Addiction · Hitting the bottom · Motherhood · Recovery

The Tender Twenty Paradox (and Miley’s big mistake)

Miley Cyrus – Chrisa Hickey [CC-BY-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

By: Jana Greene

I must admit that curiosity got the best of me, and I watched the clip of the Miley Cyrus debacle at the MTV VMA awards.

My first reaction was total disgust. Miley is only twenty years old! And then a primal urge to find this world-famous woman-child, and smother her in hugs. Sometimes the mother in me just overwhelms every other instinct.

She is so in-between.

In her racy act, her suggestive wardrobe and antics  tried to convey woman; but her poor judgment screams child.

Her ‘twerking’ tells the world she knows what to do with her lady parts, but the fact that she flaunted her lady parts publically lets us all know that she is still a child. Or that she is high on more than just life, or could be mentally unstable. There is more to being a grown-up than grinding. Nothing says “paradox” like a simultaneous display of tongue and teddy bears.

Miley’s performance brought to mind other Hollywood lost girls…the freckled-face Lindsey Lohan, whose fall from innocence has been so stark, or more recently, the amazing Amanda Bynes, whose comic timing was always spot-on, and whose mental stability seems to be crumbling for all the world to watch. Both of these girls began a public decent around twenty years of age.

Oh, the tender, tender age for girls that is twenty.

I witness a mercifully less-dramatic  paradox in my own lovely daughters – all of them so unique, as both succeed and struggle to grow up.

I’m a grown up!……Mommy, can you….?

Watch me soar!……I screwed up.

Get out of my business!….Please give me advice….

All of that is completely normal.

Twenty can also be point in a woman’s life that the dual demons of addiction and mental illness begin to manifest.

It is also a time for a woman to use supremely horrible judgment. I know I did.

When I was 20, I started drinking. Right from the start, one drink was too many and a thousand not enough. How many times did I embarrass myself? Too many to count.

By 21, I was married. My family tried to talk me out of it. Many people who loved me warned me about marrying so young. But never you mind.  I was an “adult” and I KNEW EVERYTHING.

I wonder if anyone tried to talk Miley out of her over-sexed musical proclamation. I would bet that many did.

I’ll bet just as many people advised her that it any publicity is good publicity. And in her mind, fresh and pliable and utterly riding the wave of invincible-ness, said what so many of our minds say in youth: I know what I’m doing!

It is so easy to buy a ticket to the train wreck at that age, to become the train wreck.

To my mind, the beautiful, talented trio of Miley, Lindsey and Bynes  –  girls that daughters grew up adoring – have fallen victim to addictions (if even only to approval) and the increasingly unshockable world….a planet full of people who expect celebrities to debase themselves more and more, so that they can become more and more numb to the spectacles.

Perhaps, these girls suffer from undiagnosed or under-treated mental disorders.

We have to blame somebody, naturally.

Blame Miley, Lindsey and Bynes. They are  accountable for their own actions. They should know better! Miley likely thought that the performance shake the Hannah Montana persona forever (it has) and that wagging her tongue at the world would keep tongues wagging about her all over the world (it did).

And then forgive her, because she made a horrible mistake that people will never forget, even when she gets herself together.

Blame the parents, who thrust their little girls into show business.

And then have compassion for them, because they made bad choices themselves (and nothing – NOTHING – is worse than someone being mean to your child, much less the entire world.)

Most of all, blame the obviously broken-down world that is a paradox as well…..

A world that is trying its best to be godless and celebrate human nature by worshipping sex, and making sex cheap and valueless in the process.

And consider it a big, fat, red, waving flag for us, as a society, that we are eroding by our own hands, and need Holy Help to be redeemed.

Consider it an opportunity to talk to our daughters about the demons that Miley, Lindsey and Amanda are trying to battle with their own two hands (and too many handlers to count) and failing at;  and let them know that – no matter what – Love wins and there always the chance to start over with grace.

And if they already know everything?
Tell them anyway.

7 thoughts on “The Tender Twenty Paradox (and Miley’s big mistake)

  1. I knew everything when I was in my twenties and there was no convincing me otherwise. Those were tough years. Miley surely has plenty of handlers who encouraged her and helped orchestrate the performance. MTV had to approve it and there were rehearsals prior. Her train wreck made lots of people money. I wonder if she understands that people are talking about it not just because it was shocking but because it was a performance lacking talent and creativity. It’s a testament to her talent that people want something better from her. I hope she sees that.


  2. Beautifully said, Karen. Hundreds of people attended choreography sessions and knew about it, why didnt anyone say…this is not a good idea? I doubt she understands that, but one day she will. All these beauties full of talent and promise – what testimonies they can have one day when they discover that they are worth so much more than the world gives them credit for.


  3. My daughter worked in the business in California at the young age of 4 and I have to tell you, it is up to the agency that is managing you to allow what is happening to you. And apparently whoever her manager is just wants to make money. She has a manager and they deal with all of what is going on. It has to have their approval, so there you go. To many of the wrong people in her court with terrible advise.
    If you watch the young girls in music, not all are showing everything they have and acting so sexy. It is way to sad to watch yet another young woman just stepping into women hood make all the wrong moves. But look at the style of music she is in and it is all about sex and touching yourself. I watched her grow up in the Disney world and loved her. I don’t think that her talent is in singing, but more in acting and I hope she finds herself before she explodes.
    The morals in our country have dropped to an all time low. I am glad to say that I talked with a few young people and they thought she was pretty, but they were embarrassed for her with her dance moves. I was so happy to hear this. Apparently not all of our young teenagers are numb to other peoples actions. Thank you Jesus, we praise you.


  4. A very well written piece! You have stated everything I was thinking. It is sad that young people think sex is equated with success but of course society promotes this idea as it puts a lot of money in the pockets of companies and individuals. Miley is a beautiful young woman with talent and I pray that she will come to her senses before the ideas of the world destroy her. However, it is probably already too late and she will become just another Hollywood statistic.


  5. It’s not even “dance” or “song”, it’s about a mutual addiction: I’ll destroy myself as I watch you destroy yourself.” It is so clear how the battle for the souls or our young or “those that ALREADY know EVERYTHING” is at its fiercest. We participate when we judge, when we consume, or when we profit, over that which we know destroys others. My soul hurts when I watch her sing on the wrecking ball….not the nude swinging, but the tear that comes from her eye. She knows. It shows. Praying she gets to the essence of real love. You are such an amazing writer my friend!


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