As i balance young love, first love - Adolescence Essay Example
As i balance young love, first love
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To venture into untried territories and to go thru some kind of rite of passage – transpire in a greater percentage during adolescence. Such as, young love, first love. It is the most poignant, the most intriguing, the most complicated, the most encompassing, the most comprehensive – even the most dangerous. Still, there is a way to go through the experience of young love, first love that can overcome its possible pain and disillusionment with the help of a proper environment; proper values; proper family support and proper knowledge and education.
Spring sun beaming when I woke up: I am happy. I am 16. He is John. He is 17. He is one class senior than me. A month of Friday ago, before the last bell for end of school day, school week – we were striding the hall to the grounds.
He said: “What are you up to this weekend?”
I said: “Not much. TV, shop with mom, play with my sister, study some maybe.”
He said: “Okay. May I call you tomorrow afternoon [Saturday]?”
I asked and said: “Ah? But, okay. What’s up?”
He said: “Nah, nothing much. I will just miss you, so maybe just to say ‘hi’”
I said: “Okay. See yah. Mom’s here” (as I briskly walked to the car)
And my mind was in circles: What was that all about? What does he mean he will miss me? Why was he so serious all of sudden talking to me like that?
John and I are part of our school’s Drama Club. We got to talk a lot, although we do not occupy much of each other’s time in school. We are just casual as friends, but very comfortable with each other it seems. And he is jovial and neat and dashing!
My mom was rattling off with some things about Aunt Ginny getting married in three months and we have to see her soon. I did not get the rest of the things Mom was excited about. I do not even understand why I am not absorbing anything that was happening. Eyes on the road, it’s a good thing she does not notice my silence, my drifting, the twinkle in my eyes and most of all my cheeks slowly turning into the slightest pink. And they say Moms know and see all things like Superman. But, it is a good thing it is the weekend.
So, that Saturday beamed with that smile on my face. I did not even know why. Or, do I know why? But it was an awkward awakening: I am excited about hearing from John that afternoon as I was practically pulling the hands of time. I am in denial mode and yet with the expectant thrill for the bunchiest candies on trick or treat; a sock full of gifts from Santa; or the wide colors and array of Easter eggs!
I frisked out of bed and went about finding ways to help Mom out in house chores – to rush things off and rush time onward! And also so that Mom won’t notice anything – but she did comment on something unusual about me. I brushed it off and she gave it a good dash of salt to be the truth! Good for her because she has Aunt Ginny’s wedding in her mind. Yes, I am happy John is calling. Yes, I am happy that there might be something wonderful about this.
And he called. And he asked how am I, how’s the family, how did my Saturday go. I gave him the briefest of the positives because in the silence of my mind, I was hoping he skips being too nice about the lengthy preliminaries and just hit me with it. Is it not obvious that I think I really do know what it was all about! But of course good manners say I return the courtesies and I asked him the same thing about him and everyone in his family – how are they, including his dog and the playmate of his dog, their neighbor’s dog. Okay that is done, now what? I almost want to nudge him out loud.
And John said: “Suzana, I like you very much. I love talking to you and I wonder if we could meet tomorrow for coffee at Starbucks. I need to know if we can be better friends or more than better friends. I can’t wait till Monday to see you in school and I don’t think I can talk about this with you in school”.
I told John I will tell my Mom and Dad and I will get back to him and call him in an hour. I got a doubting approval from my parents that I could meet John at 3 p.m. that Sunday afternoon in the next block Starbucks, but to be home by 5 p.m. the latest. And of course they know who John is.
Treading the Threshold
Thus, we understand each other. John likes me, and I like him too. He loves being with me and I love being with him. I told my Mom and Dad. They are not very comfortable. I told my parents that it is not as if we will date that kind of date. I told my parents, we just spoke out loud what we are actually feeling for each other.
It is normal my parents went into the litany and volumes of “do’s” and “don’t’s”. I will give it to them that my parents expressed their doubts and fears in clear but very cool terms. They did not really yell or completely deterred me. Yet, I fear that they do not totally trust this whole thing and they might just put a bug on my phone in my room or a hidden CCTV or hire a detective! I got paranoid about their possible paranoia! I am 16 for pete’s sake. They reiterated that and I said I know. So, the best I could do and say (which I sincerely mean) is that I will be as honest and as transparent to them as I must be.
The ensuing days were cool and vibrant and simply glorious. I do believe that both of us are really so inspired about this whole thing about a “mutual understanding.” John has not really said straight to my face the words “I Love You”. Likewise, I have not really said those three words straight to his face. But all of a sudden school and studying became so likeable. I don’t want to miss class or school. I look forward to our talks during breaks. I look forward to our Drama Club meetings more than I did before we have revealed this feeling. John tells me the same thing. And the more John expressed his most pleasant, gentlemanly ways. He is incessant in showing how he cares. He shares every single anecdote of delight. He confides everything and anything that worries him about anything and everything about his life. And ditto.
John and I are both leading very normal lives. Our respective families are solid, Christian families. There is tremendous value in our very simple and benign social backgrounds and stories. I think we do not have any hang ups at all. We are both happy with our families and friends and lives. But all of a sudden I am treading the threshold of anxiety: “Is this for real and for how long will this last?”
To Dwell on Dangers and Dilemma
Juliet is about my age. Their story was impetuous. Their story was impulsive. She just saw Romeo – and in want of escaping an arranged marriage, she just said she loves him. And Romeo too felt the same way (who is John’s age!) – just laying his eyes on her. But it was inspiring, in a way.
I believe Shakespeare, as best enlivened by Franco Zefferelli in the 1968 film version – did not mean the “tragedy” to discourage young love, first love. Romeo and Juliet was simply a story of pure, honest love that did not receive the grace of fate and time and circumstances. It does not mean that young love is a tragedy. I don’t think so. But the intensity and instantaneousness of the Rome and Juliet love is mystifying:
“At the ball, Romeo sees Juliet. He finds her so lovely that he forgets where he is and lifts his mask for a better view of her. Romeo and Juliet meet, alone for a moment. They don’t say much, but they don’t have to. Each senses the other’s love. Later that night, Romeo sneaks into the Capulet garden and hears Juliet calling his name. He climbs up to her balcony, and the two tell of their love for each other. They will get married secretly, the next day—before Juliet is forced to marry Paris.” (Geocities, 1968) [italics provided]
Whether it was right or wrong what Romeo and Juliet stood for, the beauty and purity of love has never been more expressed and experienced than at that tender age of adolescence. However, that is just for purposes of interpreting the literary objective of Shakespeare. I cannot rationalize young love, first love as truly encompassing simply on the basis of Romeo and Juliet.
The “father of adolescence” might have outdated himself already with his 1904 masterpieces in Psychology of the adolescence, but apparently the principles he founded on what is circumscribed in such a delicately mystifying stage are still being reckoned even by modern academe and learning. G. Stanley Hall’s book on “Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education” that encapsulates his total view on adolescence was reviewed in The New York Times:
“…..the different stages of child life are representations of previous stages of the human race. Native and more or less ‘feral’ instincts of this period should be fed and formed; cravings in the individual to revive ancestral experiences of the race must be met at least in a secondary way. The functions of every sense undergo reconstruction at this period, and their relations to every other psychic function change; new sensations arise and new associations are formed. The youth craves more knowledge of body and mind that can help against besetting temptations, which were never so great……for the complete apprenticeship to life, youth needs repose, leisure, art, legends, romance, idealization, and, in a word, humanism…..Individual growth is a recapitulation of the history of the race…..[as growth deals with] evolutions of the feelings and instincts characteristic of normal adolescence; adolescent love; feelings toward nature; [development of] social instincts and institutions… the regimen to which youth have been subject as they cross the threshold from children to maturity” (New York Times, 1904) [italics provided]
Such a humongous and tremendous complex of characterization and analysis of how John and I are going through! We could easily say “duh?” and get on with it. Yet, I do realize that the features of this stage in our lives can be very dicey, and to reckon love can give goose pimples.
Much as dangers and dilemma are ascribed in the life of an adolescent and the young, first love we will encounter, I believe we can be well advised with all of its pros and cons. We need not be immediately pre-judged and/or be ostracized about the variety of feelings and adventures we might deem well to explore. We can be guided because, realizing what adolescence is all about, we can somehow get that weebit of responsibility and wisdom how to go thru it –
“….[it] starts with puberty and extends slightly beyond it. Puberty is the stage when human beings develop the ability to reproduce. Hormones from the ovaries or testes trigger physical and mental changes that make reproduction possible. Psychologically, a lot of changes happen through adolescence. A young person develops his or her identity as an individual and in relationships with others of both sexes.” (Sexuality and You, 2007)
Finally, it is very interesting that amidst all the complexities, the seeming “instability” of young love, first love in adolescence – it has been studied to bring about depression. Come to think of it, yes, I squirm at the realization that if John misses a beat of a minute whenever he says he will call, I fret and grouch like anything. And conversely, John bears the Monday blues if our families have respective activities that will deter us from having our Sunday Starbucks coffee. Oh, sometimes we hit the theaters for a good movie. And yes, we have gone through the first holding of hands that was both confusing and scintillating.
There too was my unexpected resentment whenever John indulges into a seeming enjoyable conversation with another girl in school! I am surprised at myself! And John has quietly asked why was my phone busy for more than 15 minutes the one time he was trying to reach me! Young love, first love is such a learning trip to the ups and downs of emotions!
“Researchers who’ve studied teen-age love say that smaller studies had shown teen romance can cause emotional trouble, but that the new work overlooked some good things. The study was done by sociologists Kara Joyner of Cornell University and J. Richard Udry of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They presented the results in the December issue of the Journal of Health & Social Behavior.” (Tormod, 2001)
But balance to this out, another study conversely defines young love otherwise:
“Reed Larson, who studies adolescent emotion at the University of Illinois in Urbana, thinks the new study focuses unfairly on love’s downside. His work has tracked adolescent emotions hour-by-hour and day-by-day by having participants wear beepers, which prompt them at random times to write down how they are feeling. Those results show adolescent love provokes “a fusillade of strong feelings,’ both positive and negative, Larson said. Yes, there’s anger, worry, hurt, anxiety, jealousy and frustration. But there’s also happiness, joy, euphoria, thrills and, well, love.” (Tormod, 2001)
After a month of our mutual understanding and after that weekend that I dwelt on the delight and dilemma of our young love, I truly sat down with John to talk about it – equivalent to the serious mode of the combined deliberation of the Pentagon and Capitol Hill on Iraq War: to withdraw or not to withdraw – from this mutual understanding.
John laughed out loud. He chided me as to why are we palpitating about clinching our chances on a make or break because of the so many “if’s” and “but’s” of loving so young. We keep our responsibilities as students; we stay honest and transparent to our parents. He believes that Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” is so apt that our young love so beautiful and honest and pure does not necessarily have to go thru incisive precautions.
He brushed off prolonging the talk and simply pulled my hand and we roller-bladed to our house – reaching it 15 minutes much earlier than my curfew time.
“Romeo and Juliet” (1968 Version): The Film
“Youth” A Review of “Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology,
Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education”
G. Stanley Hall 1904 New York Appleton
Saturday Review of Books BR446, The New York Times, July 2, 1904
“What is Adolescence?”. Living With a Teen. Parents.
SexualityandU.ca. March 14, 2007
Tormod. “Adolescent Lovers Studied”. Hypography Science for Everyone. 13 Feb 2001