The Importance of Self-Expression in Teens

The Importance of Self-Expression in Teens

Everybody knows that phase, the one you swore to your mother wasn't a phase.
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Everybody knows that phase, the one you swore to your mother wasn't a phase. You remember the time you wanted to dye your hair hot pink or electric blue. You remember the time you wanted your hair teased and layered or five other piercings going up your ear. Though this might be a little absurd for a ten-year-old, it doesn’t seem too absurd for maybe a fourteen or fifteen-year-old. All of this comes down to the idea of self expression.

Self expression comes in many ways, especially in younger teens: art, music, dance, sports, and even hair dye, tattoos, or piercings. Just as I can express myself with music, I know others who express themselves through tattoos and hair dye.

Tattoos are a little different because they’re permanent accessories to the body, but hair dye and piercings are not. I believe that dying your hair or piercing your ears is the same as finding expression in art or an instrument.

All of these temporary modifications also relate to self-confidence. If having blue hair and a ton of piercings in their ears will make a young person feel happier and more confident, then we should support this. Our modern society could use a little more acceptance, especially when it comes to appearances. All of these accessories are temporary.

Now, of course there are piercings that are a little too permanent, such as dermals and stretching ear lobes that are technically temporary, but can require surgery to return to original form.

However, if a young, impressionable teen isn’t allowed to fully express themselves, there could be detrimental effects on them. Imagine knowing that you’re meant to be a certain way and wanting to look a certain way because that’s what you know makes you happy and comfortable in your own skin, but then you’re told you’re not allowed to be who you are.

You could apply this problem to any situation, really, but this has negative effects. By not letting a teen experience their form of self-expression in their appearance, you are condoning the idea that the way they are isn’t acceptable. You’re teaching them to hide who they really are in order to conform to a society that is full of people trying to fit in.

Preventing a teen from experiencing this when they’re fourteen or fifteen can cause them to rebel when they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. When they’re eighteen and can do whatever they want, it can become a problem because they become involved in the workforce and the professional world where this may be a real issue with employers.

Another issue that could arise from not letting a younger teenager express themselves through different parts of their appearance is the formation of anxiety. Being told they're not allowed to look the way they want can cause major insecurity issues and anxiety about what they look like.

I think we don't really realize this until it's a little too late, and we have a teen who is super insecure about the way they look and can't really appreciate themselves until they have some form of modification. Appearance related anxiety can become a more serious issue later on and maybe even last a lifetime.

Now, I’m not writing to tell you how to raise your kids. I’m not telling you to let your kids get tattoos of meaningless things when they’re fifteen, but if we start letting teens express themselves, we could potentially create a society where being “that weird punk kid” is a little more normal and accepted. I remember I started off with the fake, little, clip in, hot pink hair extensions they sell at Claire’s when I was ten. I didn’t really dye my hair bright purple and blue until I was fourteen. Bottom line: hair dye and piercings aren’t just things people do to fit a certain image or crowd; they’re used as a form of art and self-expression, and I don’t see a huge problem with letting teens participate in such a thing. Hair grows back. Ear rings are removable, but confidence is major key.


Cover Image Credit: beautylish.com

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The Biggest Sister Scandal In The Beauty Community

James Charles is corrupted by his fame and ultimately set up his failure.

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The beauty community tea is piping hot. Tati Westbrook uploaded a forty-three minute long video basically outing James Charles as a sexual predator and explained how she was there for him through all of his struggles, just to find out she was only a piece in his game of success. James Charles then posted a not-so convincing eight minute apology video and the internet went crazy.

In Tati's video we gain insight on James Charles' personality when the camera is off. Come to find out, a lot of influencers already knew James Charles to be a predator as he is constantly messaging and hitting on straight guys. When someone is presumed a predator, most of their victims come forth and share their experience, James Charles is no exception. There have been multiple people post videos about their experience with him, most of which have similar outcomes of James being turned down, getting heartbroken, and basically telling them that they definitely are not straight. Many of the people who had posted videos about their experience with James involve alcohol, whether he is trying to get them drunk or being suggestive while the other person is drunk. He goes after straight guys that he has no chance with and then plays the victim. Many influencers that had been there for him since the beginning of his career knew that his predatory tendencies were an issue and had actually spoken to him about it, telling him that if he doesn't stop it would be the downfall of his career. But as he was gaining more success, it seems as though he didn't think it would make a difference.

When I first heard about James Charles being canceled, I really wanted to be on his side. I thought that maybe this whole situation is blown way out of proportion, but when I watched the videos it was really clear that this was the shock that James Charles needs to fix himself. At first, it seems like a random video post that shouldn't have been public, but Tati explains that she tried to talk to James, he just doesn't listen. His only excuse is that he is a celebrity, so why would any of his actions have consequences?

Before James was famous, he was ambitious and had huge potential. It seems as though he was really kind, humble, and willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goal. However, when fame got to his head, he lost sight of who he is. It seems as though he is unwilling to compromise and wants to control most of the people he interacts with. Based on many sources of evidence, it's clear to see that James only cares about himself and his career and it doesn't matter who he hurt including strangers, close friends, and relatives.

It is really sad to see someone who is still in their teens go from really successful to hated by millions of his supporters. His ego and entitlement was the downfall of his career. I have hope that he will take a break and be able to redeem himself. Life went from all good to chaos in a matter of one day. Many people and brands do not want to be associated with him because of his predatory tendencies and entitlement, which would make it difficult to get a job outside of YouTube. Looking at James as a person and not like a celebrity, this must be one of the most difficult times in his life. However, it is hard to feel bad for him as he set up his own demise. He made fatal mistakes, but if he can get his act together and make the correct apologies I think he can bounce back, but handle the responsibility as a celebrity correctly after his biggest sister scandal.

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