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Smells Like Teenage Anguish
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| Words: 1818 | Submitted: 30-Apr-2011
96.4% | Number of pages: 8 | Filetype: Word .doc
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All names have been changed to protect the identities of the people in this article.
It is the year 1995 – it’s all about the plaid shirts, the quintessential baggy jeans, the chunky Timbaland shoes and backwards baseball caps. Neon is in. Music – especially independent music - is in. It is the decade that many have argued to be the best in listening to alternatives from the tyranny of mainstream melodies. This is the decade that has given birth to one of the most recognizable riffs – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ from grunge band Nirvana. There is a sense of rebellion and freedom and chaotic catharsis for teenagers – especially so for 17-year-old Rose who has flown the coop.
“F**king freedom,” present-day Rose drawls, as she takes a drag on her cigarette looking at me with eyes that have seen many, many things. She is now 32 and tired from a day’s work at Applebee’s, her current workplace. It’s quite a jump for the same soul that listened to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ for days on end and rocked out to its cavalier sentiments. It makes you ask, whatever happened to the teenagers of the 90’s? Are they still angry about the same things? Do they still care? Are the same earring-ed young men of that time still proudly holding on to their deeply antiestablishment values, and moshing and partying their frustrations out? There’s a very good chance that the answer is no. Let’s face it, this story has been told and rehashed – it is almost inevitable that one of the constants in life is that people change. However, you hardly ever hear about what happens to problem teenagers some ten or fifteen years later.
If ever there was a problem teenager, a particular lyric from Teen Spirit comes to mind regarding Rose’s adolescence - “I’m worst at what I do best.” Binge drinking, substance abuse and teen pregnancy simply scrape at the iceberg that is Rose’s colourful past. Before we begin, there are simply two words to start off the emotional rollercoaster: But why?
How it begins is that the well-meaning eagle eye of a parent can put untold pressures on a young and fragile mind and the constant tension builds up. Before you know it children grow into young adults and it goes either of two ways. Often parents relax their steel grip on the reigns of obedience by dishing out freedom and a reward gradually. But in this case all the freedoms and choices that come with adulthood were thrown upon Rose at once after moving to another country. “Escape from Alcatraz!” Rose giggles as she remembers that time ...
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