This is not your typical “dear dairy this and dear dairy that.” Let me just say for the record I have spent the last two years writing in my journal about what it’s like being a teenager.
You see in my teenage world in the last two years, I have discovered many flaws. Personally, I suffer from severe anxiety. Because of this, I am naturally shy, but realise I don’t mind it one bit. My other qualities make up for it - like being studious, pleasantly polite, optimistic and adorably funny (so I’ve been told).
I’m not the most popular kid in school, but I am never short of friends. In a sense, having great friends can make a world of a difference. But Mum told us that friends will come and go but family, that includes siblings, is forever. She brought it up because last month my little brother made some anti-bullying posters which said, “Hey Bullies, Mum and Dad are watching you!” and posted it up on his bedroom door. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was the main culprit. I was yelled at for about ten minutes for actually being nicer to my friends than I am to my siblings. Instantly my little brother got full bully protection. I was told to take a step back and start becoming kinder or “else.” It was a wake-up call of course, being called a bully and that kind of behaviour was rubbing off in school, “too bossy” my teachers call it. Well, looking at it from a different angle, the world does look brighter from behind a smile of good friends and a loving family. The secret is to be a little nicer.
There are plenty of activities to keep everyone in my teenage world busy. Some of my favourites are swimming, fishing, canoeing, gardening, sand castle building on the beach, reading, arts and crafts. There’s camping, bonfires and s’mores. There’s watching television, playing on the Xbox and going to theatres. I love hiking up Mount Vaea or Mount Palasi with the rush of fresh air in my lungs and the incredible view of the island with blue, clear sky rolled out perfectly with fluffy clouds. It’s actually an awesome feeling to be on top of the world with an endless view of the Pacific blue ocean. Even the finest flat screen television or stereo system in the world couldn’t compare to the outside images or sounds of Mother Nature’s soft secret melodies. My world is already wired for sound and televised for nature’s greatest show on earth.
Life in my teenage world comes in seasons, and there is a season for every activity. We are born babies, helpless and curious about our surroundings and everyone just can’t get enough of us at that age. We later become young children, depending on our parents for everything and becoming a star in the family. Then we become a teenager. We learn to find our identity, but nobody ever warns you that you’ve got an expiration date when you get older. One day you’re the cutest thing ever and the next day, you’re smelly cheese. Take for example my little cousins, ages two and four, absolutely gorgeous, their older teenage siblings, not so much. (Hope they’re not reading this and if you are, I was just joking).
There are also seasons for favourite food. For me it’s chocolate. Even saying the word makes my mouth water. Some kids eat their chocolate all at once. I nibble on mine to make it last as long as possible. But no matter how much chocolate I get, it’s never enough. Birthday parties are also in seasons. I used to love birthday parties until I became a teenager. Usually all the other kids, mainly my cousins, are jealous when you open presents at your birthday party. Now at my party, I think kids actually feel sorry for me because I now get a set of encyclopaedia, world literature books or the SATs. Unfortunately in this world, ideas like these are dangerously caught on by other mothers. Nowadays I have to be careful whenever I see my cousins walking around with a new book.
Like most families in Samoa, we grow up in a world with reminders: The World of Childhood Don’ts or World of rules. “Don’t watch television all day. Don’t go near the oven. Don’t eat in your room. Don’t forget to shower or brush your teeth or hair. Don’t forget to say your prayers. Don’t ever smoke or you’ll look like those zombie photos behind a cigarette pack.” With all these rules, you’re sure to grow up safe, healthy and yes sometimes bored.
I‘ve done a lot of boring things in this world, but nothing saps my energy worse than shopping with my grandmother. Try shopping four hours at Walmart, seriously true story. When Grandma says she’s taking me shopping, I make sure she knows I am only interested in name brands. One time she bought me shoes that the rubber soles on both sides fell off on the school dance floor while dancing to the Electric Slide. Seriously, whoever picked out this song is waaaay out of touch with what kids actually listen to these days. This experience was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life and that’s how I knew she was buying my shoes and clothes from the dollar shops in Hawaii.
In my world, I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I love most. But first I need to decide what I really want to do when I grow up. Do you know, some people have so much potential, but never get to use it because they are too lazy? It’s like having a million dollars sitting in the safe without ever spending it (that’s me my parents are referring to). Recently, I’ve been guilty of slacking off, my tests score proved that last term. Don’t get me wrong I do very well in school, but I didn’t go the extra mile this time because…..wait for it…..sadly my addiction to those Filipino series. That’s all I’ve been doing lately, yes corny as heck, but what my parents don’t know is that the director plays the part as the hypnotist. Curse Filipino movies….don’t get start or you’ll get hooked. Being a teenager, we also have the choice to pursue an education by diligently working hard. Without an education the world can be pretty harsh and difficult (more reminders from my parents). Well, one bit of advice from yours truly, is pay attention in school so you don’t ask your parents for help when you’re stuck. In my family, it’s been a long time since my parents been to school, so I have to sit and wait while they read my notes to catch up. While waiting, I usually watch Dad lick his finger several times to make it easier for him to turn the pages, which is so weird. I can tell when I get a problem wrong especially in Maths, because Dad gets kind of frustrated and breathes real heavy out of his nostrils and scratches his head hard without saying a word. I guess it’s an old school thing because my teachers do the exact same thing.
We just had our family reunion. In my family, no gathering with extended family is complete without a feast. It’s genetic and supposedly inherited. Reunions, I have come to believe, is all about food. It’s a well-known rule in my family, that if you don’t pile your plate with as much food as you get, you lose. We’re a family of winners and I’ve discovered another addiction….eating. This part about being a teenager I love because I never upload on the pounds, yet. I was told it all goes in my hair.
Well, there you have it, a short preview in my journal of what goes on in my typical teenage world. Care to share what happens in your world, teenagers? Post your ideas on Samoa Observers comments under my story. I would love to read them. I dare you to!