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What It's Like To Be A Teenager Today

05/24/2017 05:09 EDT | Updated 05/24/2017 05:13 EDT
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Girl texting on smartphone at home

You wake up. Every day you want to be better, to be someone you're not. Every day you have a new goal. Some being more realistic than others, they all happen to be a stretch. What's the down side to having all these goals? They simply aren't you.

You would be fine, weighing 160 pounds instead of 140 and to have that pimple on your forehead, but society is a mean and nasty place. Nobody can be happy with who they are and what they've got.

Jealousy plays a huge role in the teenage years. If you don't have a "thigh gap" you're considered fat. If you don't get straight A's, you're an idiot. Constantly trying to live up to the movies. Trying to find a dreamy guy with the best body, dreamy face, most sincere personality and vice versa. Simply living life the wrong way.

Social media is a huge factor. Don't get me wrong, I'm a teenager and I know how annoying it is listening to parents talking about "how social media never used to be like this" and "how they never had a phone until university" however they do have a point. The average teen goes to bed at night with their phone and look at all their accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

While they're at it, they see girls posts in bikinis or with friends. Here is when the jealously factor comes into great use. Thoughts like "why can't I look like this?" and "how is this far" come to mind. As you continue scrolling you see a picture with all your friends but you and thoughts such as "why wasn't I invited" and "do they even like me" come into play. All bad things escalate and way more stress is added after simply checking your Instagram feed.

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After seeing a few pictures of your friends in bikinis (and wondering why you don't look like they do), you set (unrealistic) goals for yourself. After seeing posts of girls in bikinis you think "well maybe if I workout every day for the next 2 weeks and don't eat, I can have a body like that". So you starve to make yourself look Instagram-worthy.

After a day or two you realize it isn't going to be possible to not eat, so you start slowly adding food back into your diet, and slowly it gets back to your regular lifestyle. And it's over, until the next time. Society makes you believe you're someone you aren't and question every single one of your moves.

Too short, too tall, flat, too skinny, too fat, too veiny, too short hair, way too long hair, to many piercings, boobs that are too big, too many pimples, too many freckles, too hairy, bad teeth, too much makeup, caked, ugly clothes, out of shape, bad at sports, fag. Here is just a taste of some of the things teens say to put their peers down.

Imagine a world without any judgment. Everyone could do their own thing with something they are passionate about, without being judged. You could wear whatever you wanted, you could participate in your choice of hobby, you could eat however you wanted. You could have confidence everywhere you went and you could be certain you would hear nothing but positive thoughts coming your way.

Now come back to reality. You can't even walk outside your front door without being judged, you can't even make a post without being judged. Being a teenager is incredibly hard to say the least, and for some, almost impossible. Wake up and realize there is more to life than hating. We only have so many years in life, why waste it trying to bring someone else down? Hate a little less, live a little more, and it's amazing how far that will take you.

Too many lives are being ended way too soon. A huge factor is due to the little things said that maybe you are apart of without even realizing. Don't go along with something you aren't comfortable of. If you see some rude comments on someone's picture, SAY SOMETHING!

Don't just sit behind your screen and read something that you're going to pretend never happened. Comments are HURTFUL. Some even end lives. Help someone, be there friend, reach out and for all you know... maybe you could be the person who saved their life.

Be you. Own who you are. Don't ever give up. Surround yourself with people who make you feel happy and that you're comfortable around. You can do this. I believe in you. Own who you are. You can get through this. Life moves fast; blink for a second and you could miss it.

Shine bright!

Cassie King, Maddie Project Youth Ambassador, originally published May 24th 2017

Are you in a crisis? If you need help, contact your local crisis centre. If you know someone who may be having thoughts of suicide, visit suicideprevention.ca to learn how to talk about suicide with the person you're worried about.

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