Vulnerability: The Root of All Weaknesses
By Rocio, age 16, California
Self-esteem, bad acne, magazine models, and the list goes on. Not only do teens put themselves at risk of becoming controlled by the media as they continue to mold themselves into plastic Barbie dolls, but they also shrink their inner egos. Each one of us, whether we accept it or not, has an inner uniqueness that makes us different from one another. There is no need to conform to the expectations set by those who surround us. No need for anyone to put you down just because you're not perfect. Sadly, I've learned this the hard way. I mean, you think to yourself, "Well, I'm prepared for what lies ahead in the future, but why don't I feel good enough?" Sometimes all you have to do is just close your eyes and let everything out, even if it means crying until your eyes are swollen. Trust me, I used to hate that feeling after dry swallowing a big pill that burned through my throat and triggered the tears to run down my eyes. I would tell myself, "Bite your tongue; don't be such a coward". But now I realize it's not being a coward, because if I'm not afraid to express myself, then that shows that I am brave.
It has become a soothing therapy for me to occasionally cry when I need to. At times, it's for no reason; it's just the vulnerability of my emotions that drive me to do it. It's that same volatile vulnerability that has led me to become a more confident, stronger person. Forget the influences; rock your own style, dance to your own beats. Don't be afraid to stand out; maybe you were meant for it. Self-consciousness is just a symptom of maturity. Because once you are able to become aware of the fact that you are who you want to be, the rest doesn't matter. I'm fed up with the dictatorial manners of this society; it shouldn't be up to others to tell me how to dress, speak, and eat ... to limit myself to the few things that are acceptable. So be free in speech, embrace tolerance, and diversify yourself, because it will be the things you didn't do that you'll regret in the long run.