Stop Acting Like Something is Wrong with my Daughter.
My daughter is 14, and she is beautiful and confident.
She knows what she wants and won’t accept less. I watch her in awe and sadness as I see her figure out the world before her. At only 14, she has seen the reality of fitting in. She has been defriended for not fitting the cool bill. She has been defriended for not falling into the deep groove of conformity.
Last year, two of her friends pushed her out of the circle because she no longer fit in their crowd. Months ago, she was left on the wayside by a close friend for who knows what reason. So now, she sits in her silence trying to understand where her place is in this world that is looking for her to be who and what she is not.
My daughter is driven and talented. She has started multiple mini businesses making money for her craft and for charities. She is super talented. Her current graphic design skills could rival a college freshman’s. She is teaching herself Japanese and planning her future trip there. She is figuring things out at her own pace in her own way.
What she is not though is someone who fits into the crowd.
I’ve been told that she needs to be a teenager. People worry that she’s not doing enough. How will she make friends? She’s isolated. How will she function in the real world?
My daughter has spent her first 14 years fully involved. She has taken multiple theater classes, been in plays, taken piano, violin and guitar lessons. She has taken horseback-riding lessons and years of dance classes. She has been on swim team for six years. She has had multiple best friends. She has pen pals. She has a great relationship with her two brothers.
She is self-taught, and is driven to learn the things that excite and inspire her.
So what’s the problem? In my eyes, nothing. She is finding her own footing in a world that would prefer for her to take the already beaten path. Nobody would question her or me if she was involved in a public school, a cheerleader, had multiple friends, a boyfriend, and all that goes along with being a stereotypical teenage girl.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
The question is, how will she, my daughter, learn to function as an adult if she doesn’t do all the things deemed normal for a 14-year-old girl?
Let’s take another case study. I was 14 once and my story followed the traditional path, at least what was normal then.
I was 14 in the 9th grade. I was in public school, and ran with the popular crowd. I came into this crowd with a lot of work.
I was the shy kid who avoided the crowd, but who so wanted to fit in that I did what had to be done. At 14, younger than my daughter is now, I lost my virginity to my then boyfriend. I was 14, a child, and I had sex for the first time. This relationship led me to being 16 and having scheduled weekly Saturday-night sex. Why? Because it was my job as a girlfriend. It was what people like me did.
At 14, I went to parties with friends, smoked pot, and drank beer. On New Year’s Eve, I fell asleep next to a strange boy in my underwear and shirt, only to sneak out later in the night to lie down next to the future taker of my virginity.
At 14, I entered into a long-term relationship when I had no idea what that meant. I lost a part of myself that I had not yet had the chance to find. I entered into a dynamic that was unhealthy, and this dynamic has followed me into my current life.
My story would shock most. I have always been seen as the good girl. I graduated with honors, never swore, never have been fully drunk, but still I was that girl up above. It may have been hidden from the adults in my life, but to them I was normal. I was doing what teenagers do. I went out with friends. I had a boyfriend.
No one worried about me or questioned whether my relationship with my boyfriend was healthy.
I was left alone because I wasn’t alone.
When I look from a distance at the two 14-year-old girls above, I see one strong girl determined in her convictions and another girl too scared to have any. Who would she be on her own? She wasn’t willing to find out, so now she sits behind her computer screen, at 43 years old, trying to figure out who she is without the influence of a society which she never felt would accept her for who she was.
As I look across the room at my daughter, now listening to her music and creating masterpieces on her art tablet, I see strength. Sure, she has lots to learn and she has challenges to figure out, but you know what? She’s doing it in her time, in her own way. And I’ll be here accepting her in all her phases and struggles.
I will watch her from a distance and be ready to catch her when she stumbles, and I will marvel at how, because she can, she learns to stand on her own powerful legs.
I will trust she will come to me when she needs a boost. I could tell her what shoes to wear and how to walk in them, but I’m not too proud of the shoes I’ve worn or that others around me have worn. I’d rather her take the materials she trusts and build her shoes one piece at a time in total control of the style, fit, and color.
I often wonder who I would be today if I allowed myself to sit in my silence, read my books, write my words, and accept who I was fully, without feeling the need to become what people expected me to be.
With my daughter as inspiration, I’ll start now.
Rebecca Mckown is an intuitive healer and spiritual mentor. Rebecca is passionate about helping people connect to their soul life and to live the life they are meant to live. Words are her fuel and her connection to Universal energy. Rebecca spends her days with her three kids, who have taught her the true meaning of beauty and love. She is also an Akashic records practitioner. Rebecca can be found at her website, Facebook or Instagram.