Having just turned forty years of age and being a volunteer leader to a large group of high school students, I find myself looking back on my teenage years and wondering if anything has really changed. Sure, the acne is still looming, waiting for just the wrong moment to rear it’s ugly head, but what about the real stuff?
Some issues never go away, I still roll my eyes when I have to go visit my parents. Stressing about the visit so badly that it gets my stomach churning. Trying to sift through the behavioral “what if” scenarios is enough to make you remember why you finally moved out of the house to begin with.
I’m talking about the real stuff. The stuff that builds character, the cornerstone to individuality, the things that molded me into the person I am today. Love, hate, jealousy, freedom, school, friendships, depression, stress, money, jobs, sex, family and all the other factors that determine their future and yet there is no control for all of these issues. What are the outlets these days? How does a stressed out teenager vent all of the anger, depression and confusion in this up and coming generation?
Back in my day, (yes I really did say that), I used to drown out my world with loud music, dark artwork, and my trusty pen. There were many nights of Iron Maiden, Slayer, or Anthrax blaring through the giant speakers of my four foot tall component stereo while paint hit canvas or pen scratched paper. I figured out early on that if I worked in chaos all of my frustrations flowed from me and on to the canvas and all of my misery, loneliness, dreams and hopes came to life through my teenaged pen. When all was done and all was written my world was a little easier to deal with, the feelings were no longer inside, they were on paper for all to see and feel. I read the words now and I smile, I watch others read them and I see them relate. It seems I wasn’t as alone as I thought, I never thought my words would help others.
Having realized the potential of the written word to help others cope with issues they may feel alone with, I have set up an area where our teens can post their own writings, and inspirations in the hopes that others may read and realize there is a community out there for them. Help is just a pen stroke away for yourself and for those who read your work. The project is off to a slow start but I hope that once a few begin, others may see the value as well.
I’m interested to see if the pen is still as mighty today as it was in the good old days.