Whenever someone has a birthday, we always ask ‘do you feel any different?’ even though almost every single time we know their response will be ‘no’. I turned 20 this week, and still I’m waiting for some kind of knowledge or wisdom or somethiing to suddenly snap into place as if reaching that age is like unlocking a level, the reward some sort of ‘welcome to adulthood’ package which includes the skill to change tires, pay taxes, knowledge on the economic markets, and the ability to talk about politics in every conversation.
So it’s not the day of your birth, the day you turn 18 or 20 or 30 or 100 that everything clicks in. It’s the years of mistakes and successes and pain and happiness that you actually learn. Which, really, is more difficult to digest. We say ‘you’ll understand when you’re older’, not because you’ll be a different age but because the experiences you’ve had and been through teach you. Those disney movies which nice messages may set a foundation, but it’s only through your own trials and tribulations that you actually figure things out on your own.
But it’s hard, learning things, because you start to form opinions and, as it seems, not everyone learns or thinks the same things. So it’s worse, when tragedies such as those that have happened all over the world in the past few days, that people never seem to be able to agree on what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Christina Grimmie’s death felt personal to me, as I remember watching her Youtube videos when I was younger. One in particular, her cover of ‘Titanium‘ by David guetta ft.Sia, was one that I obsessed over. I remember listening to it over and over again, trying to sing along but really just appreciating how wonderful I thought Christina’s voice was. Through her I discovered new artists and new songs and a better appreciation of music, especially in the Youtube community. So it felt worse, to go through the comment section on her videos – although comment sections are always dangerous – when people were justifying the thing that killed her. Saying that it wouldn’t have happened if she’d been armed and able to defend herself. It felt worse, because I wanted to scream my opinion at everyone that clearly something is disgustingly wrong in the world if we’re standing up for a weapon, where maybe if we just made access to that weapon much harder could have prevented it. It’s hard, because now I’m older, and I think I know what is right. But other people think they’re right, and why should they think we know better? Why should we think that we know better?
Then the tragedy in the Orlando club shooting, and although there were tributes and devastation, the debates erupted. Was it a terrorist attack? An attack on the LGBTQ+ community? Both? Then it turns back to gun control, and everyone arguing and calling each other names – and they start to forget, that in all the arguing and debating, lives have been lost. And it hurts to think about these things. It hurts to feel like you’re older and feel like you should know what to do and feel that maybe you’re powerless and you want to just leave it to someone else who knows what they’re doing to just stop it.
Back to Youtube, one particular video on the shooting got to me (see it here) and, once again, I felt the need to go into the comment section – only to see the same as before. Yet it was made worse by people targeting the person in the video. She’s crying, which makes her argument invalid. She’s an emotional woman, out of control. She’s faking her tears to make people agree with her. Again and again, it seemed like no one else was thinking the same as me. Have they not learned through their years? Have they not started to form the same thoughts as me? Can’t they see her obvious devastation and her plea for action? How can you get angry that she cries? She’s showing emotion, so bloody what?
There’s so much I could say on the subject. Maybe in several years I’ll change my tune, but for now all I can think is that getting older is hard because you have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone gets along. Not everyone thinks the same as you. It doesn’t get easier.
And so I enter my twenties, bracing for what’s going to happen next. My love goes out to everyone affected and hurt by the latest tragedies, and I hope that maybe, one day, we’ll be able to say that the future is brighter.