Being emo

by Jamal T. Jackson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

I stand out at Paul Robeson High School in Englewood, where I am a freshman. It’s not always easy.

One recent day, I walked in the lunchroom and everyone yelled out, “Freak!” and called me a Satanist. I ended up not even eating lunch that day. I had on the school uniform, but I was also wearing red contacts and fingerless gloves and my nails were painted black. I dress this way—and my peers yell at me—because I am emo. Let me explain what it means to me to be emo.

First of all, the word emo is shorthand for emotional. That means emo people are in touch with their emotions. People who are emo may dress differently, wearing dark clothing, and listening to different types of music than other teenagers.

I became emo at the age of 11. What first got me started is when I heard my first rock song, by Three Days Grace. It opened my mind to new music and I soon stopped listening to rap and just listened to rock music all day long.

Then I realized I was good with a skateboard and loved doing parkour, a form of free running and free jumping exercise. But it also is a strange thing that no one in my neighborhood understands, so they call me weird, which is understandable because it’s something no one in my neighborhood has even seen before.

I started wearing black clothing to match my personality. It was like nothing in the world mattered at all to me. I didn’t care about anything but skateboarding and rock and staying to myself. But to be very frank, all I need is emo hair, slick, shiny, hanging down over your face, and then I will be complete.

Emo teenagers are often outcasts in their schools. For example, I believe that I am the only emo person in all of Paul Robeson High School. I called my girlfriend, whose name is Railynn, and asked her if she thought emo people were treated unfairly. Railynn also has first-hand experience with this because she is also emo.

She told me that, “We are different and that’s our way of dealing with things. And if people don’t like it they can get lost and at school people report us to the principal and we have to get counseling but for nothing.

We are just being ourselves” The misunderstandings people have about emo teenagers are many. For example, my peers at Robeson sometime think that I worship the devil when I don’t.

But in all truth, I and many of my emo friends have a problem with which religion to follow, so we don’t follow any. Another misunderstanding is that people claim all emo kids and teens cut themselves.

I believe people should have more compassion for emo teenagers. We have a hard time already because we aren’t like other kids. It’s not right to be called a “freak” at lunch and it’s wrong for people to judge us for who we are.

Tags: , , ,
Categories: Homepage UYIJP

8 Responses to “Being emo”

  1. MaurshayDaniels Says:

    I Know This Person && He’s Right We Go to The Same School As Well.But He’s Not Emo Nomore Well I Can’t Say Nomore Cause He Might Still Be Deep && Side But I Dont Think That Emo Is Good Because You FEAR Others && You Think That You Being who you is but you not!!! really i think its just the music thats getting to you i think that you just need more LOVE && You LIFEE.

  2. kevante parker Says:

    yes i do think emos get treated wrong but its becuase of the things you guys do and think of your self and other people

  3. ta'taleisha jones Says:

    anybody and everybody would always have something to say about you if you’re not like them.if you don’t have the things they have or anything else they would judge you and call you all types of names. but if i were you i wouldn’t listen to them because to me you was always cool except when you played too much but in all stick to what you want don’t let other people tell you or persuade you to be anything or anybody

  4. Devaughn Marshall Says:

    Jamal T. Jackson i really lik your story its tell me alot ab out emo, And i was wronding why did you want to be emo because i thought it was only for white teenager, but as i see black teenager can be emo to but i really like yo story because if a person that i know who want to be a emo i can tell them most about what u said like skateboarding and jumping.

  5. Diondra Says:

    You shouldn’t let people break you down. Everyone is different in their own way, and should accept yourself before anyone else can.

  6. Jamise Parish Says:

    I don’t think It’s right for people to treat you wrong just because you’re emo. Everybody has flaws so no one has the right to judge any one. I personally think that If he has problems of his own, no one should bring him down. When you bring people down(to a certain extinct) It causes stress. Stress kills. Some people need to give him a chance. Everybodys’ different!

  7. Tyreshia Black Says:

    Great article Jamal!

  8. Amber Says:

    I’m am emo. I don’t really like
    Calling it that. I don’t like when people
    Judge emo people just because.
    I’m going to a new school next year
    I have alot of friends at my old
    School who are scene. But I’m afraid to
    Go to a new school because Of people
    Being a bitch about emo people.

Welcome, leave a comment: