"It's pointless to be shy. You must know what you want and you must say it." Emma Jacklin, "The Turning Point."

You're young. And because of that beautiful truth, you're incredibly stupid. Maybe not in terms of book smarts, or even street smarts, but when it comes to self-awareness and identification, you're just plain dumb. It doesn't take long to learn, to mature, to grow those proverbial wings, but you'll regret that you didn't do it sooner, just like the rest of us. Just like your older siblings, parents, neighbors, teachers, just like me. Oh well, youth's folly.

And it's not just you. It's your friends, your classmates, everybody you strive to maintain appearances in front of on a daily basis -- the people you're terrified will ostracize you if you make the slightest social misstep. You're all just a bunch of hormonal monsters fumbling around in the dark praying you don't draw attention to yourself, good or bad. You constantly have to be "on," which in your teenage years means one thing: apathy. To show excitement or interest, fear or apprehension, any emotion tinged with passiveness is frowned upon by your friends. You're expected to be in this constant state of mild existential anguish, to be resentful towards life itself.

As Tumblr and Twitter will invariably prove, the current trend in teenage behavior is this contradictory and distinct presence of both disinterest and anxiety. Sleep and isolation and being misunderstood are glorifiedI concepts while emotional stability, and even contentment, are derided. It's become the norm to constantly mention about how you're on the verge of a breakdown. It shouldn't be that way.

I'm not saying that you're incapable of these feelings because of your youth; I'm saying that you should do everything in your power to not harbor these feelings because they will come naturally, in due time. It's a part of maturity, something that every generation seems to be longing for at an increasingly younger age. Listlessness and sexts and Smirnov Ice may make you seem mature to your friends, but you're sacrificing these last, precious, fleeting moments of your childhood in an effort to impress those other little dullards. Trust me when I say that you'll have time enough to be disappointed by people, emotionally and sexually, once you've graduated high school.

Take this time to find what makes you happiest, what you're most passionate about. You'll never learn to love, improve upon, or even know yourself by clinging to this group mentality, this forced sangfroid. Let your little differences speak for themselves and set you apart from your 20 friends all named Zach (or Zack, or Zac, or Zak, or Zakk) and Katelyn (or Caitlyn, or Kaitlin, or Cate Lynn).