How Euphoria made me think about my teenage years

SPOILERS AHEAD.

I’ve always thought that a good film, a good series, a “great” work of art, unconsciously make you think about yourself and/or the society you live in. It’s something that moves you and almost acts like a psychologist.

And this is what I experienced with Euphoria this summer.
I didn’t know what to watch, and I had heard good things about this series.
I’d watched the film “Malcolm&Marie” a few months ago (and I talked about it here), and I knew that the Sam Levinson / Zendaya duo worked really well. So I went for it. And not only did I quickly liked this series (it’s probably not the right word…), but it also made me think about my life.

Before going deeper into the subject, I’m gonna make a brief summary of this series: “Euphoria” talks about teenagers, and most of them are in high school. But it really has nothing to do with series like One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, Elite…In fact, I’d say that it’s even the opposite.
Euphoria is much more “realistic” and less superficial than those series.
We watch series like One Tree Hill to pass the time, but they never leave an impression on you once the tv is turned off. Do they?

Euphoria is definitely topical. It’s a series in which teenagers are confronted with various and burdensome issues such as the quest for identity, depression, drugs, sexual relationships, social media (what could be more topical than that…).
What makes this show so different from other teen shows is the representation of suffering. It seems so real, so hard to live with and to overcome.

(And from a purely aesthetic point of view, this show is very, very beautiful).

I’m 33 years old. I graduated from high school in 2007.
I feel that my adolescence ended when I was 20–21 years old, although it’s probably a bit late. Most of the time, I avoid thinking about my teenage years. I know that some of the problems I have to deal with now are linked to this period. I also know that, during those years, I’ve done some things, I’ve made some choices that I now totally regret.
But, these things are definitely not as bad as what Euphoria’s teenagers experience. Far from that!

So I try to think about my adolescence as little as possible. But when I watched Euphoria, I realized that it unconsciously made me think about it.
Of course, at first, I wanted to push these thoughts away.
But I ended up accepting them.
And I did so because Euphoria made me even more aware of what I’ve done and how I behaved with my parents during this time.
Let’s be clear, I didn’t wait for this series to know that I’m ashamed of having done certain things and that if I had to relive my teenage years, there would be many things that I would change.

But this series took me back to the past in a very subtle way, and, as I said, I even more understood what I’ve done during that time. It gave me flashbacks, and these flashbacks almost made me cry.
In Euphoria, Rue Bennett (played by the awesome Zendaya) destroys herself with drugs. In fact, we quickly discover that Rue’s just overdosed. Fortunately, she survived, she went into rehab, and now she’s back home.
But what happened and what might happen in the future if she continues to do drugs obviously make her mother and sister very sad and nervous. They care so much about her and they’re afraid of losing her.
From the very first episodes, we understand that Rue’s been diagnosed with mental disorders and that there’s a deep malaise in her. And that taking drugs is a way, for her, to cope with her mental issues. Obviously, it’s not a solution. Yet, even after her drug overdose, she stills wants to take drugs.

As I said, what I’ve done isn’t as bad as that. I never took drugs, I never had problems as important as the character’s ones, and I’ve never been hurt. But because of the mistakes I made during those years, my parents stopped trusting me for a while.
I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t realize how important all this was at the time.
I really disliked myself. I did everything I wanted to do without caring about other people’s opinions because I was selfish. I didn’t understand (or didn’t want to understand) that my parents were loving me and caring about me.
So yeah, when this series took me back to that period, it was difficult, but, at the same time, the realization has been way more than beneficial. Because I definitely understood what my parents felt and what person I was at that time.

I know I’ll never be able to go back in time. I’ll never be able to change what happened, the harm I’ve done to myself and my parents. But, fortunately, growing up helped me a lot, and I think I‘ve become a better person. Now I know and I really see how much my parents love me and care about me. And I hope they know that I love and care about them too. And that they can trust me.
Still, I’m glad that a show like Euphoria exists because it represents really well the suffering that some teenagers experience. Not only the teenagers of our current era, but also the ones before, and unfortunately probably the ones of future generations. It also shows really well that teenagers aren’t alone, that they’re loved, and that their actions have (and probably will have consequences for them and for the people who care about them). For some reason, it could be an educational tool.

Yet, it’s not the kind of show that should be watched by every teenager: many scenes are way too hard to watch, way too disturbing and many people shouldn’t watch them. And a lot of scenes could also be seen from the wrong angle if you know what I mean.

Also, the characters aren’t role models at all.
If you’re a teenager, and you watch this series, you mustn’t think
“Yes, from now, I’m gonna be like him/like her/like them”.

In any case, I want you to think about what you do, who you are and above all, I want you to be kind to yourself. You’re loved. You’re cared about.

Don’t do things you’ll regret.

French visual artist