Dear Aunt B,
I am afraid. Afraid of life. I'm a teenager studying in an all boys school and my life is a complete mess. I no longer enjoy the things I used to do because others say it's only what losers do. I'm afraid of going out with my own family now for fear of being spotted by classmates who are out with friends and being called a loser. The things I used to enjoy like reading, playing video games and playing sports for just fun are now a complete waste of time for me. To add to that, my "friends" keep on teasing and insulting me because I don't go out with them and they don't believe my excuses. Why would I, anyway? All they'll do is drink and smoke while I strive to be free of bad habits. For them, these are what "cool" guys do. Once I did go out with a close friend but all he did was embarrass me. I'm afraid of every school day and the night before for fear that something bad's gonna happen. I also believe I'm losing my friends and losing my self- esteem. Sometimes, I barely sleep at night for lack of peace at heart. I'm nervous every time I go out by myself and I'm losing self confidence. I don't have the courage to talk anymore because they'll just laugh and mock the things I say. I'm suspecting that I'm always gossiped about and backstabbed at school. I think I'm also despised at class because I'm not good in sports, which I think is a very shallow reason. To wrap it all up, I'm not enjoying life. I realize just how young I am and to not enjoy life now would affect my future badly. So please, I pray, help me make my life happy again. I wouldn't want to jump into any quick and dangerous solutions. Thanks for your help, I will greatly appreciate it.
You are not designed, to have a **spirit of fear. Remember this.
My answer may seem a bit long winded but I hope you'll read it, as well as Soulseer and Xmichra's answers for you.
I like your standards and I think they're quite commendable. Stand your ground. Never compromise good values and beliefs. If you have to be this way, the rest of your natural born life, never bow to peer pressure. Those that are supposed friends, who act and behave in a manner unbecoming, unworthy of your friendship are exactly that; Unworthy of your friendship!
Stand your ground, even if you have to stand alone. But hold your head up high, unpretentiously. Never have an air of superiority. Let me point out to you, that quite often, those that attack you, most certainly feel beneath you, in one way or another. You must not allow this to take you down. No, in fact, you must allow it to empower you, spur you on to becoming a better person. It all comes down to self esteem. Yes, self esteem, yours, there's, ours, almost always, factor in as to how you are perceived, how you are treated and so forth.
I can see that you are highly intelligent. You've managed to learn, gained some wisdom, early on as to what works and what doesn't, what's smart and what's not so smart.
In all due reality, I more than realize, just how difficult it is, to be your own person. I mean, we all want to be accepted, that's just a fact. Equally, when we are not, it can and does weigh heavily. More dumb and regrettable crap is done, in the name of peer pressure, than we'd all, ever, care to admit. I did it, you've done it but we must choose, to live our lives, by learning from our mistakes. When we choose to learn from those mistakes, they are no longer mistakes but learning experiences. In my journey, I have many and will have many more. As well, you will too. Live and learn, that's all.
In the real world, as we walk through our every day life, you will eventually realize that you are alone. You must often stand against the world, in a dilemma, crisis or pain and bear the brunt of it all, virtually alone. Yes, you'll most likely have a mate, family and friends, to share in some of this but for the most part, you'll find, it's just you and you alone. This may sound dismal? But my point is that it is you who must look in the mirror and you must learn to be honest with yourself. It is also you, who must know how to, not fold under pressure.
Answer to no one but yourself and your Higher Power, which I personally choose to call God. Do nothing which goes against your grain. See, I am a firm believer in, what I call the, "Small, Still Voice." It is your conscience, as some may call it, I believe it is our Spirit, which has been installed to guide us through life. If you begin to pay attention, to this Voice, it will always keep your from harms way. So, when it tells you not to do something, as obviously, it has, you will be spared possibly a painful incident, etc. Once you've learned to trust in this Voice and do your very best to live your life in a manner, where you treat others, as you'd want to be treated, life becomes less complicated. Sure, we'll always go through and be tested, trials and tribulations are ever present but it will make life smoother.
Not everybody plays by the rules. Quite often, in this world, it's prey or be preyed upon. But I still feel, if a man/woman answers to themselves, they must be able to look in the mirror and have a truthful heart. As well, you must come to grips with the fact that not everybody will see things as you do. Nor will they always embrace your values and beliefs. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. You'll see people who stay busy at getting over. There are people on the low down, out to scam and take what is not theirs. They want what you have but don't want to work to get it. You'll see people who work extremely hard at getting out of work, their lack of a work ethic surely sucks but should I allow it to affect me? No, I won't and they will never have my respect. Really, this is what it all boils down to; Respect.
People don't have to like you but you must always command their respect. You will do this by not allowing them to break you, never bow to it. So what if they don't like you? You can and will live without their approval, unworthy affection or friendship. But I guarantee you, no matter what they say, they will always, secretly respect you because you are not weak, you have principles and you are willing to uphold them.
Most kids that smoke and drink are simply trying to fit in and act adult. I smoke and can still remember my motivation, at 12 years old. Yes, I wanted to be a big girl, a woman. Here I am, 48 years old, a woman with a habit. So, who's the idiot here? I also drank and smoked pot around that same time. There's nothing cool about getting wasted, acting promiscuously, acting a fool and ultimately throwing up. What's cool about that? Not a damn thing and if we could record all the porcelain confessions, the swearing to never drink again, "God if you only get me through this," it might be amusing but we'd see just how ridiculous it really is.
The sad part, to all this, is that many of your so called friends will go on to have some nasty habits. Many will become Alcoholics. Many will, live in their Parents basement, smoking pot and not really functioning. Some will move on to bigger and better habits. Hopefully, they won't go to Prison for those habits. Yes, I was in Prison and was incarcerated with many woman, who paid for their habits. From Vehicular Homicide as a result of DUI to selling their daughters for their crack habit, I've seen first hand what those supposed innocent habits can bring about.
I want you to really look in the mirror and begin to like/love yourself. I want you to see the young man you have become, an upstanding guy with credibility and morals and never back down from them. Never lose sight of what is right. You stay just the way you are and really take a long hard look at these so called friends. They are not friends, if they are talking behind your back. People that do such things are simply trying to take the emphasis, the eye off themselves. Yes, it is they, who have the problem, the self esteem issues. It is them that have no backbone and are weak. It is them, that will go on to unsavory situations and habits. It will not be you and you just might have an easy life because of it.
I suppose the gigantic point, I'm trying to make here is this;
If you are living right, doing your best, keeping yourself in check by being extremely honest with yourself, you must answer to no one. Always look at constructive criticism but steer clear of the negative people and remember that their opinions mean nothing. Friends come and go, you must gravitate towards those friends, those people who are positive, like yourself. I believe you are basically, a very positive person who has allowed those that are negative, those that are jealous, of your positive outlook. You've allowed them to pull you down. Get up, brush yourself off and walk away from the likes of these people. You might not have a friend in the world, for a minute but that won't last. Besides, you're going to have a wonderful life, watch and see.
Stand your ground. Be empowered by it. Allow it to impact your life and rise above. I believe in you. Now, you must begin, to believe in you.
Keeping It Real,
PS, Each and every time, that someone laughs, at you, at something you say, hold your head up high, don't be condescending but simply smile, as if you are laughing inside. Here are a few choice statements which will always put them in their place;
"I guess you don't have the intellect to grasp that, huh?"
"And that was real mature, right?"
"I don't need to get high or smoke to pretend to be a man or to have a good time."
You have to stay true to yourself spiritually and mentally, just as Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true."
The biggest thing is, if you don't have a sense of self, you don't have anything. A centering of self, is most important.
Kids are cruel, count on it because they're so confused, as to who they are and they have an insecurity within themselves, a low self esteem which they like to project onto others.
The fact of the matter is that one day all this bulls*** will seem like nothing. In a few years, it won't mean a thing and you'll see this. You'll look back and see just how trivial it all is and was.
You should reach out. If you can go to an elder for guidance, do it. Find some counseling, ask for counseling. You do not have to go through this alone. What you are going through, I went through, as well. I was depressed all the time.
It's not being weak or stupid to go to an elder or to seek counseling. Actually, it's a smart thing to do. Anyone that that uses the tools provided him, in life, is smarter, wiser and will be more well equipped to deal and handle life's calamity's and so on.
Any time you get to a point where you can't find the fun, in things that should make you happy, there is something wrong. Act on this advice and go to a guidance counselor. All schools have some sort of Guidance Staff. You simply go to them and ask them to point you in the right direction. Find counseling through them. Then, you purge, you get it all out. Therapists do not have answers but what they do is help you work through all those feelings. They'll help you to look at the origin, what is rational, what is not and give you ways to deal. You'll learn "coping skills."
You have nothing to lose. It can only be a win/win situation. Get it? Feel free to write me. I had a very traumatic time in High School. I hated it, every single day, every minute, so I can completely understand. I was taunted and teased. I felt hated and talked about. Because I am gay, people were so mean. I was beat up, beat down, spit on and I became so depressed, so hurt by it, that it affected me for years. It made me suicidal, it was bad, real bad. I wish I'd had someone to guide me through and I wish I'd had the tools, I acquired later on, to deal with it, understand it and work through it. I got all that through counseling. I hope you will seek counseling. It's the smart thing to do.
I wish you only the best and a realization that you are not alone, concerning what you are going through. If nothing else, we are here, I am here and you can always write us. Believe it or not, we do care. Want to know why? Because we've all suffered, calamity, trials and tribulation, down right having the shit stomped out of us and we've learned from it. We were given the gift of a realization and maybe even a bit of wisdom, we've learned from it all. Now, it's a sense of "giving back."
I hope you'll read all of this and if nothing else, take notice of the answer, just to and for you. We understand and we care. If we didn't care, why would we bother with this at all? We're here for you. As well, you may always write us, in fact, I personally would enjoy hearing from you in hopes that you will run with this. Keep us updated please. Wishing you much joy, happiness and a realization that you can rise above this.
Blessings & Bliss,
A letter like yours is heart breaking to say the least. And I wish to all the gods that I could bring you the happiness that you seek. But the reality is that I cannot. However, I believe very strongly that we as individuals can turn our lives around and make good what now seems so bleak.
The “friends” that you have right now are a**holes. You don’t need them. And you know this… which is why I am thinking that you are trying to keep your enemies close, so to speak. Which quite frankly is ingenious. However it is unsatisfying because you no longer get to do the things that you want to do (like read and visit your family and so on). Being in an all boys school has got to be rough too… since there seems to be no distractions (like girls) to have. So I can see you are in a tight spot here.
1- Keeping up with this charade, of image. Doing the things you do not like to, to keep up appearance. Generally being dissatisfied in your life and running the risk of severe depression and (hopefully not, but this can go here real fast) risk of suicide.
The first is easy to “do”, Hard to live with. The second is hard to “do”, easy to live with. But it is all up to you how you want your life to be. Do you want to be continuously afraid to be yourself? Do you want to repress your soul, your life, your being because of other non-important people?
And this is where it gets really hard. Being yourself IS hard when you are a teenager. It is made hard by people who act like sheep, flocking and mimicking so that they do not have to deal with their own insecurities. And I know of plenty of people who mimicked their way through high school and made it out to be who they wanted to be. But it was disappointing and they didn’t get out of life the experience of knowing who they were. It took much longer to have that realization and it was difficult.
Of course, those of us who have “lived the tale” and were themselves have some bad things too. I was bullied by a girl for a straight two years because of who I was. No other reason. But you know, I don’t have regrets about my teenhood. Not about who I was at any rate. And I think that is the difference. I can rest easy now, knowing that I was myself (to a point.. because lets face it, we all get really into our skins when we are older) and that I didn’t let myself down. And the people who were assholes then?? Some turned out not to be so bad once they were able to grow up too. And some, are just as much an asshole now as they were then. But those people are not in my life, and no where near it.
The biggest test is going to be weather you can handle who you are and being who you are. Usually the most aware of themselves get a lot of the “brunt” because others are jealous. I know that sounds really lame. But its’ true. You will know who you are, you will know what you enjoy, and you will only do the things to which make you happy. You will not follow a sheep, you will not be a sheep. And THAT will make those insecure sheep like boys livid. Why? Because they will wish that they could do as you have done. They might not envy what you do.. but they will envy your actions and you ability to pursue them. Think about that for a minute. Because as sure as I am that they would deny this in a heartbeat, I am sure that this is the case.