Who am I? I am a teenager and even if I don’t say much it doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say. Just because you see me detached from everything with my headphones on or my video control in hand it doesn’t mean I don’t crave to connect. I still need you to ask me how I am. Why don’t you ever ask?
Every time we fight you call me a rebel, a defiant person, a liar and a rude human being. You shout I shouldn’t have been born. You never stop to ask me why I am this way. Don’t you care about what happened to me! Even when I do tell you, you shrug your shoulders and call me silly, a baby and you say “Just grow up already!” Did you ever stop to think that what I told you was trivial to you but broke my heart. It crushed my soul and my confidence! You never listen and I’m with the headphones on!
You push me away when I need you to just hug me. I long to be comforted not only one day but everyday. When I say leave me alone, I mean please stay and tell me you still love me. Being a teenager is tough! My body is going through changes and come 18 will I go to college. Where? I want to do one thing but everyone says do the other. Do I live out your dream to make you happy or my own and risk losing you? I want to pull out my hair because you don’t get me and it seems you really don’t care. Do you wish I disappear?
I’m too much! Too loud or too quiet! I’m lazy but don’t stay still. I am trying to get your attention. Why can’t you see that? I guess because I’m defiant and rude. You want me to stop and leave you alone so I’m leaving. Bye.
I found other things to do and I’m sorry if they are wrong. I used drugs to help me forget. I prostituted myself because I craved being loved. I don’t want that life for me anymore! Please come get me. I’m in prison. Come get me and hug me. Please! I need you to really love me. I crave for you to tell me that I’m still your great child even if I’m lazy, loud, too quiet, defiant and rude. Why? Because I am your teenager.
Note to all parents: Love your teen and take an interest in what they are doing. Listen to their stories. Hug them. Don’t assume they don’t need you. Don’t give up on them! Countless youth are lost. Some are killed, others imprisoned and some sadly commit suicide. Don’t let that happen to your teenager too. Act now! Don’t wait.
Michael Saremba was a young 14 yr old I met while working in a teen center in Ithaca. He had aspirations but sadly he did not feel loved or wanted in his own home. At 3 am instead of sleeping in his own bed he was out with the wrong crowd and was killed. This blog was inspired by his memory. May he rest in peace.