Writing by Savannah Mullings-Johnson // Photograph by Chiara Baldassarri
So I am just about to turn eighteen and I guess that means my adolescent years are coming to an end. I could sit here and say that my teenage years have been a breeze, but that would be a lie; I have overcome so much throughout my adolescence and learnt some extremely valuable life lessons along the way.
1. You win some, you lose some.
Once upon a time, I truly believed that friendships last forever. I would go into every new relationship with an open heart and genuinely believed that trust came easily. Now, when I look back, I cringe at the thought of how naïve I was. If there is one thing that high school has taught me, it is that in one way, friendships are like wars… you win some and sometimes you just have to lose some. I have lost many friends along the way, and gained some truly rare gems that I will always be grateful for. Sometimes letting go of friendships that no longer serve you is the best for both parties involved.
2. Love isn’t a fairytale, and sometimes boys suck.
You know that Hollywood cliché of romance that talks about happily ever after? I don’t think it really exists, or if it does, it’s very rare. Not all guys come in the form of Ryan Gosling from The Notebook, which is something that left me severely disappointed, as I naively believed guys were mechanically engineered to act like our celebrity crushes.
Well, a survey conducted in May 2015 by research firm GlobalWebIndex found that 62% of guys now use the dating app Tinder– 25% of which are already in a committed relationship! The results of this survey suggest that the once-valued monogamous relationship has been somewhat replaced by a more brutal Hunger-Games style elimination, that involves females pitted against each other in the hope of being asked out on a date…
So, if you haven’t guessed, I have not actually been in a relationship, so this whole point may suddenly seem invalid and I may come across sounding like a crazy, maniacal guy-hating feminist who doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. If you think that, I won’t lie, you are partially right, because if there is one thing I have learnt during my adolescence… it’s that I know nothing about love or boys.
3. Individuality is key.
Individuality = the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked. The process of finding your individuality during adolescence is extremely important as it shows not only a strength of character, but an area of growth.
Throughout my teenage years, I have always been my own person, which was not always accepted by those around me. I was forever seen as the girl who thought she was better than everyone else, which couldn’t have been further from the truth; because I didn’t want to follow the masses, I was made to feel ashamed of my strength.
There will probably be a lot of you reading this that have been made to feel worthless at one point in your life because you chose to listen to your heart. I want you to know that there is nothing more important than believing in yourself enough to not blindly follow the crowd. Individuality refers to an individual, you, not your friends or your parents, it’s you.
You are the one that has the power to make decisions in your life; don’t let anyone tell you any different.
4. Nothing comes easy.
Anything worth having comes with a bit of hard work– Richard Branson did not become the CEO of a billion-dollar company overnight. Success is a journey that only you can take and requires much determination and motivation. For example, I have wanted to be a journalist for as long as I can remember and these past few years, I have tried so hard to become a better writer and acquire more experience, because I know I am breaking into a competitive field. In my eyes success is measured by passion. Never give up on your dreams, and know that as soon as one door closes, another will open.
5. Feminism is more than a campaign, it is a community.
Sadly, I haven’t always been a feminist. I was once a very naïve, young girl who associated feminism with women holding pitchforks set out to wreak havoc on the men that ruined their lives.
Fast forward seven or so years later and I now consider myself a huge feminist… feminism has been a massive learning curve for me, as it has given me a new perspective on how women are perceived in society, as well as how they are treated. This past year, I began my journey of writing for Tigress and it has honestly been one of the best experiences of my life. Every time I write one of these articles, I seriously feel like I am making a difference, along with all of my fellow team members at Tigress. So many people associate negative connotations with feminism but we are the true definition of a community and I am so grateful for all that I have learnt about feminism throughout my teenage years, because I truly believe it has enabled me to become a much better version of myself.[share]