That’s how adolescence works. It’s a place of tremendous pain and recklessness, a place where you have to pretend not to care about anyone or anything too much because to do so would release the chaos of your actual self into the world. It’s a place where tyranny resides as much in circumstance as in character, a place where our shadow selves emerge: ugly, ferocious, lit up by shame.
I remember every single cruelty I endured and inflicted, teasing a disabled teacher behind her back, grappling with a classmate and ripping open the stitches on his head, weeping in fear and confusion at the kids who bullied me in metal shop. Adolescence scrawls its crimes on the heart.