Breaking the Stereotype
There’s something that has been on my mind for a really long time- probably even since I’ve started designing in the first place- ever since I started doing anything even relatively productive on the Internet.
Ever since I was a little kid- maybe six or seven, people around me seemed to think I was different. Whenever we were playing a game, it seems that I was always the one to be picked last. At school, it seemed that everyone had their little cliques, and I was somehow left out of all of it. In our breaks, I’d be lurking around outside, not really with anyone looking down, and inside, I remember that I would always be the kind of person to try to talk and interact with people, but never actually pull it off because I felt so different from them. My family and (older) friends must have realized it as well, because it felt like they were treating me a little differently, too. It took around a year for me to figure out that I was different, and being treated that way. It felt like nobody my age could relate to me on my level- and I don’t mean that I felt superior- I mean that I felt really lonely. I started tinkering a lot with computers, actually. In that time period, I think I started to develop a passion for design. Perhaps it was because it was one of the only things I could really control, or perhaps it was because it was one of the only ways I could interact with people and produce something that would make them feel great. I felt different after a while even more as I started to get a bit older- I wasn’t mean to people, and I wasn’t “fake” to people. I also didn’t spend my weekends playing video games like 90% of the population (my dad was always against video games- at the time, I hated him for it- now I love him for it because it is the reason I’m not addicted right now, I see how people are, and it’s awful).
Fast-forward a few years, and I’m a teenager. Life’s a little better, but I still feel different. While people around me are focused on partying every night, I focused on designing things, and being creative with my time. I look back a little and realize that I could’ve changed myself and became popular like them, but right now not changing myself is the best decision I’ve ever made. Not focusing on unimportant things allowed me to develop my creative side, which is right now one of the most powerful sides I have. It drives every website I’ve built, every idea I’ve had, and every post I write here. If I became like them, became just a number, I would’ve lost that side to me, and just be… like everyone else. In 20 years, nobody will talk about the clothes you wore, or the parties you attended. In 90 years, nobody will care about even nearly as much as what mattered now, but what people will remember you for is the mark (or lack thereof) that you made on the world. If you didn’t even try, you’ll be forgotten. I have a really strong desire to do something positive with my life, and to leave a mark on the world. I want to start doing that right now. There’s one thing that seems to be getting in my way, though:
Nobody is going to take you seriously.
I shake my head and wonder, “Why?” Then, I look down at my birth certificate. Oh, I’m just 14. Is that such a big deal? There’s this invisible wall between me and achieving the goals I want to now, and it’s called the stereotypical teenager. Ah, the stereotype. The biggest burden in my life is the stereotype. What is the stereotypical teenager, and what do people believe about all of us? We’re druggies, we like to cause problems, and (if we’re girls) we’re obsessed over some teenage star and don’t stop talking about them. None of us know how to use proper grammar, and oh, how we love swearing. We’re disrespectful, loud, and rude, we’re living off society, and our contributions are minimal. Our parents pay our huge phone bill, and our phones, which apparently are all BlackBerries, are the only things that matter to us. We criticize people immediately, and put down everyone who could just even simply challenge our future in the popularity contest- the quest to move up the social ladder. Not to mention, we’re oh-so-hormonal, daddy’s little prince and princess, and not responsible. The future is grim for us, but we don’t care, because- well, we’re in our own little bubble, not earning a penny of what we have, yet still managing to live. In some areas, we’re the scum of society.
This is what society believes. And you know what? They’re right in their stereotype. There are so many of us who fit every description I just put up. Because society thinks we’re one big joke, and a threat to Earth’s future, we’re treated as such. So many teenagers I have to be with every day disgust me. I feel sorry for them- they’re living in their own little bubble, and some day, someone will wake them up. And boy, are they ever in for a rude awakening as they sit poor on the streets. So many of us are like this.
Yet, it’s that small portion of us- that one percent, that is severely suffering. I’m not the only one, and I refuse to believe it. Believe it or not, some of us actually aspire to achieve something in life. Perhaps something minimal, but we want to leave our mark. We want to be treated like adults, and to be given responsibility like adults. We have a right to that. Who are you to be denying us of that? We have potential. I have to believe it. People tell me to have fun as a teenager, and I plan to- but I am going to spend every minute of my teenage life trying to break this stereotype. To prove to people that teenagers don’t totally amount to nothing. That there are some of us that will amount to something, and are bursting with potential. If this stereotype is the reason I don’t get hired somewhere, that’s just sad. Yes, I can wait until I’m an adult, but why should I, really? I have a drive to do things right now. A solid drive.
Break the stereotype.