Do you watch teen dramas? There’s just something about them that I can’t resist. They’re corny as fuck, emotional, and generally unrealistic. Actually, they’re always unrealistic. These teens are running around doing shit you never would’ve done. Hell, you wouldn’t have the balls to do that shit now as an adult.
Humans are cowards— yes, that includes you. We’re terrified of germs, death, potentially undercooked chicken, wearing bright colors, feelings, and so on. We boast about being the greatest species on earth, yet we tremble at the thought of admitting we love somebody.
Remember John Green? Wrote plenty of teen novels? Yeah, I read a couple of them in high school. I know you did too. Let’s be honest here.
I know—it’s not exactly “on brand” for me. Even I was drawn into the craze. I don’t remember anything about the books, but I just spent the weekend binge-watching Looking for Alaska. You can clearly tell that Alaska’s character was written by a man, but that’s besides the point.
Alaska is one of those girlboss, gaslight, gatekeep sort of gals. You know the type. Every other character fits into some other stereotype. One thing they do have in common is hella loyalty and courage. These characters will do right by their people and aren’t afraid to stand up for them. Hell, they’re not afraid of some vengeance either. Very little cowardice in their souls.
When I read Looking for Alaska years ago, I thought it was trash. I felt indifferent towards it really. I had a lot of trauma to process and inner healing to do back then. I was about as emotional as Don Draper or Dexter. I wasn’t, and am not, a sociopath; I just repressed every emotion as a coping mechanism. You can’t feel pain if you feel nothing, right?
I can’t even begin to describe how lonely and miserable this way of life was.
Now, years of therapy later, I’ve learned to let myself be vulnerable and have picked up some strategies for processing emotions along the way. I bawled my eyes out watching Looking for Alaska. These kids felt every emotion so vividly—fear, love, happiness. Everything. I’m so envious. There’s nothing more terrifying than feeling.
I’ve been focusing on healing my inner child throughout this pandemic. I’ve dyed my hair, got back into punk music from the 2000s and 2010s, changed my wardrobe, and really just let my personality blossom.
I’m trying to allow myself to feel as strongly as children and teens do—I have to make it up to my child-self after all. I was too cruel to her. Poor thing never felt happiness or love. 2021 is all about letting your inner child fall as in love as those ballsy kids in that teen drama.
Say fuck it and risk it all. What’s the worst that can happen? A little pain?
Only cowards fear pain.