I recently finished reading Rookie Yearbook Three and I realised there are so many educational, informative and just generally useful lessons to be gleaned from the Rookie Yearbooks' beautifully illustrated pages that it was worth documenting in a blog post. I'm probably not what you would call a die-hard Rookie fan in that I don't regularly go on the website, but I do love the Yearbooks with a passion - I mean they have stickers, what's not to love?
1. How to reclaim your teenagerdom
Even for those who don't suffer from anxiety-related issues, being a teenager is often cringe-worthy, awkward and embarrassing. It's a time of changes, both physically and metaphorically, and is filled with figuring out who you are, what your interests are and how you want to present yourself to others etc etc. But the thing is that the traditional image of teenagers that society gives us isn't all that appealing - we're supposed to be moody, angry, self-absorbed narcissistic adolescents, full of arrogance and raging hormones, not to mention the idea that we apparently know nothing about anything and our opinions are worthless. But obviously the vast majority of teenagers don't conform to that stereotype in the slightest, as even Rookie itself (a magazine for teenagers written by young people, the brainchild of then-teenager and editor extraordinaire Tavi Gevinson) demonstrates. The moral is this: don't let anyone make you feel inferior because you haven't lived as long as them or seen as much as they have. Embrace being a teenager!
If you put time and effort into creating something, whether it's a poem, story, painting, drawing, play, song, video game etc, it's worth something. If you have sacrificed your time, energy and creative spirit for the sake of something, it deserves to be recognised, even if you don't think it's any good. Because it isn't always going to be objectively good: maybe your painting has the wrong aspect or your photos are slightly out of focus or your poem is full of dramatic clichés - but it's important to be proud of your creations, because they are a part of you and you will only learn through creating. This realisation encouraged me to dig out some of what I fondly call my Bad Poetry and rework some of it, despite major cringing.
With the advent of the internet the amount of 'culture' (not sure if that's exactly the right word but anyway) has skyrocketed, and sometimes it can be scary to realise just how many songs and albums and books and stories and films and TV shows and artists there are out there. Because not only are we talking about contemporary pop culture (which is hugely diverse to begin with), there's the whole of human history to consider, from ancient civilisations to the 90s and everything in between. And when someone makes a reference to some 80s movie you've barely heard of or quotes some existentialist philosopher or sings along to a song you don't recognise, and, most importantly, makes you feel like an idiot for not being in the know, it's easy to feel small. I was never very into music until a few years ago and I always used to feel ignorant for not knowing even the most well known songs and artists of the moment. But not picking up on that reference doesn't make you any less intelligent or decrease your worth, and if it really bothers you why not write it down and look it up later. Personally though, it's the excitement of discovering new culture/content through my own research that motivates me to keep sifting through the internet to discover my own tastes and interests - which in the end is far more rewarding than just liking what everyone else likes.