Let me just say that I started the draft for this post weeks ago and I’m finally in a mood to write. I haven’t really done anything productive in the last several weeks. Well, I discovered writing in circular Gallifreyan and got part-way through making a pendant. That’s about it, though.
I started writing for TS in April. It’s a wonderful opportunity to insert myself in a community that I want to really be part of. It’s granted me a platform and an audience, both online and IRL. I have lots of new friends and acquaintances, and I had an opportunity to actually leave my state for a few days! (Crazy, right?) I got to meet Rebecca Watson and fucking PZ Myers.
Thanks to my involvement in this community, I’m actually starting to think about MYSELF and what I want and need from life. (No joke guys, this is fucking monumental.) And, I even think about death differently. I was an atheist before I ‘officially’ became a member of the community. In that sense, I still view it as an end to my biological function, after which I will not be aware. I now see my life as time to be spent in a meaningful way, and even my death doesn’t have to be a waste. I’m going to donate my body to science when I go. =]
Writing at TS is also very, very annoying. I don’t mean that it’s annoying to have deadlines or get emails sent to me that don’t necessarily have anything to do with me. It’s just irritating to have FINALLY reached adulthood after YEARS of grueling adolescence and the constant ageism that I experienced, to now be writing for a blog called “Teen Skepchick” on a network of six blogs.
At CONvergence, I was unable to go out on the balcony, where most of the Skepchick people were hanging out and talking, because I’m eighteen and therefore can’t drink. This sufficiently awkwarded out my first two nights at the con. I was one of three TS contributors there, and apparently the only one who really hung around much, so several times people called me “The Teen Skepchick”. That I got to be “The” Teen Skepchick was pretty awesome, but I was also being called “Teen” all the time.
There were also jokes about language being inappropriate around me and generally light teasing occurred. I’m not offended or upset at anyone for making those jokes, so please don’t think I hate you if you’ve done this. I just really really hate the behaviour.
I matured very early. I’m not really certain why; it’s probably a result of being raised by a bi-polar, abusive mother who I literally comforted as she cried when I was seven (and that’s just the first time I remember). Regardless, when I was around twelve-thirteen, I went from being a kid to being more-or-less an adult with enough experience to set me pretty far ahead of my peers.
As you can imagine, it killed me whenever someone suggested that I wasn’t mature enough to make decisions or handle talking about sex or using foul language. First of all, censorship is fucking stupid anyway. I understood sex and its implications enough to wait until I was emotionally capable of handling it and already on the pill. Being told that I couldn’t dye my hair when I was 13 was ridiculous to me. (I’m going to stop before I go on a huge tangent of all the dumb shit my mother said.)
I dealt with all that for so long that I’m actually surprised now when someone just treats me like another adult. My boyfriend’s sister just treats me like any of her other friends, and I never feel like I’m being talked down to. It was something I actually had to get used to, and now I’m less likely to be caught off-guard when others do it.
Reaching adulthood was a great point for me. I had already graduated high school–another bane–and it was generally a small affair, but it means something to me. I finally have legal control over my body, and I actually have possessions! I’ve registered to vote, had consenting sex with my also-adult boyfriend, gotten a job with my own insurance*, bought/smoked cigarettes and watched porn. Aaalll legal. It’s nice.
I really just thought all that age-stigma was gone when I turned eighteen. In March. A month before joining Teen Skepchick. I do love being part of this site and the network and the community. No offense to my lovely co-contributors at TS, but when do I get promoted?
If I seem pissed off, I’m not, it’s just a mild irritant consistently spread over the last six years of my life. I want my age to stop being a factor when people talk to me or choose me for projects or otherwise deal with me.
*I know you can have a job and insurance before adulthood, but I didn’t get hired until after I was eighteen and would definitely not have the job I have otherwise.