From The Scarlet Letter, a romantic work of fiction published in the year 1850, Hester Prynne lived miserably in a world full of hypocritical puritans. She was unhappy and lonely. Married to a man she did not love; committed adultery; and was condemned by society. As to why she did the things she did, is beyond us. But analyzing her would lead us to the conclusion that she was looking for an escape, a distraction from reality.
Society starts a small tear in a piece of cloth; and we either let it be the inconspicuous tear it is, or let it manifest until it can no longer go unnoticed. Like Hester, we look for a distraction, a way to cope with the harsh realities of life. And most often, we find this in bottles of whiskey, sachets of drugs, and one night stands.
Teenagers undergo a lot of pressure from society. From school shootings, to societal pressure to “fit in,” to cyberbullying, the onslaught is constant. Society pushes them down, pointing out all their possible flaws no matter how little, leading to self-pity and self-loathing, which then makes way for anger.
Self-destructive teenagers are a lot like suicide bombers, a ticking time bomb. Ready to explode and ready to take their casualties with them. And who are the so-called terrorists who planted these suicide bombers? Are we going to blame their parents, their friends, or is it only right to blame the person themselves? Because after all, at the end of the day, we decided to let anger consume us, to let society step on us, and wallow in self-pity.
Yes, anger is a natural reaction. We all get angry. But, it is always up to us how to use this anger. Be it for vengeance, determination, or simply just another addition to our weights. No matter how far we run away, reality catches up with us within a matter of seconds.
According to the American Psychological Association, some degree of impulsivity is developmentally normal for teenagers. During this stage of development, teens lack the same executive functioning skill and impulse control as adults. Teenagers have made enemies in themselves. They are reckless and impulsive, engaging in self-destructive behavior and acts against their better interests and their better judgments.
But the line between impulsive, self-destructive behavior and typical adolescent rebellion is when teenagers start doing it on a daily basis. It’s when they’re aware of the consequences of their actions but do it anyway. This sort of behavior roots from not only one known cause but, multiple reasons adding up with each other. Like depression, anxiety, strained relationships with parents and a lot more.
It is a choice for teenagers to drown themselves in anger and self-pity, instead of standing up and moving forward, no matter how hard. Although society plays a part, and it is only normal for teenagers to act impulsive and experience new things in order to learn and gain more wisdom, society will never change. From the year 1850 and the years before it, until now, society is still filled with hypocrites ready to judge, to criticize and push you down.
Although people are dependent on each other, people are also our greatest downfalls. Our narrow minds, our emotions getting the better of us, our endless pursuit of perfection, are what make this society our society. It will never change, but we can always change as individuals.
One little change, changes everything. Be gentle and kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. We’re all trying to find ways of escaping this labyrinth. But the only way out of the labyrinth of suffering, is to forgive. Forgiveness will push you no other way, but forward. But a wise man forgives but never forgets.