Who are you and what is your life like as a teenager in 2023? In words or images, explore, but don't feel limited by, questions such as:
Who are you at your core? How, when, or where do you most feel like your true self?
What most inspires you? Where do you find awe, joy, contentment, kindness, love?
What are the major influences in your life – people, places, ideas, creativity, the arts? How do they help to define who you are, what is important to you, and what you hope for in your life?
What issues are teenagers facing that adults don’t understand?
PRIZES AND PUBLICATION IN TWO CATEGORIES:Writing: Poetry, prose, essay, commentary, songwriting; Visual Art Category: Photography, painting, sketching, sculpture, collage, digital art. If your chosen genre or medium isn't listed here, that's OK, go ahead and submit it! NOTE TO VISUAL ARTISTS: Responses can be abstract, literal, symbolic, interpretive, realistic – whatever best conveys your message. DEADLINE: March 1, 2023
Impulsive, crazy, and a little bit lazy – these are the words I would use to describe a young me. Falling off the stairs and landing accidental backflips, nearly getting run over by cars, and procrastinating homework, my childhood had no shortage of dramatic experiences. But who doesn’t do that these days? Especially the procrastinating. These experiences, including those near death, would eventually become tales I would tell to my friends and family in the future, if I survived that long. But my life wasn’t entirely made up of demented decisions. I still went to school and played sports like any other regular kid.
Our world is transforming at a rapid pace It is spiraling out of control Your home is decaying Your mother is weeping Pleading Crying Screaming For you to open your eyes and ears And watch your world deteriorate
You have forgotten how to live How to heal You have become irresponsible Selfish, vain You forget that nothing can last forever Time isn’t endless If you do not change your ways now Life will cease to exist
You are committing suicide Killing off everything you’ve ever known Leaving the mountains to crumble Leaving the woods to a whisper Draining the lakes and rivers That we drink from You have lost your appreciation for life
Now wipe the tears from your eyes And swallow your sadness Maybe now you’ll see things the way they are Ask yourself:
Being a teenager in 2023 is complicated, to say the least. While you can't say if it was better or worse in the past, you can say it is still a weird experience.
Being a teenager in 2023 is a constant battle of bombarding opinions from both welcomed and unwelcomed sources. All of the fights, movements, and trials in the world are on display, conflicting views on the events being blown into your face whether you like it or not.
Being a teenager in 2023 is an uphill battle for everyone. The need to choose and fight for a side on a topic you may not know much about is suffocating.
Being a teenager in 2023 is a free daily dose of an identity crisis. Labels and peer pressure lead to questioning yourself, even if you are already happy and know who you are.
Being a teenager in 2023 is a constant flow of relationships. Childhood friends grow cold and distant on one side, and new friendships blossom with the seasons.
I went into high school with my fist held high to the world Screaming “I'm ready, show me your best punches” I left freshman year with my fists broken and bleeding, The chunks of my heart shattered around the trees and small pieces launched into my rib cage. The bags under my eyes held pieces of a brick that I tried to throw at life Now that brick is a symbol of failure I have stayed awake fighting a war I felt was impossible to win I refuse to slip to the ground But what if I'm currently falling Even after the fall, I know I will land on a knife The last fight does not exist Unless you come to terms with losing more than you have to give This town I have walked too many times is now covered in a filter of grey and black Some red in between to represent the blood we internally bleed Vulnerable to the thoughts that crowd our head We live in a world of glass