Teenage Wasteland

teenvogueThe other day I got a long Facebook message from my 16-year old cousin who lives in South America. I don’t see her often, but she came here this summer for an extended visit so we spent quite a bit of time together. We did a lot of your typical ‘girl talk’, talking about boys and ‘relationships’ (as much as you can have a relationship when you’re 15) and it was sort of funny to hear her talk about all of the drama that I also remember experiencing at the age of 16.

In her message, she poured her heart out to me about how she and her boyfriend had just recently broken-up. And between the half English/half Spanish and new teen slang that I don’t understand, I could still hear how much she was hurt. Her message switched the light on for me about how heartbreak and relationship drama doesn’t discriminate against age; her bf was acting weird, so she called him out on it. He said he wanted some ‘time’ (which she didn’t give him – good girl!) and how she can’t believe it’s over, she can’t eat or sleep, etc, etc. Of course, it does seem a bit dramatic for the age of 16, but really – it sounds no different than my break-up at the age of 23!

I wasn’t really sure what to tell her. Yes – that it will start to hurt less and less as the days go by, and that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And that she’s a beautiful, intelligent girl who deserves better than some guy who needs ‘time’ to figure out whether ot not he wants to be with her, and that she did the right thing by breaking up with some guy who doesn’t appreciate her – that there is someone better out there who will meet her, and never want to let her go. Is that any different than what everyone is telling me (someone 10 years older than her) about waiting for the right guy to come along? Nope. Pretty much the same. I also told her that unfortunately, this won’t be her last heartbreak. And that I’d love to say that boys mature as they get older, but I feel like I’m yet to bear witness to that! And that forgetting about boys and concentrating on herself, and on school, is the best thing to do right now.

Getting her message made me think about how sometimes, I do feel like I’ve reverted back to my teenage years again; the ongoing drama with ‘X’, and how I can get so nervous when I meet a cute guy and want him to like me. And how sometimes, being single makes me feel like I’m not good enough or that there’s something wrong with me….the same way I felt in high school having never had a high school boyfriend. It’s amazing how those teenage insecurities can follow us. However, as I was writing my reply to her, I also started thinking that I should probably start believing in (and taking) my own advice. But – what I wouldn’t give for a teenage crush to spice up my life right now!


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