Dear (Mom and Dad, Mom, Dad, Mom and Mom, Dad and Dad, Any adult who will listen!),
I’m writing this letter to tell you to lay off.
We just went through the craziest (I really want to use the F-word here) year in recent human history, and it’s still going. The pandemic has killed 2.5 million worldwide and here in the United States, it has killed half a million. When the virus hit you assured me we’d be ok, but we really didn’t know if it would halt supply chains, sweep through essential workers, and collapse basic services — wipe out modern life as we know it.
On top of all this, here in the United States, the civil unrest exploded, and rightfully so. I’d be pissed off too if I couldn’t safely jog, walk, drive, and sleep in my own apartment — while being Black. Then there was the election and that guy. That’s all I can say because I’m tired of hearing about that guy and the election. There is no escape from the polarization and the hate swirling in our lives.
Our country is still a toddler throwing a tantrum. How long will it take us to grow out of it? Can we grow out of it? My friends and I will have to be the change because we cannot trust our leaders to be kind.
The graffiti, the images of violence and destruction, and the growing camps of houseless people leave me glassy-eyed. I’m on edge. I know growing up entails learning to deal with problems and being flexible, but all this has smothered adults with fully grown frontal cortexes. I still have ten years before my brain is fully developed! Before the sky fell in 2020, the biggest problem I had was deciding whether to play Minecraft or Roblox.
Overnight I went from happily fooling around in a classroom ignoring my boring teacher to being stuck at home all day with you barking at me. I hear you complain about forgotten passwords, Apps crashing, late fees, and missing appointments, yet, I’m expected to seamlessly use five Apps, keep track of a dozen assignments from multiple teachers, and clean my room all in the same day.
I normally hang with my friends to sort out life, but that has been limited because of the pandemic. While you can pop a six-pack of beer, pour yourself a couple of bottles of wine, or suck on your vaporizer (I know it’s not an emergency whistle by the way), I am left with milk and cookies to deal.
Kids coming from war-torn countries at age ten who have never been to school learn to read and go on to be productive members of our society.
So please give me a break from this falling behind bullshit.
No one is falling behind. We are all surviving!
It is a win if I am only mildly depressed and not cutting myself or threatening suicide. Don’t you know suicide rates and depression are at an all-time high among kids and teens?
It is possible to hold me accountable for some work while also understanding this is hard on all of us. Not just you.
Stop projecting your need to be strong and adequate on me.
Maybe instead of snarling at me to do my work while you scroll through cat videos you can show me how to make a dish for lunch.
Maybe you can hold me and tell me that you too are scared and frustrated and overwhelmed.
Maybe we should cuddle and have a good cry together.
The Children Growing up in this Screwed up World
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: Ryan Chin