I recently read a book where one character said to another that she was not filling her journal with “teenage nonsense.” Instead she was writing about “truly important” things, things she was learning about God and passages of the Bible that had become especially meaningful to her.
I despised that bit of dialogue with every ounce of my being. How dare she sneer at how the typical teenage girl uses her journal just because she happens to think it silly?
For one thing, I am sick of adults acting like our problems don’t matter. They matter to us every bit as much as their adult problems matter to them. Our problems seem every bit as real and life threatening to us as theirs do to them. No one has any right to make light of things that important to a group of people – particularly when thery are not apart of that group of people, and you will notice that its almost always adults who talk about us in that snide, insinuating way.
For another, journaling is one of the best things a person can do. It should be encouraged and encouraged in all its various forms.
Its rare enough to find teenagers who want to write without making them feel stupid about it by stereotyping.
Write about your teenage nonsense. Write about how you don’t fit in. Write about who you have a crush on. Write about your grades. Write about your relationship with your parents. Write about your insecurities. Write inside jokes that will never make sense to anyone but you. Write about life.
Write about anything. Write about everything.
If embarrassment about what people would think if they read it holds you back, make sure no one ever does.
Don’t limit yourself to writing only the important stuff. The unimportant stuff is important, too. Just write.
For many teenagers, trying to only write what the rest of the world deems “important,” would mean not writing at all because that’s not how they write. They don’t know how to write that way. They wouldn’t know what to write. And let’s face it, writing that way is hard.
We all know how exhausting it is to constantly be trying to be something you’re not. It’s hard to write like a mature, sensible adult when you’re not.
Be yourself when you write. Don’t pretend.