Thursday, December 14 , 2017, 11:09 pm | Smoke 43º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: In a Bind with Breasts, Social Anxiety, Bullied by a Friend with a Knife

Question from Tyler

I am a trans boy. I’m 14 and I am getting breasts. I am trying to bind them and looking online for advice. This backward sports bra trick isn’t working, so how do I bind?

Weezy

I am doing some online research myself for you and here is what I am learning. We must put your health and safety in the foreground so, here are your don’ts:

» Do not bind with ACE bandages or duct tape.

» Never sleep in any sort of binder.

» Never bind for more than seven hours at a time.

» Your breasts are still a part of your body and your body needs to breathe.

On to the dos:

If you can afford one, buy a chest binder in a store or online. Click here for a binder from Walmart that is only $8.

You can also try layering sports bras. Use the kind that do not include cups. And/or you can make your own binder. Here is a video from Kovu Is a Unicorn that will provide you with some helpful tips:

(Kovu is a unicorn video)

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Question from Sam

I’m a 16-year-old girl with social anxiety, shyness and a constant fear of being misunderstood. I hate this so much because it’s ruining my life and acting as a barrier between me and my goals.

For example, I’m too shy to share my opinion at school. I never speak at all. People tend to think I’m either stuck up or uninterested or unapproachable, when really I want to be socially smooth. I just don’t know how.

People tend to think I’m interesting, but when they approach me it’s like my brain goes dead and I can’t maintain a convo or be myself.

I can’t go eat or go get coffee alone, and even something as stupid as an online comment makes me nervous and frustrated. I’ve been in this school for five years now and no one knows anything about me. They would describe me as the “outcast.”

Whenever I’m alone in public I feel the need to run to a safe place, and sometimes it gets me so frustrated that I cry some nights. I might seem like a total weirdo, but I can’t help it and I need your help.

I don’t wanna be that person no one knows anything about anymore. I wanna be able to initiate convos and make new friends without thinking that the other person will hate me, or over apologizing on everything. Thanks for reading. xoxo

Weezy

We can all relate. You may have a particularly severe form of social anxiety and so visiting a therapist could be a good place to start. But you are correct. It is time for you to stop hiding your light under a bushel. That is an old saying but you get the idea. Begin by asking people questions and showing a genuine interest in someone else.

“How is your day going?” “You have a really good voice.” “Do you understand how funny you are!” These are comments that others would enjoy hearing. When you are socially anxious you can come to believe that everything is about you. It is not.

In fact, most of life is swirling around you. You can either watch it, detract from it or enhance it. You have been choosing to just watch and worry that anything you say would be a detraction. That is a false narrative. A detraction is making fun or being purposefully cruel or mean. As long as you have no intention of doing that, everything you say or otherwise offer is of value.

So, what is the worst thing that could happen if you state your opinion? Someone will laugh at you. Someone will give you a scornful look. Someone will call you a name. Should this happen, look at the person and smile. Fein confidence. Walk away. Congratulate yourself. You took part. Do it again tomorrow.

Just as you need to be heard and understood, so do others. You are not just a voice. You are ears, you are a heart, you are a mind and a soul. Lend them.

I highly encourage you to join a public speaking or debate club at your school. There you will find your voice. You will join a team of people who are also learning how to communicate publicly. That makes you each equally vulnerable and thus supportive of one another.

Get involved in your school. Become a person who encourages others. Whatever you need in life, give it away and it will come back to you.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Salina

So I have been bullied and it makes me feel so sad all the time. This one time, my ex-best friend threatened me with a knife at school, and she actually had a knife. This happened like two to three months ago, but I just don’t know how to get over it. She was my best friend for six years, and she actually chased me with a knife at school. I don’t know how to get over all of this. Help:(

Weezy

Your friend has a problem. I hope you reported the incident. You did nothing that would justify being chased with a weapon. That goes beyond bullying and enters into criminal danger. Know that most kids get bullied at one point or another and, yes, it hurts, but there is a way over, under or around it. You will find that way.

The knife incident sounds like a tipping point. You have been friends with this girl for six years, and you may have allowed yourself to become accustomed to being treated badly. How far were you willing to go in an effort to justify her behavior and preserve this friendship?

I hope your friend gets the help that she needs. She may have anger issues that have nothing to do with you. Yes, of course it can feel like quite a loss to let go of a 6-year-old friendship but once you do and once you open your heart to other potential friends, you may be relieved to discover that they are far less work and way healthier. Breaking away from this one abusive friend may give her a chance to work on her issues, and it may give you a much clearer picture of how friendship is supposed to look.

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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