

joining:

december 2011

 memories:

march 2014

endings:

hurt:

poetry

happiness:

october 2014

fear:

exhaustion:

20141026_175833But most of all my teenage years have really all been variations on a theme:

self-discovery. self-invention. self-hatred. self-love. self-destruction. self-rescue.

self.

You can summarise being a teenager with one type of picture: the selfie.

So that’s why almost all of these pictures are of me. (And there’s plenty of symbolism and meaning in the ones that aren’t, things I can’t explain because you’re not me and you weren’t there and you’ll never hear that story until a great many things in my life change.)

Being a teenager is entirely about yourself. Who you are. Who you want to be. Who you’re determined to be. The things you promise yourself and threaten yourself and do to yourself and offer yourself. The days you hate yourself and the days you love yourself. The days you can’t bear to look in the mirror and the days you put pictures on your blog.

It’s a formative time.

I’m not fully-formed yet. Not sure how long it’s going to be until I am.

But I am so much more me than I was six years ago.

10 thoughts on “Teenage Selfies (TCWT)

  1. Incredible post, and a brilliant point.

    I was going to say I don’t quite understand all the references, but perhaps that’s part of the point. The self YOU have isnt always neccessarily the same self that everyone else sees being projected and constructed and re-invented over time.

    1. Yeah. This is one of those posts that most people won’t fully understand, because it’s about me. But that’s also what being a teenager is about. I can present one image to the world, and what people take from it is usually more about them than about me. So feel free to relate the headings to your own life.

  2. Wow, I love how creative you’ve used your own pictures to define what growing up is to you. It’s so personal! I think you do a good job showing how much variety can be present in ONE person’s life, much less everyone else’s. The reinvention is awesome—way to go!

    1. Thanks. :) Yeah, there’s no way I can talk about being a teenager generally, because I’m never going to be able to understand exactly what it’s like for people who aren’t me. But I know my own experience, so that’s what I focused on.

  3. Insightful. I would say childhood is about taking and adulthood is about giving. The transition between being a taker and being a giver is very much conneted to creating oneself. Until you have a sense of “self” and “not-self”, you don’t have what to give.

    That’s not to say once you’re not a teenager you’re all done with the task of becoming yourself. Choosing, and thereby creating yourself as the form that results from those expressions of will, is the stuff of life. Yet, I think we can agree that there is something special about adolesence that makes it the time most apt for self-absorbtion. Hopefully, we take all that we learned and use it to give. (Not give up or give in, but give as a candle gives. It lights another and still burns with its own light for as long as it can.)

    Thanks for letting us in on a some of the process that you’ve used to help make you you. I, for one – but I’m sure many others feel the same way – feel privileged to have had you share your growth with me, (I know, you shared it with the whole wide world, since it’s on the web, but I still feel special to have been privy).

    Did I totally take this idea somewhere other than where you intended? I think I might have. Which leaves me curious: do you agree or disagree?

    1. I think to some extent I agree, but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that. We continue to take in the same way we continue to learn – we’re never finished becoming, just as nobody’s ever really fully “grown up”.

  4. *smiles* I agree that we’re never done taking, just as we’re never done learning and becoming, but I think the way we take can and should change. There’s a difference between taking to take, which is what we all start out doing, and taking to give, which is what I hope we “grow-up” to.

    What I mean by “taking to give” is two-fold. One, if a person doesn’t take care of themselves they won’t have the ability to give, so it’s necessary to take sometimes if you want to continue to be agiver. Two, the act of taking itself can be giving, if you’re doing it to give someone else the opportunity to give.

  5. Your last line has really stuck with me. I think it communicates my experience as a teenager perfectly. I know I still have a lot of growing up to do, but being a teenager has made me realize who I am. I feel more like me than I ever have before, and I’m also learning to feel good about that “me.” It’s a crazy time.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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