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Everything’s Canceled: Feelings from a Teen Stuck at Home

I’m almost finished with my junior year in high school, and everything I like doing is being canceled. My state-wide volleyball tournament, my church youth group, school, my school newspaper. All canceled. I’m not even allowed to hang out with my friends. I’m stuck at home with no people to talk to face-to-face except my own family. I know it’s necessary, but it’s isolating—and frightening.

My first prom will probably not happen. I’m going to miss celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday, and since both our birthdays are in April, she will probably miss mine. It’s our first birthdays as a couple, and I know this probably sounds dumb to adults, but it’s important to me. I feel sad.

My parents tell me to draw, write, keep a journal, make a phone call, talk about my feelings to my brothers, but I feel like I would be judged if they knew what bothers me. It bothers me that I will never get this time back. How do I explain that? I can draw, I can write, but my feelings still stay the same.

I’m home because I need to be.

I am close to my family and I’m glad my brother is home from college, but we are forced in a small area together. We watch movies and have long discussions, but underneath it all, I feel we can’t ignore why it’s happening. And that’s the scary part. The overarching feeling of “danger.” I’m missing fun experiences in school, good times with friends, and important events that have been canceled—and there’s really no way to make some of them up, ever.

What has to be done will be done. I know my family will do what we’re asked to do because my parents are like that. And I would never want to be the one responsible for someone getting sick, being hospitalized, or possibly losing their life.

The thing is, though, I’m a teenager. I don’t know much about what’s going on and I don’t follow the news—my mother does that enough for the whole house. But even she knows how quickly things change and will turn off the news and put on music. Loud.

I am staying at home for the right reasons. But all the things I’ve only recently been allowed to do—like drive and date—have been taken away now. I don’t know what to do about how I feel. And I can’t even work out because my gym is closed now, too.

I feel stuck, and I feel guilty for being mad about it.

It’s frustrating to be caught between my familiar teenage world and the adult world. I know what I have to do, and I want to be responsible, but part of me wants to laugh and enjoy life the way I was only a few weeks ago. I’m missing the lost moments and I don’t think I’ll ever get them back.

August Schultze

Auggie is a Junior at a Milwaukee high school. He plays Varsity volleyball and along with being Junior class VP, he also writes for his school’s newspaper. He hopes to one day attend UW-Madison, but until then, he’s enjoying driving and will keep working on getting his curfew extended. 

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