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Act your age January 30, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in backstory, career, issues, rants, teen angst.
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While waiting at the clinic for my pre-employment medical exam, I met Janice, a 45-year-old fellow applicant who had three kids, all older than I am. (Most of my co-workers are in their mid-20’s to mid-40’s. Am I intimidated? Naaah.)

Like many other fellow applicants, as well as a couple of the folks at HR, Janice was shocked to find that I was only 18 and hadn’t even set foot in college yet.

Janice: “What about your studies?”

TA: “I’ll probably have to put that on hold in order to fully focus on this job. I’m taking it seriously, because this is something that I think I could really flourish in.”

Janice: “Sweetie, let me offer you some advice. I’ve got three girls, and my youngest is 20, so you’re already like a daughter to me.” (TA’s note: Whoa! Overstepping the boundaries a little, aren’t we? We just met!) “I think you should quit this job and focus on your studies, because college is very, very important.”

At first I thought it was a manipulative, underhanded attempt to sway my decision (in which case: Wow, she really is like my mother! Bada-BOOM!) and eliminate the competition, although I soon realized that Janice really did mean well; it’s just that, like most adults in my life — excluding a few awesome high school teachers — she was underestimating me.

Janice: “This job is for people like me. I’m 44 years old and I don’t have a lot of other options. You, on the other hand, have so much potential. Don’t waste it by staying here.”

I appreciate that she gives a damn about my future, but she didn’t even consider the fact that I wanted to work there. It was a beautiful office, with a great working environment (think Google), and it was a huge company. Why wouldn’t I want to stay and try to work my way up?

I’m writing about Janice because I’d like to address the older readers of this blog on how to deal with teenagers. I don’t mean to get all lecture-y on your asses, and I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on this, but this is something I’ve been subject to from both my interactions in real life, and my interactions on this blog.

As whiny and bratty as some of us might be, teenagers are smart enough to recognize when they’re being patronized. If you talk down to us like we’re just kids who don’t know any better, we’d be less inclined to listen to you. For instance, I only smiled and nodded at Janice, being equally patronizing back to her, because I knew that she was making assumptions about me based solely on my age. She felt that as an older, wiser woman, it was up to her to guide me back to the right path. (Just like my mother, and you all know how I feel about her.)

On this blog, I get a few good-intentioned comments which are marred with a tone of condescension. They don’t explicitly state that “You’re just a kid going through a little teen angst,” but the sentiment is clearly there.

If you treat us like adults and talk to us like equals, on the other hand, we’d be more likely to consider your sentiments and hold them in high regard. Two of the awesome high school teachers I mentioned above, Mr. Benjamin and Ms. Vicky, treated me like I was on their level, and as a result, they became massive influences in my life and I always gave their opinions high priority.

I’m also happy that most of my older readers communicate with me the same way. Even though I’m only a teenager, they don’t condescend to me, and I in turn respect their opinions.

Basically, make us feel smart. It doesn’t matter how dumb or clueless the teenager is; if you’re addressing us with a tone of “I’m older and therefore smarter than you, so you should listen to me,” we’re going to disregard whatever it is you have to say with a wave of the hand and a “This is, like, sooo beneath me.”

So, there you have it. This PSA was brought to you by Teen Atheist. And now I’m off to hang out with my girls at the mall, get my nails done and flirt with boys. OMG, squee!

When the going gets tough, the tough kick ass. January 27, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, school.
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On the heels of my semi-rejection (the “Uh, we’ll think about it” kind) from Dream College, I blew a lot of money on clothes and shoes. Totaling the receipts post-retail therapy brought me to the conclusion that I needed to get a job.

The following day, I checked out the classifieds and some online listings to see if anybody needed an articulate, computer-literate, bratty teenager with an exceptional typing speed. It turns out, we’re actually in high demand (minus the “bratty teenager” part), especially in this country. In a week, I got a phone call from an outsourcing agency, asking if I could drop by the following day.

I was made to take a few IQ and reading comprehension tests, and a typing test. After being informed that I did well on all of them, and then being coached on how to conduct myself during interviews, the administrator told me that I would be sent for an interview at another company the next day. When he mentioned the company name, though, I dropped a brick. This was an international, Forbes-list-worthy fucking corporation, and they’re sending some kid to apply?

So I did it anyway, because of course I wanted to work there, despite being a lowly Dream College reject. I put on my best idea of “corporate attire,” took a taxi to their pretty, pretty office and got interviewed by three different HR bigwigs (one of whom was adorable in a nebbish, Adam Brody kind of way).

And I got the job*.


It’s a full-time thing, so I will probably have to postpone my studies another year or two. Which I’m totally cool with, natch! College can wait; I have a feeling I’ll be learning much more through this experience, anyway.

Between this and skipping my fourth year of high school, I’m so far off the normal path for fresh high school graduates that I’m in a different continent entirely. I’ve always been one to march to the beat of my own drum, though, so this is nothing particularly new.



*I can’t disclose the nature of the job or the company, for obvious reasons, but it does involve dealing with a lot of cranky and stupid people! Don’t worry, though, I can totally handle it. I’ve been living with cranky and stupid people my whole life. ;P

Like that cheerleader from Odessa January 14, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, school.
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If I haven’t updated in a while, that doesn’t mean I’m dead. Sometimes, writers get writer’s block. The best way to coax me out of my “I don’t feel like saying much” mood is to give me an idea for a blog post. Ask me about my life. My friends. My opinions on love and other disasters. Anything. But to ask me whether or not I’m still alive is slightly tacky, I think. (No offense meant to the commenter, I’m happy you care, it’s just that this has happened a couple of times already and I figured I should address it before it happens again with somebody else.)

Anyhoo. I typed the last blog entry while I was at the summit of my post-semi-rejection anger (read: thirty minutes after finding out the results), but I’m actually doing great now. I was angry for, like, one hour, but then I had some food and forgot about the whole thing. That’s basically TA’s Cycle of Anger (family matters excluded): I get mad for a short while, then it all goes away.

I’m going to take my TOEFL in a couple of months to help me with my college applications in the United States, so wish me luck! Unfortunately, I missed the deadline for NYU Tisch, but hey, there’s always next year, and there are other colleges to choose from. Another Plan B, which I have been seriously considering for a while now, is to follow in my cousins’ footsteps and take up BS Nursing in a nearby college. After all, my family is planning to move to the USA in a few years, so I could become a nurse there and live in my own personal Grey’s Anatomy. Hee. I think this is a really good idea, because I would probably make more money as a nurse than as a writer, and then I could just study writing as an additional course in my free time.

Had I not been waitlisted, I probably would not have even considered this option, so all in all, I think I lucked out. It’s not even just a silver lining in a dark cloud here, the whole frickin’ cloud is silver. So, I’m glad things happened the way they did.

Oh, and I also bought myself a ton of new clothes from Gap, so that definitely helped my mood. Retail therapy FTW. 🙂

Update: Dream College January 5, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, rants, school, teen angst.
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I got waitlisted.

Well, shit.

How dumb does somebody have to be to not pass the entrance test for the school known as Everybody’s Second Choice? And, like, I picked Creative Writing, which is probably the least popular course on the list. I don’t know whether or not I still consider myself smart, but I’m definitely not the kind of smart that gets a kid accepted into college.

Perhaps this is the price I pay for skipping a whole year of school?

I’m upset right now. It’s a manly, angry-grunting, punch-the-wall kind of upset, although inside my head, I’m screaming like a banshee.

The problem is, Dream College was the only college I applied for. (This is seriously reminding me of that Justin Long film, Accepted.) I have three options: a) enroll in Crappy College, b) find a job, move out, wait a year and enroll again, c) find a job, move out, be one of those people who never went to college.


Vulnerable December 17, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, rants, school, teen angst.
Tags: , , , , ,

In tears once again. Fresh from a particularly acrimonious fight with Mother Dearest, where she let a lot of bitterness come to the surface.

Apparently, I have no right to feel offended by anything they say or do, just because I’m still living under their roof. Because they’re paying my tuition. She actually stooped to guilt-tripping:

“We spent thousands of dollars for your 18th birthday! It was a huge sacrifice for me — I opted not to buy that digital camera I’d wanted for myself because we were saving up to make you happy.”

Fucking seriously.

And she said that since they are still making these huge fucking sacrifices for me, disrespectful, ungrateful, spiteful old me (her words), I’d have to be at peace with the fact that she would always be disappointed with herself for letting me become this way. My choices — to be an atheist, to enroll in my Dream College instead of Smarty-Pants College like her — are her failures.

How could a speech like that not make any child want to kill themselves (hey, at least they’d be making a lot less “sacrifices!”)? How could she expect me to understand that I will always be a reminder of her shortcomings, and be okay with it?

She also wanted to criticize my choice to remain closeted in Dream College:

“You have to fight for what you believe in.”

You know what? Fuck you. Who are you to judge? Am I supposed to settle for a limited number of choices (the only non-sectarian institution is Smarty-Pants College, where she wanted me to go to), just because I’m an atheist? The world isn’t fucking fair, okay, and I’m going to take what I can, even if that means taking on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in college. If I’m facing this much discrimination at home, imagine how much worse it would be in a Catholic college!

She accused me of taking advantage of Catholic education, which, again: IT’S A CATHOLIC MOTHERFUCKING COUNTRY, WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GO?

Also, I’ve now been forced to stay home on Christmas Eve, because she said that going out and partying and staying at a hotel would be “too unsafe.” I agree, it is a risk, but I don’t want to be miserable on Christmas Eve. I want to enjoy myself and have a special night, with or without you.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to free myself from all this fucking drama. I wish I could run away, but no, I’m too financially dependent. I’ll probably just stay at home and do whatever she tells me to do, like the daughter she wants me to be. Maybe I should lie and say I believe in God again. After all, she sacrificed her longing to have that digital camera, just so I could have a nice 18th birthday! Because really, wasn’t it enough to see the smile on my face after I came home from the best birthday ever? I was so happy! You had to hold it over my head that it took a huge toll on you, just to prove a point? Well, thanks! You win, asshole! Now when I look back on that wonderful night, all I’m going to remember is THE FUCKING DIGITAL CAMERA YOU NEVER HAD.