Being 17 (Remember, Growing Up Sucks)

I don’t work with many “good kids.” The truth is I find most of them boring. I like the “bad” kids – the ones who are already on probation, snorting their ADHD meds and pissing off every authority figure they come in contact with. Those kids have a lot of energy, creativity, and they really want someone to understand them and give a damn. I love those kids. Occasionally I take on a good kid in a rough spot. This one is 17 going on 30 – not in a typical teenager way, in an old soul, never really got to be a kid way.

She’s a brilliant young woman, an overachiever, perfectionist and she reminds me of a lot of other kids I met through John Bapst  (private high school). She just can’t imagine that anyone could understand what it’s like to be her. I took a shot at it and since I talked at the rate of an auctioneer to reflect her thought processes, I can only encourage you to speed read for effect.

Ok, so I’m getting ready to graduate and I’m turning 18 and that means that I’m supposed to be an adult and I kinda feel like an adult but most of the time I feel like a kid and I have no idea what I’m doing and everything feels like a big deal even though I know it’s not a big deal. I’m just barely not freaking out most of the time.

I  haven’t picked what college I’m going to for sure and I’m thinking I want to go out of state but it’s scary to be so far from home but why do I want to be close to home? My family sucks now so is it really gonna change when I go to college? And I don’t know whether I should live in a dorm and have that college experience thing but then the kids will probably all be partying and doing drugs and they’ll be really loud and I won’t be able to study and then I’ll fail and I’ll have to work at Burger King.

Drugs scare me but I kinda wanna smoke pot cuz I feel like I’m the only kid in my school who hasn’t but I know drugs are dumb. I just hate feeling left out and I wanna be a cool kid even though I hate the cool kids.

And I haven’t picked a major and I know I have up to two years to pick a major and I hate that people keep telling me that and what do they think? That I don’t know what I’m doing? I try REALLY hard not to let it show that I don’t know what I’m doing.

But if I don’t pick the right major I’m never gonna get a good degree which means I’ll end up in a horrible job which means I’ll be depressed and miserable and I’ll end up meeting the wrong guy and my whole life will suck. I really want to meet a good guy and he’ll be sweet just like in The Notebook. My current boyfriend is immature and its awkward cuz he can’t even kiss well and he doesn’t know what he’s doing and I’m pretty sure I’m the only kid in my school who’s not having sex.

The kids at school are dumb. I’m not athletic and I’m not a slut and my family isn’t rich so I don’t fit in anywhere and everyone is clicky and everybody gossips about who’s sleeping with whose boyfriend. Girls are mean everyone thinks it’s just boys but girls are really backstabbing bitches.

So I have one best friend and she’s going out of state for college and I’ll have to make new friends but I’m really shy and kinda awkward and I don’t really feel comfortable anywhere or even in my own skin and I’m not even  comfortable with my body. I hate fashion magazines but I feel like I should lose weight even though I know that’s stupid but still I wish my boobs were bigger but that leads to back pain and so that’s dumb too.

(Deep breath) That about right, kid?

Holy shit. Yeah.

Growing up sucks. I first shared this song with my daughter in her adolescence and I’ve passed it on to a lot of young women since:

Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle”

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best
Try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away

It just takes some time
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right, all right

Hey, you know they’re all the same
You know you’re doing better on your own (On your own)
So don’t buy in
Live right now
Yeah, just be yourself
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough (Good enough)
For someone else

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in assisting people in recovery (whether from drugs, alcohol, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life.