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The teenager

“The teenager” 4’x5’ Acrylic on Canvas, Featuring my son, Paolo who was 16 at the time.

Adolescence is a period of transition. Teens go through a lot with a new body and an expanding mind. My painting is set in a landscape reminding the viewer of Narcissus who looked at the water and fell in love with his own image. Luckily, in this case, the young man doesn’t have this curse upon him. He will not succumb to the selfie’s hypnosis. His quest is to go inward and find his own words which hopefully can help him communicate his emotions, thoughts and feelings. I remember well my teenage years. I didn’t say much but I observed a lot. I couldn’t really express myself as I was so busy painting in my mind and too busy ingesting people’s attitudes, words & facial movements. There were no words often to express what I was busy with. I relate to this hand in a whirl of matter with per chance some words at the bottom, held in a constant stream and some magma from the ground. His feature is not sad, it is neutral. He is present in this quiet moment. It doesn’t look like much but there is something rich in intensity going on internally.  

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Teenage time is hard enough but then the pandemic hit. In her article called “The loneliness of an interrupted adolescence” for the Washington post Ellen MacCarthy writes “The pandemic has punished people of all ages, overwhelming parents, isolating grandparents, shortchanging kids. But the emotional fallout for teenagers has been uniquely brutal. At just the age when they are biologically predisposed to seek independence from their families, teens have been trapped at home. Friends — who take on paramount importance during adolescence — were largely out of reach, accessible mostly by social media, which brings its own mix of satisfying and toxic elements”.

A June surveyhttps://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf )

by the Centers for Disease Control found that a staggering 26 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported having serious suicidal thoughts in January 2021, compared with 16 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds and less than 4 percent of people ages 45 and older.

Kids have been spending more time in their room, isolated from everyone and everything. When not online, they scrolled through their phone endlessly. Many of them didn’t get the mental help they needed.

There was and is a place for teens to call in or write. It is called Teen Line.. If the teen has a problem or just want to talk with another teen who understands, then this is the right place. Call, Text, or Email them Check out "Ask TEEN LINE", find resources in the Youth Yellow Pages, or join conversations with other teens on the message boards. If you’re a parent of a teen, please check out their website with resources, tips, and insights.

The volunteers biggest hope, for themselves and for the kids who call in, is that some day soon they’ll all feel a little less alone.

https://teenlineonline.org/talk-now/

If this print could help in anyway help talk about teenagers struggles, please let me know. 

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The teenager

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