They call it sadness. You have much sadness.
Sooner or later it passes. Undigested or not, you feel it in the belly of your belly. You'd like some medicine, if only there was something that worked.
Your Grade 10 teachers treat you with contempt. Eyes narrow. Heads shaking. Judgment city.
You're tired of being told that that the reason you must learn that the Battle of Hastings happened in 1066 is because it says so in the B.C. curriculum. How is this going to help me?
Please sir, you've been a government employee since time immemorial, just how is 1066 relevant?
You were more sad a while ago.
You think it was you. But you're a different you now. The sadness is gone like last week is gone. Replaced with something else.
This "whatever" is not going to last either. You're just not in it anymore.
You must go. You must stay. You must go. Stay. Go. Yes. No. Ha! You like your ambivalence. It makes everything at least 50 per cent OK.
Doing nothing is always a winning choice. Actually, doing something is not so bad either, as long as it doesn't go on too long.
Let it be over quickly so you can go back to doing nothing. Nothing is that beautiful temporary feeling that never goes away.
Your mother is calling you. About nothing. I'm just checking, she says.
You're ambivalent about nothing. You like it too much. You hate yourself for liking it. If you could get it in a bottle, you wouldn't stop drinking it. You love it. You hate it. You want to marry it.
Your teachers hate teenagers so much they became teachers. That makes sense. Like that's impressive. They look at you with their vampire eyes; they want to suck the youth marrow out of you.
Older people aren't fun because they've figured out there are a million variations to life and only a few they are not afraid to try: like eating dry cookies, shopping at Value Village, lining up for cheap gas, and surprising adolescents with pop quizzes.
Who doesn't love the old familiar?
It sure seems to be enough.
Your grandparents understand your impatience about everything. I want to scream, too, they say, but there is no point, no energy. "I wish there was a cause," your grandfather says, "but who can fight the forces of global order?"
Causes? You're furious.
You're mad about the environment. You're mad about the government. You're mad about the traffic.
You know it can't last. One day, you'll wake up and you'll be an adult. You'll say, damned if I do, damned if I don't - about everything.
Damn, you're furious, you say.
You want something to be over. The intensity of the drama that never starts. The screaming feeling that something is going to happen but it never does. The sky doesn't open with the parachutes of the rebels. A god-like voice doesn't sing your name into celebrity history. The bank machine doesn't spill out thousands and thousands of dollars.
Honestly, you wouldn't mind being a C-level celebrity or something. A game show host, perhaps.
You would like to be somewhat surprised before you grow up. You would like to see the adults stop acting like children. You would like to see some collective action. You would like everyone to do the same thing in unison and cause some kind of shock wave in the universe.
What could adults do that could shock you? Stop pulling up their pants maybe. Stop playing make believe. Grow up and get pants that fit.
You've never seen a truly grown up person, you think. No one you could really say who really felt the sadness, the rolling melancholy of it all.
High school teaches that you're not special, that specialness is just another way to get you to believe that things are going to be OK - if you just obey.
Believing it doesn't make it true, Santa.
Things are not OK.
More animals are going extinct. More crap is going into the ocean and sky. Rebellion is just next season's style. Pretty soon, it will all be in the same pit: the place to plant seeds, put our sewage, raise our food and bury our dead.
You think I'm a pretty sad person for 15 years old. Your heart is already broken, too? Good thing, because it really doesn't matter what you feel. Someone is just going to tell you that you don't have the right to feel that way.
Teacher, the Battle of Hastings is the beginning of the Empire as we know it. Come on!
Be positive. Be happy. Buy a scratch and win. Go to a concert. Play with your phone. Vote with the Empire. Try not to like or hate Walmart too much. Thanks for the advice. The Empire thanks you.
Ambivalence. You're, like, addicted to it. It's on every channel. I want it. I need it. I hate myself for wanting it and needing it. You hate the manufacture of desire because you can't resist it on your own.
Are we really really really really on our own? Just who is broadcasting that?
Your mother is calling you. Go to your room. Clean your room. She is well-meaning, but she gets migraines, struggles at yoga and stares out the window a lot biting her lip.
She says you will grow up. One day, you will forget, too. But you will memorize this moment, so you can remember what it feels like.
You will memorize this moment so you can remember how indescribably, polyphonically, unbelievably deep and unknowable and profoundly emotional life really is underneath it all.
Oh, you're just so furious. You're going to hug your mom now. Maybe clean your room after.
Stan Chung is the author of Global Citizen. Contact him at