How to be an Alternative Teenager

Have a Livejournal and post polaroids of your friends flying kites and playing on swingsets. In real life, these activities will be tedious and lame, but on the Internet and in photographs, they’ll come across as adorable and hip. People will begin to be jealous of you.

Write cryptic entries when you’re sad. “Today made me realize that I can’t count on anyone but myself. Fantastic. Back to square one.” Report that you’re listening to Rilo Kiley (weird!) and that your mood is “quixotic.” You’re not sure what that means but you assume that you feel it.

Lie in order to seem edgy and write “laid in bed all day listening to the same Bob Dylan record and drank a glass of wine.” This is a lie because you’re seventeen, you don’t even really like Bob Dylan and you only drink wine with your family on Christmas.

Hate your mom. Your mom is the worst. This may or may not be actually true. She might be really nice and like poetry and drawing like you do but you don’t care because she’s your mom and she’s the worst. Your dad is okay, I guess. He just doesn’t really get it but he’s harmless.

Be as shallow as the popular kids you hate at your school and only surround yourself with people who fit your alternative aesthetic. Make sure your friends understand references to Strangers With Candy and Wet Hot American Summer. Go over to their houses and smoke weed and listen to The Smiths and talk about why you can’t get someone to make out with you or why Samantha Toller is such a bitch.

Feel obligated to hate one of your friends at all times. Write mean things about them on your Livejournal and wait till they read it. Watch all of your friends comment on the entry and see who takes sides. Talk to people on the phone about it for three hours. Talk more about it at lunch the next day. Never talk to the person face-to-face and try to resolve it. When you’re no longer mad at your friend, write an entry that says, “I’m over it.” Everything will go back to normal.

Date someone who bums you out but then makes you feel euphoric but then bums you out again. Make them mixed tapes with songs by Best Coast, talk on the phone for hours and have bad sex. You’ll never love someone like you do at seventeen and this is a good and bad thing. By the time you’ve graduated college, you’ll start to question if you ever loved them or if it was just high school and it’ll make you sadder than you’d like to admit.

Hate yourself a lot. Think that you’re ugly. Realize that these are typical teenage feelings but it doesn’t change anything. Get an “A” on your research paper about Thomas Jefferson and tell everyone you got a “B.” Apply to Sarah Lawrence and Hampshire. Get wait-listed at Sarah Lawrence and accepted into Hampshire. Get excited for this new change. Fail to realize that college will be like four years of high school all over again but with better sex and harder paper topics. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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