Fluorescent Adolescence


Last year, on one of the many days I spent scrolling through Humans of New York posts, I found a poem that I truly love and appreciate. It was written by a teenage girl and I think that it touches on a lot of truths of our generation’s adolescents, creating a feeling of kinship with other teenagers when read. The poem is titled “Fluorescent Adolescence” and I will post it just below this sentence.

Fluorescent Adolescence
by Ruth Bamuwamye

Overqualified yet underachieving
It’s singing delightfully off key to the radio
Yet pitch perfect in the shower
It’s spending a half hour in the morning
Perfecting your messy bun
It’s gelling bedhead
It’s lifting weights yet covering yourself up in turtlenecks
It’s being a closet philosopher but blaming lackluster grades on “not trying?”
It’s tumbling,sharing, instagramming
The perpetual pursuit of cool but aloof,
hard to get,

It’s the cycle of hurting
lying… and then telling the truth.
It sucks.
But perhaps when we’re older
a new set of problems will cause us to miss those of adolescence.
So I guess we should learn to love the pain,
Since it’s pain that allows us to live and love radically,
feel monumentally,
and smell the coffee or watch the stars, or hear the music
that we might later pass by in the rush of the real world.

For now we are poets
And activists
Engineers and Inventors
For now, we are what we want to be.
Some say the grass is greener on the other side but I’d disagree:
I say our grass is fluorescent.

I just feel that this poem puts an incredibly accurate perspective on the idea of growing up and on the idea of finding our place in a world that spins so fast we sometimes can’t even focus on the general vicinity we wish to stand in. The poem sits posted above my bed and I try to read it frequently, especially in these next few weeks of tumultuous decision making. As it turns out, nobody is as unique or original as they originally believe and every other high school senior is going through the same process that I have been. In conversing with people I am, however, becoming more and more confident in what the next several years hold for me and I am incredibly excited to start a new part of my life; a part which will allow me to grow into I envision myself becoming and being.


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