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Author Topic: Crawling Out from Under "Whatever"
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I'm really interested in hearing from all of you on the issues I discussed in this blog post today -- http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather/2008/08/14/the_road_back_from_whatever -- and the topics Currie raised in his book.

Mostly, if you're middle-class (or any other class, really), and have experienced some of these dynamics, how do you deal? If you haven't figured out how to deal yet, what do you feel like you need? What has life been like for you or your friends with these kinds of dynamics?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68000 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blue Koi
Activist
Member # 39785

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I really related to this part of your blog:

quote:
Switching from a very unwelcoming public school -- even for an excellent student, which I very much was -- to a specialized and highly inclusive arts school where my gifts and talents were recognized and my uniqueness was celebrated by both faculty and peers, having a therapist who didn't put blame on me, but acknowledged things that were not my fault clearly (like that it was my family who was crazy and dysfunctional, not me; like that I had been trying to live though serious trauma without any real help or acknowledgment of that trauma so it was no surprise I was having a very hard time), and when I was able to get connected with a parent who was supportive of me and willing to work through the problems I was having with me with love and acceptance, fully engaged with me in doing so: all of these things were my turning points.
not because I've had this specific situation apply to me, but basically occured in finding my identity. As an Asian-American growing up in a caucasian community, I've always felt sort of like the outsider, but I managed to get through thinking that I was your normal, middle-class average American kid. It wasn't until college where I met "my own kind," aka Chinese-American students with a similar cultural background and shared beliefs, that I found a new kind of skin where I felt instantly comfortable. I wouldn't say I found the true "me," but it was definitely easier to find out how to relate to my Chinese peers.

So how did I cope through most of my teenage years? Like your blog states, most people turn a bling eye to the teenage problem, so I was left on my own to battle against homrones, cliques, and body image issues. And you know what, for me, it really worked. Here's a breakdown of some of the things I did and some of my opinions.

  • Number One Most Important Thing that Got Me Through My Teenage Years and Made Me a Better Person: my parents. My parents were crucial. No, we had rather few talks about "how I felt" and my parents never asked me about schoolwork, but it was ingrained in me long ago about what is important (education, being a good person to others). They picked their battles: they didn't push me to be an all-star athlete or anything, but just made sure I got enough excersize to be healthy. They didn't push me to be student body president, but stressed the importance of at least public speaking because that is important later on. They emphasized the importance of skills, but allowed me to make mistakes (sometimes major mistakes) to find out what I wanted to do with those skills. In the blog you said that
    quote:
    I think if we seek to quiet, subdue or control young people, we all -- and most particularly the teens themselves -- lose something immensely valuable and seriously important.
    but sometimes I think that this made me a better person. Them telling me I can't do stuff made me think about my actions. Sometimes, I would realize they were right (but there was not WAY I was going to admit that to them) and drop the subject. Other times, like me wanting to travel to China by myself, these things I was adamant about. Parents are like the frontier that keeps you from doing majorly stupid mistakes that could seriously ruin your well-being in the future. They test you, they ask you questions, they outline all the possible dangers, they scare you, they make stuff up to scare you (my mom does, at least), and by the end, if you want it bad enough, you will still do what you want to do. Those are the things that make you an individual and a better person. So I say bring it on. Restraint only makes you realize what you want the most and helps you see what the real things you want to achieve in life are. Of course, I am only one person and I can say this worked for me because of the strong foundation I had. It is just important to have someone who does not give up on you. All those people who turn a "blind eye" are really sending the message that you are a lost cause, and when you see that, you feel like a lost cause.
  • Meditation and positive affirmation. Outside finding a consistent and good role model (my parents!), I had to love myself. A hear a lot from people that I am very positive and happy. Little do they know that I used to cry every single night for about a year. I think it was a crazy horomone/awkward stage thing that hit me pretty hard. I pulled myself out of it after reading a self-help book about subconscious thought, about how every thought you have (not just everything you say!) affects how people perceive you, and how you feel. I did a lot of visualization at night where I am succeeding, whether it be a test or a swim race. I visualized sending good thoughts out to everyone. When I didn't feel confident, I would not let my fears nag me, I would fake confidence. I would pretend being happy. I would pretend being the loudest, bubbliest person in the room. And soon I realized I wasn't just THINKING these things, I was actually a better, happier person. It was amazing. It doesn't matter if you believe in all this "cosmic energy" or "The Secret" stuff. Who ever gets hurt by positive thinking and trying to feel compassion for others? Looking back, it was really hard to keep up the good thoughts, especially when now that I read more, I think I was mildly depressed, but pulling myself out of that rut has made me believe in myself and my own abilites.

  • Sports helped me deal tremendously. I swam competitively year-round throughout my teen years, and this kept me sane. I did not think about body image as much as other girls my age and other stressors like that because I was too darn busy to think about trivial things like that! Who gives a crap when I'm dead tired from working out for 4 hours? Plus, when you're sad, working out is the best thing you can do! There is scientific proof of that. It makes you happier. Sure, I still had problems, but training allowed me to efficiently use my time (no time for tv...SUCH a good thing!), and it brought me good friends in a good environment. The people I surrounded myself with were driven, and focused. They had goals. So I had goals. Basically, it's good to have a routine hobby or skill that you can be proud of that keeps the important things in your life in perspective. A lot of my college friends say that they got into drugs, drinking, and partying and other unhelpful influences just plain because they were bored. They did it out of boredom. There's no drive, nothing to do. I didn't even have time to think about drugs because I was busy counting laps.

So I think those were the three biggest factors.

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"Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions."

Posts: 171 | From: USA/CHINA | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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