Life, by Shakespeare

7:30 AM

A tragedy in the form of missing chocolates left our hero desolate at the dinner table.

Now that I have started out so melodramatically, I do not know how to recover and not sound absurd. In any case, Daniel Franklyn was left struggling with a minefield of emotions at the table, soundly reprimanded for tantrum throwing (he is, after all, only three). With hopes of chocolates dashed, there was a piece of birthday cake to tempt his appetite. The only catch? He had to ask politely.

"Would you like some cake?" his mama asked.

He had his arms all around his head and his cheek on his fist, and his lips drooped like a Western moustache. "I -- I don't want to be mad," he philosophized, still struggling for composure.

"You don't have to be mad. Would you like some cake?"

He conquered. "Yes. Can I have some cake, Hannah?"

And that was that. Curtain call!

There is wisdom in that, somewhere. His composure, his resolution, his acting on that resolution -- I know more than one teenager who would have exploded long before that. (And here I make my sneaky exit.)

I think, that unlike the three-year-old, we have tendency to want to be mad, to be dour, to be at odds with the world. It's a strange power we wield. We think it makes us look thoughtful or grown-up or something admirable like that. Grumpiness truly is ridiculous, no matter what age stages it.

To teenagers, however, it is something entirely different. To teenagers, life is a Shakespearean tragedy. We are the hero who suffers from the curses and hurts and evils of others. Life itself oppresses us. Inside we cave in to a madness almost like Hamlet's -- and we don't know, also like that anti-hero, whether we are faking it or are truly deteriorating.

Something always cuts off the flower of enjoyment just as it blooms. Happy the one moment, sad before the moment passes. Our bedrooms become a laboratory of pitiful concoctions -- there we keep our tears, our past hurts and miseries, our record of our failings, all bottled up and labeled accordingly. We fly there to write in our Book of Grudges. We hide there and send out storms of depression to the younger sibling who dares knock on the door. Behind that door, we try to come up with different spells for making us smarter, or more popular, or more beautiful, or more perfect. They never do work.

And if that isn't enough, we count very few friends who can sympathize with us. Nobody understands. The ones who you once thought wise stare at you suspiciously; your parents, who should be the preserver of your wounds, tell you it's nothing; your unsuspecting pastor gets a mature sigh and a sad Not good when he asks how your week went. We find refuge in groups where we can commiserate together and swap stories of our woes; but even then, nobody seems to truly care about your feelings, and they seem to focus too much on their problems, and we retire to our laboratories to see if sleep has magical properties on despair.

And I have not even touched the romantic thorns that plague our tender hearts. To put it short, to be a teenager is to suffer at the hands of an uncaring, un-understanding world. I think we would be very unhappy if we did not have something to be unhappy about. Joy is too bright for our eyes.


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3 impressions

  1. Bailey, you are very philosophical and somehow know how to get at the heart of human emotion and thinking in a very honest and transparent way. I so enjoy reading your thoughts. I hope there will be a follow-up post that is more....optimistic? Love you...Mom.

  2. Aw, Daniel! :D So like a three year old, don't you agree. But that was cute "I - I don't wanna be mad." :D Awwwww.

    Yes, indeed you are right. Grumpiness is quite easy to invite in your house. :((


  3. Poor Daniel! I find all of Shakespeare's work to be melodramatic! I laugh at your descriptions of us teens! you are so right!


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