Monday, May 11, 2015


Amelia Earhart (before she disappeared, of course) said "Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others."

Kurt Cobain, on the other hand, suggested that "The duty of youth is to challenge corruption."

As the mother of a teenager, I can't help but think that the duty of youth is to challenge their parents.

This has been a challenging year for us. In terms of schoolwork, starting the college search, managing time (not to mention managing friendships). Some weeks, we're fine. Some weekends (like this past one), I stand and shake my head, marveling that we somehow got it all done. An AP test, the horse's birthday, prom, a concert, an anniversary, two sets of visitors, and Mother's Day. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Life with a seventeen-year-old can be a challenge no matter how you look at it.

Then again, there are challenges that we create and/or choose to participate in. Some are good. Some are ... well ... not so much.

The "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge," for example. This was started to raise awareness and donations for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig's Disease. There's some debate about its origins, but starting in the summer of 2014, it really took off. Using viral social media, people posted videos of themselves dumping ice water on their heads, challenging specific friends and family to do the same within 24 hours. Since last July 29th, The ALS Association has received $115 million in donations.

I think we can agree that this was a good challenge.

The "Cinnamon Challenge," on the other hand, is not good. There are plenty of other adjectives I would use: stupid, foolish, dangerous, downright idiotic immediately come to mind.

And now, we have the "Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge." In order to emulate the pouty lips of Kardashian half-sister and model-of-the-moment Kylie, participants artificially plump up their lips using shot glasses and suction. Then, because we're living in a digital world as well as a material one, they post selfies and videos.

All in good fun, right? Wrong.

Kylie herself tweeted, "I'm not here to try & encourage people/young girls to look like me or to think this is the way they should look." Of course, she followed up with
"I want to encourage people like me to be YOURSELF and not be afraid to experiment with your look." 

Well, the experiments have landed some girls in the emergency room. Cuts, bruising, broken blood vessels and even nerve damage all to look like a reality star who has very little reality about her. Kylie, who originally denied any cosmetic intervention, admitted that she had "temporary lip fillers."

I would tell Kylie — and any teen girl who'll listen — that there's a big difference between experimenting and self-mutilation. 

Then again, it would be quite a challenge to get anyone in that demographic to listen.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my book  Lovin' the Alien at  

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