Well, I'm not a teenager anymore, but I haven't missed that mark by very far, and I definitely fit into this category. This past weekend, which feels miles away, almost as if it had happened in an alternate universe, or maybe just a really fucking bad dream, I went home for the first time with my lip ring. (If you care, I talk about that here and here.) My parents were, we shall say, less than pleased. The kicker is that my mom insisted that I did it only to spite her, and that it was an entirely rebellious action on my part.

I'd like to explain here that I'm not really a rebellious person at heart. I hate meaningless conflict. I'm not a stereotypically rebellious teenager. I'm not a streotypical goth, I wear some designer clothes because they're comfortable (yay, wide leg gap jeans!), I wear some random pieces of clothing because they're comfortable, or random, or I care about what they say. I attempt to do the things that I like while not just falling blindly into either some sort of rebellious vs. straightedge dichotomy. On one hand, I'm vegetarian, I don't drink (for personal reasons, not legal ones), I don't do drugs stronger than caffeine (and I'm trying to cut back on the coffee and move to tea, or nothing). On the other hand, I have several facial piercings. Not that any of those things define who I am entirely, but more that I do not in anyway fit some sort of rebellious stereotype.

I figured my parents would have figured this out in the 20 years that I've been alive. I thought about this, after having it out with my parents this past weekend. I've been a good person all my life. Being a good person is important to me (good by my own definition, obviously). Getting my lip pierced was the first time I'd ever done something my parents told me not to. Not that I haven't disagreed with them before, but I've always argued it out with them rather than just going ahead and doing it. But, who knows...apparently my parents don't know me at all.

The irony of course is that I go home for holiday, and I get tons of family asking me how the "partying" is, and if I'm getting out and "having fun" (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more!). I usually nod, smile, and reply with a "Uh, yeah...I'm having fun." It gets old..."Hi, I'm not a stereotype, I'm me."

It's been my experience that there's almost an expectation to rebel and cause conflict, and if it's not met, then anything you disagree with or do "wrong" is then interpreted as "rebellion". I would imagine that most people do things because they want to. I haven't ever met somebody so petty as to do something to cause conflict just because they know somebody else doesn't want them to. So, for parents to feel that their "little children" are rebelling, is perhaps an ego trip to them. I would imagine that the vast majority of the people do not want to rebel as they just want to be themselves.

This expectation to rebel, perhaps perpetuated by bad 80's movies and parents' own childhood, is so strong, that even if somebody is the poster child of perfection that parents will simply believe that they aren't being told everything, and will imagine rebellion and conflict where there is none. You may be thinking, "But, {hojita}, you have facial piercings, of course your parents are going to have issues!" But the truth is, I only got my lip pierced two months ago. This conflict with my parents has gone on for years. I would hazard a guess that parental fear of rebellion is at heart a communication problem more than an legitimate fear on their part.

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