I know that I wrote about this in “Who Cares?” but I need to talk about the effect that falling in love had on me.
Do you know when adults treat teenagers as though they know nothing? Yeah don’t do this. Don’t be that asshole who patronises a teenager. It’s true that they may be naïve. Of course they may not know as much as you. It’s very possible that they cannot really understand stuff that you often talk about. But reminding them of this fact helps with absolutely nothing.
I strongly felt the pressure to be an adult. I wanted to be grown up. I wanted to sit and drink wine. I didn’t want older people to stop talking when I came into a room. I wanted to have my own money and book my own holidays and have intellectual discussions. I wanted to be someone that children looked up to and that people took seriously. I craved freedom like I’ve never craved anything since.
Then I fell in love.
This experience made me grow in the most intense way. Suddenly I understood things that I was afraid to talk about. I felt things with an intensity that terrified me. I felt a simultaneous pain and warmth that I never could have predicted. I loved like I had never, ever loved in my entire life.
And I wanted to go back.
I didn’t want to feel alienated from my friends or to be bored of having the same old conversations again and again. I didn’t want to feel sadness in my soul when I laughed or daydreamed or drank. I didn’t want to understand what love was anymore.
I didn’t waste time trying to go back but I did get a sense of the old cliché; be careful what you wish for. I had what I’d desired, and it wasn’t the golden feeling that I wished it to be.
Growing up is scary. And it was especially scary for me when most of the people around me hadn’t. My friends were talking about things that didn’t really interest me anymore. Not in a rude or a snobby way, but I was just tired. Tired of talking about other people. Tired of talking about exams and teachers and homework. Tired of the things that I used to love discussing.
I felt alienated and alone. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. It was the hardest fucking thing. I saw people’s eyes glaze over when I tried to explain. People’s internal eye rolls. Their judgements and preconceived ideas. When you’re young and in love, no one cares. When you’re young and suffering, your friends don’t care. You learn to pick yourself up (or to not) and to stop relying on people to be your emotional guards.
If I sound dramatic or cynical I’m sorry, but it’s true. No one can deal with your intense emotions and your struggles other than yourself. No one can heal you. No one can pick you up. And why should they? We are all doing our best to keep above water ourselves. When you’re young you expect there to be a magic cure for anything. But that really isn’t the case.
It was hard, but I got through it. If I could advise anyone in a similar situation I wouldn’t tell them to do anything differently from what I did (Which I spoke about in the Loose Ends chapter).
Before you treat a young person like an inferior, please consider what they might be going through. Please consider the pressure they feel to be an adult. Please remember that being young is fucking hard for most of them.
Listen to my interview with a friend about mental illness below:
Read more about how I fell in love in Loose Ends here.