Jessica Contrera, of The Washington Post, on what it’s like to be a teenager:
On the morning of her 14th birthday, Katherine wakes up to an alarm ringing on her phone. It’s 6:30 a.m. She rolls over and shuts it off in the dark.
Her grandparents, here to celebrate the end of her first year of teenagehood, are sleeping in the guest room down the hall. She can hear the dogs shuffling across the hardwood downstairs, waiting to be fed.
Propping herself up on her peace-sign-covered pillow, she opens Instagram. Later, Lila will give her a Starbucks gift card. Her dad will bring doughnuts to her class. Her grandparents will take her to the Melting Pot for dinner. But first, her friends will decide whether to post pictures of Katherine for her birthday. Whether they like her enough to put a picture of her on their page. Those pictures, if they come, will get likes and maybe tbhs.
They should be posted in the morning, any minute now. She scrolls past a friend posing in a bikini on the beach. Then a picture posted by Kendall Jenner. A selfie with coffee. A basketball Vine. A selfie with a girl’s tongue out. She scrolls, she waits. For that little notification box to appear [emphasis mine]
It’s hard to read this piece and not see aspects of myself between the lines. The teenage years are full of angst for most everyone. That said, every insecurity I felt growing up is utterly dwarfed by what plagues teenage girls in this post-Snapchat world.