Shakespeare would have been mightily impressed with my theatrics as a sixteen-year-old. And although I haven’t been an adolescent hormonal tornado in forty years (note I said adolescent), I remember the feelings.
For all of you teenage girls in my readership, let’s see if we can have a cross-generational connection.
You ask your mom if you can go with your friends to the beach on Saturday. Before you have even finished your sentence, your mom says No. You can tell by her body language before you have even said with my friends that your sensible request will be denied, denied by that insensitive, clueless dictator known as your mother. Your emotions kick into the dialogue. You raise the decibels in your voice; in fact, your voice morphs from the nice gentle tonality you use when the guy of your dreams says hi in the hall, to a high-pitched wail often used by jackals and hyenas as they approach a dead wildebeest in the Serengeti.
Your change in tone and volume mark the beginning of the end of the interchange between you and your mother.
Of course, your mother will win. You know this, but at this point, you don’t care. It’s over. Now is the time for the dramatic climax to this exercise in futility.
Screaming at levels seen at feeding time at the Oakland Zoo, you begin the run to your room. Depending on the size of your house, this part of your dramatic meltdown can be the most stimulating part of your experience. In my case, forty years ago, my run was, say, about fifteen feet, so I had to act quickly. Summoning up the battle cry of all sixteen-year- old girls, I shrieked, You don’t trust me. I hate you. I am never speaking to you again. You are ruining my life. My friends’ mothers are cool; you are unfair and furthermore ( I doubt if I really used that transition ) I will go to the beach on my own time!!!!!
By this point in my rant, I had reached my bedroom door. The crescendo occurred; the apex reached; the emotional point on my cerebral cortex maxed. Now was the time for tears, but before I could sob my heart away, I needed to hurl myself upon my bed while simultaneously flinging my bed pillows, stuffed animals, and left-over laundry to points beyond this realm. As I cried loudly, my mascara came off onto my pillow in big black smudges.
When I had cried myself out and there was nothing more to do, I started my homework.
Sound at all familiar? Maybe the beach request isn’t relevant to your life now. Maybe your request concerns the prom, the Internet, your friends, your boy friend, your hair, or your clothes.
Here’s my point: Why did I need to scream, run, pound, sob and then collapse on my bed?
Why didn’t I employ those tried and true debate rules of effective persuasion and argumentation? Why did I need to scream at my mother?
Screaming certainly didn’t get me anywhere, definitely not to the beach.