The Hardest Part of Being A Teen

It’s impossible to deny that the current political atmosphere has absorbed the majority of America. The days where one could simply state, “I don’t really pay attention to politics,” are over and with the current administration, political awareness has become a necessity. Growing up in this world has been, to put it simply, baffling. I’ve no reference point of first-hand experience with different administrations aside from the Obama administration, and with a feminist leaning and millennial outlook, the majority of my personal views are in contrast with those of this current administration. This undeniable need to be politically aware and active has cultivated some of the best and worst parts of being a teenager in this climate. Trump’s climb to President began during my sixteenth year, prior to which I knew politics in a passive way. I always thought the Obama administration was good and agreed with their stance on major issues in the news, but I’ll admit, my knowledge wasn’t more than skin deep. I paid attention to the heavy hitters: Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, the legalization of gay marriage and the response afterward, but I knew little beyond that. 45 has thrown the political sector for a loop, but it isn’t an entirely negative thing. I have been all but forced to join the conversation as more and more issues, once in the background, are brought to the forefront via this administration. Because of this, I’ve begun to put in the time to understand and debate current humanistic, financial, and moral issues in America, and as I try my best to step up to the plate, I can’t help but notice throngs of my fellow teenagers becoming aware as well. We’ve not only been born into this age of confusion and heartache but also the age of information. As I watch my peers utilize the wealth of knowledge that’s become easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, there is something inspiring about how I’ve seen this information used to promote equality, political awareness and savvy. However, there is something inherently frustrating, with me being 17, in the sense of powerlessness in not being able to vote. Such an important and symbolic part of democracy not quite yet in my grasp makes the idea of participating in the world I am beginning to try to understand seem out of reach. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, I am told to be a part of the discussion without the tangible ability to affect the outcome. So, without the ability to simply avoid these issues anymore, one must devise other methods on enacting change. Invoking real discussions with all members of my community, expressing current political issues through theatre, and working to cultivate an environment in which intelligent communication about politics can thrive is where I have started. The hardest part of being a teenager is simply the want to enact positive change in this world without a clear path on how to do so. So for the time being, I educate myself, interact with as many different people as I can, and start change within my relationships with others. If I saw a younger me, or perhaps if my sister ever felt the need to ask for advice, I would express that the feeling that the constraints of being a minor suppress your ability to enact change is untrue, and no matter where or when you are in your life, there is always a way to positively influence the world.

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