When I was 12 years old, I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't forget what it felt like to be a kid. I promised myself I wouldn't ask kids dumb questions or become a clueless adult. I forced myself to stop the veil that was threatening to cloud over my consciousness as my body matured.
(And yes, this MAY also explain why I've been such a Peter Pan all these years but that's a WHOLE other writing series!)
As a kid, the thing that bothered me the MOST was how often I was underestimated by adults. Later, I was irritated by how I was underestimated because I was a woman.
In fact, I literally have no memory of NOT being underestimated.
Just recently, I was underestimated because I’m now an older, sick lady! A doctor’s office tried to charge me $100 for a 5 minute consult. (I was like are you REALLY going to try and rip ME off? Seriously!!?!?!? What do these west coasters think I was doing in New York City for 12 years??)
I have a lot of compassion for these teenagers who feel underestimated.
But I have some good news for them.
It’s good to be underestimated. For two reasons. Your opponents aren’t prepared for your awesomeness. It's like a sneak attack.
Also, being underestimated forces you to be sharper. Makes you work harder. You have to be wily, perceptive, and more street smart than everyone else.
This is why white cis straight upper class men and women are typically the least woke.
There is not much incentive to developing extra layers of consciousness and tricks to surviving against the kids at the top when you ARE the kids at the top.
THIS GENERATION OF TEENS though. WOW.
Well, for starters, they live in a war zone. As have the black community from day one in this country. Immigrants, disabled, all oppressed people have to figure out how to be SURVIVORS.
Watching your friends get riddled with bullets, that is definitely going to wake them up.
But this generation was already woke.
They SEE so much. And FEEL so much. And are taking to leadership like nothing I’ve witness in 20 years of teaching and 40 years of taking care of other people’s children.
It is EXTRAORDINARY.
I see why people are doubting that they are *real* - only because they are such gifted speakers, charismatic leaders, and were able to launch a Movement LITERALLY overnight.
But I also see what these idiots on the right are missing:
These kids were born for this. They’ve been swiping touchscreens since elementary school. They are the first generation to be raised on social media, holding their parents phone in their carseat for years before getting their own during adolescence.
They’ve watched us fuck up the planet, elect a completely lunatic to the White House, do nothing after each shooting.
If I was them, I'd be grabbing the microphone from the adults too. (PLEASE DO, KIDS.)
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that they are effortlessly leading in the Movement.
I didn’t realize when I was 12 years old what I was doing.
That I was making a commitment to the kids. By refusing to *think* like an adult even as I grew into one, I rebelled against the conditioning we start to absorb. You have to grow up! You have to get married! You have to make money!
I shoved my ears in my fingers and said “no no NO NO NO I’m not listening to that bullshit!”
Even though it was SO SO FUCKING HARD. But now I’m glad.
The kids need us to listen to them now. They have the answers. They have the insight. They have the chops.
They are the Revolution. Our role is to provide them support, funding, and a complete and utter belief in their abilities.
That is all.
I used to torment Mitch McConnell on Twitter that it will be middle-aged women and spreadsheets that destroy them.
But now I’d add: it’s teenagers with their smartphones that are going to #smashthepatriarchy
It's so happening. Ringside seats for a once in a 10,000 year experience.
Kids, I BELIEVE IN YOU. LET'S DO THIS.