Vox — Part 1

April 15th, 2019.

It’s the morning. I wake up at about 7:30, and with this unfazed focus in my head. I guess I was expecting it, cause it had been on my mind for quite a long time. I was going to get off of Instagram. Completely, permanently and indefinitely, quit social media.

For what must have been the 50th time.

In a previous post, I think I briefly addressed my love-hate relationship with Instagram, but this is probably the first time I’ve taken the time to actually write about it. I don’t hate Insta. I love that it has connected me to my friends, given me a platform to share my content with a wider and more vibrant audience, and I love, love, love the memes that bless my feed.

However, the constant flow of information, that Instagram as a platform so happily and overtly encourages, is what often throws me off my balance and sense of self-integrity. I am happy to interact with people over the internet, as long as I know that this is only a secondary form of communication with them, and that the dynamic we have created is solid in real life. I enjoy finding out what’s going on in other people’s lives, as long as I don’t feel any obligation (consciously or otherwise) to do the same.

In a nutshell: I like sharing with the world, but only in small amounts. That’s how much my brain can take before my teenage self-image starts to shatter.

As a teenager, there are some expectations placed for me that I gladly exceed. I do impeccably well at school. I am kind and helpful and considerate and understanding towards everyone, irrespective of whether they reciprocate those traits or not. I stay within the limits set by my parents, my immediate society, and even myself, because I know that there is a lot of time for me in the future to break those limits and go beyond them. I don’t even consider them expectations anymore, rather just the basic rules of my life that I choose to live by.

What I don’t understand is when people place teenagers as nothing more than a liability to the greater good of the “stability of society”. It’s almost as if we’re expected to mess things up. And the only two ways to resolve this conflict is either by telling teens to hold back their feelings, or punish them afterward.

Where is the space for me to make mistakes? When is it okay to say “I did something wrong, I hope we can make it right”? How is a growing child expected to do anything of purpose if there is absolutely no way for her to find out on her own? To mess up and still recover?

Is this all we are, as teens? Problems that need to be fixed asap, or even worse, problems that shouldn’t exist at all? Is anything we’re doing worth it, or is everything, by default, just wrong?

By Udita Gowdety

I read books with the jacket off.

5 replies on “Vox — Part 1”

As a mom of three teenage girls, I think making mistakes is part of growing. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of the growing process. My oldest is autistic and obsessed with Batman right now. We just watched Batman Begins. My favorite line in the whole movie is when Batman’s father asks him (when he is a child) “Why do we fall, Bruce?” and his answer is so powerful, “So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” Mistakes teach us things. So as a mom, I want to tell you it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you are learning and growing from them. You are human. You will never be perfect. But if you make it your goal to be a better person than you were the day before, mistakes and all, you are going to be an incredible human being in the end. Hang in there!

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Thank you so much, Heather! Your words ring true to me even as a teen, and you should have seen my mother’s face when she read this! In an instant, both of us connected to the truth and I felt sooo relieved that people understood what we teenagers go through. Thank you for writing in!

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