This title basically sums up my entire life in one overdramatic sentence. But to a certain degree, all teenagers have this sense of helplessness that dawns on them whenever some stressful event comes up: a competition, a test, an application – you name it.
As for me, this feeling of helplessness began eating away at my bones just a few days ago, when I called someone immature and the entire situation careened off of its tracks, barrelled into an incoming vehicle, and became a whole lot worse.
It all started a week ago when my school announced that classes would not be in session on a certain Friday of the month of September because all teachers would be having a Professional Development (Pro-D) Day. Two of my friends, let’s call them, for the sake of simplicity, Jessica and Margaret, and I planned on going to the night market that day because I had just gotten back from Italy and we all wanted a day to relax and stretch our legs before schoolwork infiltrated our lives.
We all agreed to go to the night market on that day. I had asked my parents already and they agreed to let me go. Good stuff.
The morning of the the Pro-D-Day/Night-Market-Day rolls around and I’m studying for a huge test I have in a week. The weather looks pretty dreary: dark clouds, pouring rain, wind – typical Vancouver weather.
I remind my parents, as they leave for work, that I’ll be going to the night market that day, so I won’t be having dinner with them. With a look of concern in their eyes, my parents, who care more about my grades than I do, gently ask, “But what about that test that you have in a few days?” I respond with, “Oh, well, I don’t feel that prepared about doing well on the test, but I think a break will help me focus on my work.” This conversation goes on for a few minutes with the end result being: I’m not allowed to go to the night market anymore.
I’ll admit, I was pretty annoyed about not being able to go, especially after receiving the get-go a few days ago, and then having that swiftly snatched out of my hands. But on the other hand, I knew that my parents were just worried about my university applications and those prospects. And quite honestly, I was worried about that important test, too, which I was not at all prepared for. To add onto that, the weather was looking not-so-great that day.
The weather may not seem like a legitimate excuse for anything, but I’m just going to be honest right here: I like to go about my life doing the best that I can in every aspect. If I know that I can’t do something to the best of my ability at that time, 99.9% of the time, I will save doing that activity for another time, when I am better equipped to do well. That’s why I stop doing any homework past 9:00pm; I won’t be able to focus my mind anyway, so what’s the point of doing homework if I won’t do it well the first time?
The same goes for the night market. A little part of my mind wanted to go to the night market and have a great time – under great circumstances. Sure, not everything can be perfect, but certain situations can come pretty close to decent.
I contacted Jessica and Margaret, notifying them that I wouldn’t be able to go to the night market that day; they could go without me.
In response, Jessica said that she was sorry I couldn’t come. On the other hand, Margaret was less forgiving. As a generally sarcastic person, Margaret responded with a sarcastic remark and said that she knew that I would cancel at the last minute anyway.
I’m going to spare you all the nitty gritty details, but let’s just say that I did not and do not take sarcasm well. I forgot about this problem and continued on with my day.
But as I thought more and more about this situation, I realized something: this incident is not unprecedented. Numerous times in the past, my friends, including Jessica and Margaret, and I have planned events, which ended up being cancelled at the last minute. Every time, someone would get angry for a few days, and then, because no one had addressed the issue, the incident would fade from our consciousness and stay unsolved.
In the past, I would have been okay with letting this issue subside. But at that point in time (and still now), I wanted to be a better person and to be more assertive in my actions. I didn’t want this to ever happen again. If a problem kept occurring, someone would have to address the issue and fix the problem.
At the time, I thought the best course of action would be to first acknowledge that both Margaret and I had done something wrong. After apologies, we could finally move past this issue to the larger problem of last-minute cancellations. I had cancelled at the last minute, inconveniencing both of my friends. But at the same time, I thought Margaret was being immature because I didn’t think she was understanding my viewpoint. While she may have been inconvenienced and upset, I was, too. I had already pre-planned my entire day and to have that ripped out at the last minute was disheartening. I was also really upset because I wanted to hang out with my friends at a fun, stress-free place with nothing to do with school. Based off of her text messages, I didn’t think that she was empathizing with me at all, a quality that generally comes with maturity.
So I thought that the best thing to do would be to straight-up tell her that she was immature. Which I did.
All right, I’m just going to say this as bluntly as I can: I was being really stupid with that comment. In retrospect, I didn’t know what I was thinking. But I ostensibly was thinking because I had dwelled upon how to deal with the problem the entire night. And as a person who has rarely ever dealt with confrontation firsthand before, I can’t say that I expected much more. My response to her sarcasm was extremely immature, which I am perfectly fine with admitting. I am immature.
Margaret responded as any sane, normal person would: with anger.
And with that, the entire situation blew up into smithereens: no one was listening to anyone now. And I felt completely helpless: I tried to make the situation better and I ended up fanning the flames.
Normally at this time in the blog post, I would be speaking about solutions that I have to solve this problem. But I don’t really have any courses of action at this point. My relationship with Margaret is still as bad as it has ever been.
But the reason I am writing this blog post in the first place is that I miss being friends with Margaret. While she and I may have acted immaturely, we are all teenagers – who is saying that we should be full-grown, mature human beings at this point? Through experience, life will equip us with these emotional intelligence tools, hopefully.
Every night, I go to sleep staring at this Minion plush toy from the film, Despicable Me, that Jessica and Margaret gave me for my birthday last year. And every night, I am reminded of how great our friendships were, and how I miss having that in my life.
While there aren’t many clear solutions to me now, I know that through this experience, I have learned so much about how to handle arguments and more importantly, how to be a better friend.