For a very long time, I’ve suspected that butterflies have the right idea. Their larva are grubby but not without their charm, often visually pleasing, even if they are prickly and disgusting to touch. Their final form is, of course, stunning. And while they’re stuck in that transitional phase, which is almost certainly disgusting beyond measure, they get to do it in peace and quiet. They go into a room as a baby and come out as a lovely adult.
Humans, on the other hand, suffer the animal kingdom’s most distressing adolescence. Everyone can see them struggling along awkwardly, not babies, but not grown up, either. Awash with terrifying chemicals, all their body parts are growing at different rates, bizarre and unpleasant changes are taking place inside and out, and they’re constantly being forced to compare their development to those around them.
I posit that the human way to go through adolescence would be with an option, around the 11th birthday, to lock oneself away from the world and stay in hiding until age 15 or so, at which point you emerge, gorgeous and confident and ready to take the driver’s exam and make out with other recently reintroduced teenagers. How much less psychological distress would we have to overcome if we could spin cocoons?
There are 2 adolescent humans in this house, although we count ourselves pretty lucky that they have not yet shown any signs of hormone poisoning. There’s no arguing or sullen silence or anything like that. Just a fairly constant direct connection to screens. But, MAN, when I was 12, I would have given almost anything for the privilege of going into my room and not coming out until at least my junior year of high school.