The disconnect between adults and kids

One of my biggest fears is that one day far in the future, my kids will be crying themselves to sleep at night and I will have no idea. It just seems to be such a common feeling these days – kids grow up thinking that they have no real support and that no one really understands what they are going through. We act as if there has to be some huge disconnect between adults and kids and I think that this divide is proving itself to be extremely emotionally draining.

In my generation, people are becoming much more open with who they really are. The LGBTQ community is growing each and every day as people come out, finally deciding to be true to themselves. Kids are getting into serious relationships at younger ages; it’s as if we have this instinctual urge to grow up quicker and experience real love earlier. We can’t help it though, that’s just how we are.

Adults, specifically parents, are in a very special place. They have the ability to build up a child’s self esteem or completely tear it down. They have the choice to emotionally support their child, which sadly, some parents refuse to do. Which is partly what has created this gap between kids and parents. There are certain choices that parents don’t have the right to decide – such as if your child is gay, or transgender, or if they want to date someone of a different race or a different religion or financial class or if they just want to date someone in general. No parent has the right to choose who their child falls in love with.

By the age of 18, we have a pretty good idea of what we like and what we don’t like. We know which foods make us sick and we know which school subjects we like the most. We also sort of know what career path we would like to take and what sort of people we want to surround ourselves with on our journey there. Most of us have picked a learning institution that we hope will carry us to success and many of us have had to figure out a plan to pay for it. We are considered to be adults, yet we are still treated as young children. This also adds to the divide between us.

There is such a simple solution to this problem though, and it amazes me that this isn’t universal knowledge. We both need to support each other. Parents should lift their kids up when they are down – no child should have to cry themselves to sleep feeling as though they cannot talk to the two people sleeping in the room next door. If your child comes out as gay, you should be thrilled that they had the bravery to do so in front of you, because it is a huge act of courage. If your child is in love with someone, you should wholeheartedly support that relationship. As long as no harm is coming to either party… there is no reason to separate them. From a kid’s perspective, it is so hard to live your life without support. Feeling alone while making decisions is so ridiculously stressful. We need help from those older than us, even though we will deny it to our grave. Just as those older need help from us, and we will be there to give them that.

We need to push to close the divide between us. It’s time for both sides to come together and to realize that there is no reason to not support each other. We both feel the same things – it’s time we respect that.

PSA: You’re not gonna “catch the gay”

I go to a high school with over 6,000 students. This is great in the way that kids are able to make many new friends each year and there are hardly any of your classic “cliques”. It is not so great however, in the way that it gives room for many kids to feel pushed to the side, forgotten, or out of place. Until I became comfortable with myself and found my core group of friends, I was one of those kids, so I know what it’s like to feel as if you are just a walking body with no way to engage yourself.

It is my senior year now, so I have spent four years watching kids close themselves off from the world around them. I have found this to be especially true with students who have come out to be gay or transgender. As they gained courage to come out or went through the very difficult transition of publicly stating which gender they want to identify with, people around them quickly shut their eyes and walked away. Maybe it has something to do with my generation or the age of high school kids, but I simply don’t understand why so many people who are so close to me choose not to accept their peers. What are they doing that offends you? I’m aware that this argument is one that has been repeated too many times, but it is still extremely valid. If two girls are holding hands, does that somehow make you any less of a person for having seen them? Does it make you any less straight? Does it make you any less religious? In case you can’t answer those questions, I’ll do it for you. No. It does not do any of those things.

If someone has the courage to come out as gay, then there is absolutely no reason for someone else to ridicule him or her. Using the word “fag” in a derogatory way or treating him or her like he or she is not truly a man or a woman is the epitome of immaturity. If a boy decides that he is more comfortable as a girl, then you have two options: either stand by her and support her or pass by without saying anything. You have NO right to look down upon her or verbalize hatred towards her. With that, I don’t see why anyone would want to do so. How can someone else’s actions cause you so much anger that you feel the need to act aggressively towards them?

This rant was fueled by comments I heard today during class:

“He came out as gay?”
“Why would anyone wanna hang out with a fag?”
“I’ll beat my kid if he comes out as gay.”
“Is he going to start talking like a girl now and wear short shorts?”

I’m sure most of you can see the unbelievable amount of ignorance in these comments. Actually, I was so angry that these words actually came out of someone’s mouth that I got up and left the room. I feel bad for people like this. It is obvious that they have chosen a life of immaturity and stupidity. You do not have to support an act to accept it. All you have to do is end your negative comments.

If you have come out as gay or transgender or anything else and have a story to share, feel free to do so. I am open to listening and responding. I promise that you will have my unconditional support. If you read this post and realized that you may have been acting homophobic or transphobic or just plain mean, I suggest giving the person a simple apology. Sometimes that is all it takes to make up with someone.

I cannot stress enough how much equality is necessary in our world. We cannot achieve peace unless we all work together, so please, help me to help all the people around you and end the constant bullying. Speak words of love, not hate.

“OMG you are like, soooooo pretty!”

Every girl wants to be beautiful. They want to be confident in their own skin. They want to be noticed for how pretty they are. I don’t blame them, who wants to be known as the ugly girl? I take the time to curl my hair and put make up on and wear clothes that are “cute” in today’s society too. I’m just like any other girl. But I think about it much more than the average girl. With that extra thinking, I’ve come to a single conclusion.

Beauty is subjective.

I could go around and interview a random sample of people and ask what they considered beautiful and I can guarantee you all of their answers would differ. (Maybe that should be another book idea…)

The definition of beauty changes between ethnicities; it changes between regions; it changes between genders. There are so many factors going into beauty that it is absolutely impossible to label one specific set of traits as ultimate beauty.

There’s also the classic debate between physical and mental beauty. Hey, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters, right? This may be true, but we cannot deny that our first judgements occur the first second our eyes pass over someone. In that split second, our mind makes the decision for us to introduce ourselves or to be weary of interaction.

Girls commonly complement each other – if you know the person, you are simply required to tell them that they are pretty. (This is commonly seen on Instagram, the common ground of the classic selfie.) So therefore, is beauty dependent on friendship?

Like I said, there are too many different factors to determine ultimate beauty. However, this does not mean that we should not use comparisons. For example, why are girls starving themselves to look skinny when Kim Kardashian is getting unbelievable attention for her beauty? Especially with her recent (scandalous, I must say) photo shoot, I cannot see why a girl would want to put herself through the pain of hunger to take away curvy features.

But as I previously stated, beauty is subjective. So maybe we should stop striving to be something we are not, and find the gold in ourselves.

Pay attention to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love attention. What girl doesn’t? It’s gotta be one of the best things to receive. To have someone look at you like they truly want to talk to you, to have them compliment you, to feel wanted for just a moment. It is something that almost every person craves. It’s an addiction – once someone gives you that attention, you just want more and more.

I’ve noticed that it is one of the quickest things to disappear in relationships as well. I’m talking about all types of relationships – marriage, dating, friends, siblings, etc. The attention we give a person at the start just fades away more and more as we get closer with him or her. At the start you feel this need to connect with them, this subconscious need to always impress them. Yet as you get comfortable around the person, that feeling gradually goes away. You stop working as hard to impress them, stop working as hard to give them what they want.

I believe that’s the problem with so many relationships. Both parties crave attention, but neither is willing to give the other the time of day. In a dating situation, the boy stops saying good morning every morning, or doesn’t compliment what he likes about her. In a friendship, they forget about the other’s opinions and feelings. Parents forget that their kids are growing up. We don’t stop and think about the other person – a common quality of all people.

I need attention. I can honestly admit that. I like feeling like someone truly wants to talk to me. Like I am worth the effort. I also like putting in effort to talk to another person. I will gladly give a person my full attention if they want it. It’s what fuels a relationship. Two people will not connect if they cannot pay attention to one another. You know the cliche story, “I just couldn’t take my eyes off her, she was just so beautiful.” That is still a super common way for a guy to pick up a girl; by simply giving her attention.

I’m not a love doctor or anything, but if I had to give one solution to mending broken relationships, it would be to start paying attention to the person as much as you did when you first met them. You should never stop trying to impress the person. If they mean that much to you, you should want to do things to keep them close. That first moment means so much more than people think it does – that first moment of making eye contact, it’s the start of something that will never be the same. We as people need to recognize that and work with it, using it to our advantage.

We need to be loved as much as we need to love.