mental health

Anxiety

Here we go with the next level shit show of anxiety. Life with a teen. Episode #98.

School starts any day now. We have been mask free enjoying summer for the most part. Looking forward to school and a normal beginning to a school year. Just last night we were reminiscing on how long it’s been since we bought school supplies. 2 years ago. 2019 before we knew the world was going to be shaken to its core.

We have enjoyed traveling. Although masks are still required in a plane, we have enjoyed the maskless freedoms elsewhere. The excitement of seeing friends, teachers, and others was so talked about. Then the crash. The boom. The fireworks. The disappointment. How much can these kids continue to face change and uncertainty around the biggest part of their life?

The pediatrics announcement for k-12 hot with recommendations and my teacher friends sighed and said change is on the horizon. Then the CDC guidance hit the news. Now the email, the phone call, and the text from the school. Or should I say the calls, texts and emails on repeat. Here we go again. 

Masks required. Students, faculty, visitors are all included. Vaccinated or not, rules apply across the board. Such a blow to the teen again. All the excitement turned to not again. This sucks. Why even bother going?

Now the decision is again in front of you. Digital learner or in person? Everything you wanted in person was stripped away. You suck at online school but it’s been your norm now for 1.5 years. Isolation. Masks. Rules. Anxiety. Stress. So much. It’s too soon.

Panic and fear have set in. Some offices are re-closing. A trade show postponed. More shifting. More headaches. How do we all continue to cope in such turmoil. What is next? How would you feel as a teen?

As I put this post out there on the web I am capturing a moment in time. A feeling of chaos. How different will I feel when I reread this 5 years from now? I wonder. Topic may be controversial and some may have opinions but since this is my blog I choose my content and conversations.

mental health, perspective

Whispers

There were whispers amongst the group. Who will go? Who will stay? Where is so and so going? When will this shift happen? Why?

The Who. The What. The Where. The Why. The story of the W’s. The story isn’t really just about those W’s. It’s about the whispers. The W word most don’t fess up to. And while we mention whispers, it’s really not nice to whisper (period).

Why do people whisper? Why does another’s choice matter? In a recent conversation with my teen, the sexual choice of a young adult came up. Two sisters, twins by birth. One openly gay. One not. The openly gay announcement was recent. The backlash from parents and community was negative and far reaching. Why? The whispers. 

Does that young adult’s choice impact me directly? No. Why do I hear the whispers? It’s society. Preconceived values and expectations. Religious beliefs also play a role. So overwhelming for a young adult to process let alone live through it. Why would one stay and suffer? 

Then there is the sports field. The girl whose parents think she is a star but grossly overlooked. The parents complain. Again and again. The coach gives in. Play time is awarded to offer peace. The team suffers. Did this really just happen? Another child earned their spot. Their parent doesn’t complain. There are whispers. One leaves. One stays. Why? The whispers again. 

The shift in social setting. The friend that moves out of the circle. Just for space or personal growth. Is it a bad thing to focus on one’s growth? Of course not but the circle may take it personal and then whispers begin. Awkward to some. Stressful to others. Whispers are not nice I tell you.

Is it not obvious?  The whisperers can’t see that decisions are made because of actions made by others in most cases. Solo trips in any of the situations above may seem scary but yet they are the best option. If one stays in any situations noted above, the individual(s) will suffer. Taking a stand silently or through some form action shows strength. Inner peace. Confidence. The strength of flying solo and not caring what others whisper about.

For those who whisper, think about it. How would like to be on the other side of the whispers? 
Are you the whispering type of person or the one who steps out and flies solo when the need arises?

friendship, mental health

I Heard the Whisper

I don’t have any friends.

Silence.

I don’t have any friends said the social teen girl. Pause. Reflect. Think.

The beautiful girl is right. She has acquaintances. She has teammates. She has adults that are supportive. She has siblings. Unfortunately she is missing the friends piece of the equation. True friends.

The bestie or group of pals that come over to hang out. The girls that go to the movies. The inner circle of sorts. What could have happened to this social butterfly.

One word sums it up: corona.

Corona has taken away spontaneous trips to the mall. Quarantine has limited gatherings at other homes. Fear has lurked in every home limiting activities. The list goes on and on.

In this community two teens have died by suicide in the last 10 days. I can’t ignore that. I can’t understand a day in the life of these teens. Their desire to end their lives is the solution to their perceived problems at that time. We have to listen to these cries even if they are masked.

So many no you can’t. So much time alone. So many milestones and memories being missed in isolation. So much time is solitude in their room. Many sleep it off. Many struggle for daily motivation.

Who does the cheerleader role fall on when parents work? What if the teen is an only child? Is the school talking about this subject with this vulnerable age?  Are they offering parents solutions? Why no they are talking about tests scores and must complete your assignments or even pick your schedule for next year.

Do administrators even consider what a day in the life of a teen is like in isolation? They lost their friends. They lost their home away from home that is school. They lost competition in the classroom. The lost giggles in the hallway. They even lost their imagery. Always covered in a mask. Gasping for air. The image of themselves in a super cute outfit on the first day of school. Shopping for a prom dress. So many important things for a girl in her formative years.

Instead they get to go to the drive thru with their parents. Maybe a Netflix movie in the same place they eat, sleep, socialize, go to school, etc. (their house). Maybe weekends of extra homework because they lack the motivation to do it on day 1 when it was due. The list of blah goes on and on.

I see this cycle repeated. I try to engage my teen to give her fulfillment in the tiny box that is currently around her. It’s by no means perfect but it’s what I can offer today.

I often wonder if she drove and had a car if it would be different. Would being mobile allow her to wave at friends from the curb but allow her time to smile away from the homestead. I don’t have these answers. I may never have them.

For today I will enjoy the time I have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Memories last forever. Today I will make memories with her.

Parents don’t forget to look around you. Right in front of you. Listen. Spot the abnormalities and take action. Any action that lets them notice you see them. You hear them. You want to be with them. They need you. They don’t always feel like they have anyone left. Corona has taken much from many.

Don’t let environmental conditions take away another bright future.

This post was sparked by the song Pink just released with her daughter Willow, Cover Me in Sunshine. Pink noted they sang the song because it makes them happy and they wanted to share it to make others happy. They did it together. Today I will cover those around me in sunshine for no other reason than to make them happy.

Enjoy today. No matter how shitty things may be tomorrow. Every day is a new day to get covered in sunshine.

challenges, family

Body Shaming

Where to start with this one? I’m confident in my body and its outward appearance to others. I may not be a size two with an hourglass figure but that’s okay. I wasn’t built with that frame.

I’m thicker. I have more padding. Some muscles. Some fat. For years I didn’t always make the best eating choices. Those minutes on the lips last a lifetime on the hips is a true statement. Since I can’t change history, I live in the skin I have. The weathered skin. The unbroken shell. The thick-by-design to ward off all those who try to poke at my body image.
This is me as an adult. Have I always been this strong? Probably not, but it’s where I am today. Now for a young impressionable girl, she may struggle with body image. Why? Because the digital world is an unforgiving place. Let me just share a few examples:

  • You are a female athlete. A boy can feel intimidated if your body is stronger than theirs. What do they do? Bash you online. Why? To feed their own ego or soothe their own inferiority complex.
  • You are a female with some meat on your bones. Thick thighs. Big booty. Full chest. Are you different from others your age? Maybe. Does that make you a target? It could. Others may feel the need to pass judgment on you only because they are not confident in themselves. This isn’t always a male. Sometimes females act negatively.

What is wrong with kids today that they think it’s okay to ridicule another female’s body? Body shaming they call it. When the girl cries herself to sleep at night or does not eat for a year, who wins? Nobody.

Words hurt. Pictures tell stories and mark journeys. They should not be used to target somebody’s ego in a negative manner online. Unfortunately shallow folks choose the latter. As sad as it sounds. It happens. 

I am a social person. I’m also an online presence. One can take my pictures and poke fun for them. I am okay with that as it takes all types to make up a world. However a young impressionable girl may not have the same mental strength to do the same when their photos are misused.

If you have a son, raise them right. Teach them to respect women/females. If you have a female teach them that they should lift up other females not degrade them. Neither action is progress. Don’t allow your kids the ability to body shame anyone. It’s not right. It’s hurtful.

Every parent has the responsibility to talk to teens as they approach teen hood to young adults and let them know how the internet can be a tool as well as a weapon. Without that conversation they may not realize how their keystrokes can be damaging.

The repeat convo over and over is the next step. Teens need constant reminders from adults. Their brains are still developing. They may not understand that their actions have consequences. 

If this message reaches you, do your part if you are a parent and have the difficult conversation. If you are in the teen to young adult age group. Read and reread this post as many times as you need to. If you are not in either age group, pass in on or share the overall knowledge. 

challenges, family

Throwing Shit On the Wall

Today is a whole new breed of parenting in my mind. All the pandemic rules and woes that challenges today’s kids, especially teens. The entitlement attitude that’s hard wired into today’s kids that I know I never had with my folks. It all collides!

All the things taken away. I get it but I’m not not in control of the changes nor do I have the power to fix them. I can just put my head down and mutter through the chaos.

Kids on the other hand struggle. Their brains are not fully developed. They may not have foresight. Their executive functions may be clouded at best. They can easily fall into a dark place and not be able to find their way out.

Yet they still have academic expectations. Those don’t change. Our society doesn’t bend or flex. It’s all about everyone fitting into a simple box. The boxes are fixed by society. They were made many years ago and they surely didn’t take a pandemic into account. Pandemic or no pandemic, kids today are expected to put their head down and plow through the chaos and the changes. Can they handle this daunting task? Maybe the vast majority can but some just can’t.

What about those who love people and crowds? Those who are ignited by passions of others? Those who are hungry for engagement with others socially? Those who are stimulated through observations. A very creative style person who is high energy, high output? Do they get lost in the shuffle academically? I am living through this currently. It’s a hot mess to say the least. I’m not a bad parent nor is my kid bad. We are just dealing with the ramifications of life and the upside down world of today. Will we get back to normal? Is there even a normal anymore?

I’ve tried the reset button. I’ve tried the take away loved items. I’ve tried restrictions. All fall on deaf ears and limited action. The real world is a tough place. Adulting is around the corner. How will they understand the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the street?
Parenting has no manual. Life has no manual. I’m running out of gas In The emotional tank trying to keep things going.

Today life’s lesson is life sucks. You move on to tomorrow even if the same problem is right there again and again.  Off to find solutions for my many problems. I must be consistent and persistent to win the teen war. Here’s to throwing shit on the wall to see what sticks! I hope you enjoyed the fuckery of this post because it’s truly representative of my fucked up day and the people around me. Here’s to wishing 2020 goodbye. No wonder why their is a toilet paper shortage…shitstorms are everywhere.