[This post is a quasi-response (Thanks, Ned Vizzini) to Abby over at apeckofowls. Her post is here, and although it's not necessary to read it to understand the rest of what you're about to see, I think you should because her writing is genuinely, wonderfully witty and I can't get enough of it.]
Welp. It was bound to come up sooner or later--like the Taco Party Pack you scarfed down on a dare. I'm going to talk about dating. But not like, actual dating. (Or at least what I consider to be actual dating.) I'm going to talk about that thing teenagers do that they call dating.
I want to start by saying that my experience in this field is a big, fat zero. The only relationship I've ever had was in the 4th grade when I gave Sam T. a note telling him that I liked him and the next day he approached me, saying he reciprocated my feelings. We were the hottest gossip among all the 9-year-olds. So feel free to completely disregard everything I say if you feel like I'm unqualified or uninformed or a skank-hoe who don't know what she's talking 'bout. Sorry. Just telling it like I see it.
Everywhere--at school and on social networks--I see all my friends completely destroying themselves over boys. They're heartbroken, they're frustrated, they're over it. It seems like all they talk about is The Boy in Algebra or The Boy in the Cardigan. Romance drives their lives. And I totally get it. When I was 14, I couldn't go a half-an-hour without daydreaming about my crush. And without my realizing it, it became unhealthy.
Everywhere you look, you see people telling girls to not change who they are for guys. But that wasn't the problem. I gave up who I was for guys--they were all I thought about. It was like this for such a long time, and I was miserable. So I stopped thinking about them. And do you know what happened? My life got better. My friendships grew stronger. My self-confidence went through the roof once I stopped competing for boys' attention.
Now, I'm a junior in high school, and boys don't seem worth it anymore. I want to spend time with my friends and working on projects that I love, like writing and theater. I have people and activities that are more worthy of my time than The Boy in the Cardigan.
I'm not worried about never finding someone. I have so much time. Plus, even if I did have a boyfriend, what would come out of it? It would definitely shut up that part of me that wants to kiss and cuddle (among other things), but that relationship would never go anywhere. Know why? Because I'm a teenager, and teenagers are in a constant state of transformation. I'm still forming my opinions about the world and discovering who I am and what I want to do while I'm here. I'm changing every day. Seriously, I look at who I was, not even years ago, but six months ago, and that girl is a completely different person from who I am now. I know I'm going to get married one day, and right now, my husband is walking around this planet somewhere. But he is not the man I'm going to marry yet, nor am I the woman he's going to fall in love with. We both need time. How could we build a strong relationship on an ever-changing foundation?
I'm not saying that this is the case with everyone. If you are are able to casually date someone and learn from that without damaging you or them, that's fantastic. Rare, but fantastic.
So if you are in high school and all of your peers are dating and the stress of it all is smothering you, take a step back. Being young is exhausting, and it seems impossible to figure out who you are by yourself, much less who you are as a part of a couple. So give it up for a bit. Focus on you and making yourself a better person--a better friend, or a better writer, or a better trombone player, or whatever it is you think you want to do. I guarantee all the "good ones" won't be gone once you're happy with yourself and your life.
I know this life view sounds like it's coming from one of those Bible-waving mothers who wants teenagers to "stay pure" and "resist temptation." (I do kind of believe in those things, but that's not important right now.) I'm not trying to get you to practice abstinence or join my church group--I'm just sharing how I've dealt with this issue and the positive effect it's had on me. But really, after all that, I could've summed this up in one sentence: BOYS R DUM DO WHAT U LUV YOLOOOOO.