Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Feelings Are Legitimate

"Young Love" "Puppy Love" "It won't last" "You don't know what love is"
We've all heard this, right? In one of our first relationships, we were told that we didn't know what love was by our elders. I really, really, really hate when people say this.
It's their first relationship, of course they don't know what you think love is! They're young! However, what they are feeling right now, is the closest to love that they have ever felt. No, it probably isn't the love you feel for your husband. But, they don't know what that love is, because they've never been married before. They've only been thirteen-year-olds with their first partners. They've never had a fiancee or a long-term relationship. They've never lived with anybody. The only love they know is the platonic love for their relatives and friends, and the love in that first relationship. And that love is just as legitimate as yours is. Why? Because life is filled with stepping stones. Nobody goes from nothing to soul mates. They build, grow, and develop over time.
Just because you're older does not mean that you get to make them feel inadequate about what they're feeling. For the longest time, I was afraid to announce that I loved my partners. Why? Not because I wasn't sure of how I felt, I knew that I was feeling love, at least in its early stages. It was because I didn't want to be patronized. People think that, because they were born twenty years earlier that that gives them the right to tell young teenagers what they're feeling.
It doesn't. It just makes us self-conscious. Trust me. Stop telling kids that their feelings aren't real. Instead, teach them what love is supposed to feel like. Stop telling them that it's puppy love and won't last. Teach them how to be equal partners that contribute to healthy relationships.
This leads me into something else, about feelings not being legitimate.
I'm turning 16 soon. It worries me, because I feel that it's a monumental age. However, I can't voice my concerns to anybody. They laugh at me, and tell me that "16 isn't that big of a deal. Wait until you get to be my age."
I've never been your age. The oldest I've ever been is 15. From the time I was old enough to understand the concept of age until now, 16 has been HUGE. I still feel that way.
I know that, twenty years from now, 16 will just be a drop in the bucket. However, my bucket only has 15 drops in it! Each drop really counts, and 16 is a really big drop.
So stop. My feelings are the most legitimate I've ever felt. It's up to me, and only me to decide what is "real" and what is "not that big of a deal." Just because you've lived for a longer time doesn't mean that you know what I'm feeling.

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