The 'Being 12' project provides poignant snapshots of life for NYC kids
The transition from being a kid to being a teenager is rough — your body and your mind are both undergoing fundamental changes, and at the same time, you start to notice and react to real world pressures. Every kid begins the process at a different time, but for most, the year you turn 12 is one of the weirdest and most difficult ones: Stuck at the border between teenager and tween, you’re not quite either, and you’re still viewed as too young for one and too old for the other at the same time.
NYC radio station WNYC examines this weird year in their new series, “Being 12.” Articles in the series tackle relationships, peer pressure, and even the middle school teachers who oversee 12-year-olds in the classroom. But, the most powerful and interesting stories in the series come from the kids themselves.
The project’s Tumblr features Humans of New York-esque one-liners and brief videos, all of kids sharing something about their experience being 12. These kids have dreams — of protecting their community, of helping the world, of creating art. They also have so many relatable fears — of friend drama, of dating, of a world outside of their own. They see their parents’ responsibilities and know they aren’t ready for those, but they also recognize what they can do, like getting themselves ready in the morning, looking after younger siblings, and exploring their identities.
The entire series is worth checking out, but be warned, you will feel so many feelings afterward. Whether 12 was a few years or a decade ago, or if you still haven’t gotten there, “Being 12” goes beyond stereotypes to spotlight the realities of the age. Growing up is hard to do, but at least every generation is all in it together.