Emma Discovers the Secrets of the Universe


I’ve lived my life inside of myself. I describe myself as someone who thinks talking is a valuable art that doesn’t need to be tarnished by unnecessary brushstrokes. I believe words have power and that they live inside of everyone, some alive and some dormant.
There’s a quote from my favorite book that I think about often: “Words were different when they lived inside of you.”
I’ve gone through my life holding words so dearly to my heart, as well as observing and analyzing the words of others. It’s easy to blend in with the world when I’m just an observer–a side character. I’d like to say that I’m good at reading other people because I observe the words to myself and others. Even at the ripe young age of fourteen (my freshman year), I think I was an expert at observing the world around me–the ups and downs of an awkward teenage relationship, the mediocre scandals that girls would inflict upon each other, and the ape-like humor respected by many a teenage boy. But one key thing I’ve noticed is how deeply we teenagers feel and how deeply we express ourselves.
For example, my generation has moved into a new era of how we express our love. People used to live in an age of modesty down to the female ankle or our fathers’ permission to meet a boy. Now, it’s mixed signals on Snapchat or sliding into her DM’s with a less than subpar pickup line.
However low or high we’ve come, that’s not my point. It used to take men and women a good, long time to fall deeply in love, and when that happened, that was it–boom–married, kids, office job, affair, divorce, two Christmases, and an awkward Thanksgiving–or however the story usually goes. Nowadays, we teenagers waste zero time skipping to the good parts, and who can blame us? With the ease of constant communication we can zipline through the whole love story at once, all while feeling everything to the purest of its form.
Over my high school career, I’ve found that I’m a true connoisseur of analyzing and observing the traumas and nervous tensions found in many of my peers. We have been called many a time the “weakest generation” because “we don’t know the true ideals of hard work” or that we’re “so touchy” because “everything is so easy nowadays” (all quotes from friendly-but-not-so-friendly passive-aggressive Walmart customers who like to vent their frustrations to the apathetic eighteen-year-old cashier). But in truth, teenagers are just the generation who got handed the short straw in emotional damage. It wasn’t our fault for growing up in a world with participation awards and “talking about our feelings.” We aren’t weak or touchy. It wasn’t our fault–we just live here. We are human too, and we feel so much, but that doesn’t make us cowards or touchy; it makes us real.

“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” -Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I’ve learned that life is often summed up as our happy memories or positive affirmations, but I think that the most memorable moments are when we hurt the most because it’s what we do after that makes it so memorable. When we are in that awkward high school relationship and in ten or twenty years we’ll look back and say, “thank goodness I didn’t marry her,” it’s still real to us. It’s real because what’s happening right now is what matters most.
Now, I know that may seem immature and even childish, but it’s true. Sure, plan for the future, plan your education and your career and your property, but you cannot plan how you feel. I’ve been an observer my entire life, and that’s the most important thing I can take away from it.
I have lived inside of myself for so long, noticing and regarding, observing and analyzing. That’s why I hold every single word here so dearly to my heart. I am not too young; I am just learning how to feel regular and normal. I am not being hypersensitive; I am learning how to love someone while loving myself. I am learning how to bond with those around me as an adult now, not as a child. I, and the rest of my lovely and so deeply flawed generation, are just trying our hardest to live here, just like everyone else.
Take my advice, do not underestimate us because we have so much inside. We have so much pain and hurt and confusion and love and joy; we are just waiting to tell someone, to let someone know all of these words inside of us.

“Too young? Tell that to my […] heart.” -Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Maybe it’s time, now, to live outside of myself.