A girl I follow on Twitter recently left her mother’s house and moved in with her boyfriend. She’s seventeen. As a woman old enough to be her mother, I SHOULD be shaking my head and talking about “kids today”. I am not. Instead, I’m proud of her. That may seem strange to most people, but then, if you don’t know her situation, why should you be expected to understand why I would be proud of her for this?
The whole story is not mine to tell. Suffice to say that she comes from a very religious background, that while not exactly Duggar-ish, certainly had its moments. But, it’s more than that. I’ve been following her for about two years, now. During a time in my own life when I – a grown woman – was afraid to tell my family that I would rather pray to Zeus than to Jesus, this girl introduced me to a group of TEENAGERS speaking their minds and damn the consequences. It was inspiring. THEY were inspiring.
While I was being all worried about the more religious people in my family being offended and lecturing me about my own religious beliefs, there were these kids risking a hell of a lot more. My aunts could decide to not talk to me, or even to lecture me. They could not take away my phone, my computer, my very freedom. They could not lock me in my room. They could not force me into some religious boot camp. They could make family functions difficult, but they could not make my very LIFE a living Hell. And what these kids were pouring their hearts and souls out about was a heck of a lot more major than a religious belief.
It was at least partly because of these kids that I finally filled out the religion section on facebook. And then blogged about it. Because if these kids could be open and honest about aspects of themselves that could get them severely punished, what was I so afraid of? My heart bleeds for these kids who are just trying to hold on, to survive until they can get out and find people who can truly accept them.
And it wasn’t even just the ones that lived in fear that inspired me. I was inspired by those whose families accepted them just the way they were. And those whose issues were race related rather than something that also set them apart from their families. Because, these are KIDS taking to their blogs, and to any news outlet that will give them a voice, to talk about major issues that affect them. And you know what? They are smart, articulate, well-spoken articles these “kids” are writing. And I am in awe.
The political activists of the future aren’t sitting around waiting to be old enough to be given a voice. They are damn well claiming their voice, NOW. And anyone that has a problem with that, better just get out of their way. Because THEY are our future, folks. And you know what? The future is looking pretty damn bright.
So, thank you to Kelly, and Camryn, and Eliel, and all of the other teen and twenty-something bloggers who are already out there, taking a stand. Thank you for being braver than I ever was or could be. Thank you for giving a glimpse at a brighter future. I am proud to know that someday this world will be in your very capable hands.