My last #FridayFlash was "I Weep Not For Thee", a story about love and betrayal, pain and hope.
Sounds important, doesn't it? That is, until I say that it's about TEEN love and betrayal, TEEN pain and hope.
Hmmm... now it sounds angsty.
It was a comment about teen angst by P.J. Kaiser that prompted this post. I love P.J.'s writing, and am flattered that she liked my dialogue. I was going to put all of this into a comment on that story, but I thought it deserved a separated treatment.
Angst is a feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression. What is TEEN angst, though? Is it different for teens?
Teen angst is one of those things that seems to get tossed around as a trope, or as emotional shorthand. Overreactive angst about pimples or a date for the prom, or disproportionately equivalent angst about pimples, a date for the prom AND evil wizards or vampire love.
The thing is, when you think someone loves you and respects you, and you find out that they don't ... that hurts. That's big. Anyone, no matter what age, would feel that. Your world is turned upside down, you don't know what you can count on anymore, and you are confused, lost and saddened. It's only the lack of life experience that makes their response to that pain so muddled and inexpressible when it comes to teens.
What we see as teen angst is better described more simply: pain. Sometimes the gaping maw of that pain and humiliation is so terrifying that ending life seems preferable to trying to find a way out of it, or even to accept that there IS a way out.
This is especially true if you learn the wrong lesson from betrayal in love, i.e. that since someone doesn't really love you, that you are not really lovable. It's an easy mistake to make if you've put all your emotional eggs in one basket.
A story that would address this kind of a situation should really respect the intensity of emotions. Real emotions, real intensity.