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Adolescence

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As I pen down the first few words of this column, I look in the mirror and what I see staring back at me is an emotional mess. Emotions are one of the most interesting qualities that inherently make us human beings. They sometimes play a minor role in our decisions; while other times they take the lead and completely hinder us from making the most coherent ones possible. They make us fall into poor choices, like the irrational decisions to take chances hinged to low probabilities of success; the choice to blurt out our innermost, hurtful thoughts and opinions towards a significant other; making a mean-hearted move, simply to spite someone; sometimes, we even intentionally cause harm to ourselves because of what we may be feeling at the time. Emotions, sometimes, bring out our innermost demons and battling those demons, many times, ends up being a futile resistance. Many times, I feel like I am engaged in an unending fall, dropping ever so much in the sunken place.

This column is not intended to be some deeply moving piece, rooted in the most Aristotelian of philosophies imaginable. It also isn’t written with the desire to inspire others, as many efforts in doing so, in my opinion, come off as patronizing, cliché, and cheesy. This is simply a collection of my thoughts, while angry; nothing more, nothing less. It’s funny how the anger usually clogs up the stream, as most of the time I am unable to write or function properly because of it. Now, I use it in a healthy way; at least that is what I try to do.

I have been working on my temperament for a long period now, as many times I have a quick trigger to certain things. Unfortunately, some people know the exact buttons to press to get me riled up, though I have significantly grown out of throwing tantrums and lashing out as I did when I was younger. It is not a place that I am proud of, but it is one that I am proud to no longer be a tenant in. Now, I tend not to speak, and later address the issue when I am no longer angry. Sometimes it works, other times, not so much.

In my final year of secondary school, I was in a state of constant rage; because I felt that the people who were meant to have my best interests openly hoped that I would fail. I fell into non-academic related disciplinary issues that year, for reasons ranging from possession of contraband to flat-out disrespect. I had smuggled in many goodies because the school menu was appalling, I was insubordinate, refusing to let a grown man beat me with the buckle of his belt. I had my challenges, but the one thing I believed no teacher could question was my intellect. I do not believe I am being proud here; I am simply refusing to actively embrace false humility. In that being the case, some teachers gave me the impression that after the SSCE exams, they would want to use me as an example to my juniors, of who not to emulate. Till today, because of my result, this is something they are unable to do.

This week, someone I care for did something that I felt was not properly planned out. It is a habit that I also feel this person consistently carries on with, so I got angry. And in that anger, I had mentally begun to divulge into a state of pettiness. That is, until I was halfway through writing this. As I currently sit here, about thirty minutes in, I am angry no more. I realize that it is okay to be angry; sometimes, it may actually be a good thing to let out some steam. However, what I decide to do in that anger, how I channel it, and how long I let it last and control me, is what truly separates the men from the little boys. I am tired of being a boy. I am not sure if I am currently still one. I am also unsure of how many boys walk around, shoulders high, believing that they are men. I however can only actively think and work on myself. That is something that I believe I may have to keep doing, until the day that I die.

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