Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 10:20 am | A Few Clouds 69º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Bullied by a Toxic Person, Breaking the Ice, Same-Sex Crushes

Question from Layla

I’m an amateur musician having an issue with an unhealthy person who is attempting to bully me out of performing at a local coffee shop, which she volunteers at regularly and hosts all musical gigs, much to my anxiety. I’ve been playing at this place often for almost four years, she appeared a few months ago and I befriended her as someone to hang out and jam with.

I should mention she has autism and Tourette, and I am not an ableist by any means, but I am wondering if this has anything to do with her sudden and erratic behavior. She went cold on me without giving me a reason. I tried to contact her about returning some of my belongings. No response. Then I received a call from the police to cease contact with her and that she was claiming harassment. I’ve since replaced these belongings because she is too unpredictable to deal with, makes up stories and has a tendency to call the cops whenever she decides she doesn’t like someone.

I’m a pretty down to earth person, and never had to deal with something like this before. How can I go about trying to go back to my most comfortable gigging spot? How should I react if I end up going and she causes a scene/tries to have me kicked out/calls cops? I don’t even wish to speak with her or bother her in any way! Please help. :( with her.

Weezy

Is there someone above her who works at this coffee shop that you can talk to about this? Maybe the manager or the owner. Start by calmly telling the story you told me. Then try to find a friend who will be there with you for emotional support. Go back to this coffee shop and do your thing, having as little interaction with this person as possible. If she says anything heated or angry to you, simply respond with, “I’m just here to play.” Say this in a pleasant tone of voice.

It sounds like you have already been rising above this to a certain extent. The next step is to prove to yourself that you can rise up and walk through an uncomfortable situation. You should not allow anyone to bully you out of going somewhere you love and doing something you love.

Assume that if she has had these problems with you then she she has probably also antagonized other people. Yours will not be an isolated case. Prepare and rehearse in your mind what you will say to her if she attempts to start anything. “I’m just here to perform.” Even if she raises her voice, keep your voice calm. Do not say anything negative or accusatory. Don’t bring up old injustices such as having to purchase new things. “I’m just here to perform.” That’s all you need to say to her. Perform. Visit with other people you may know or meet and reclaim your enjoyment of this spot.

(BehindTheScience video)

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Question from Tanya

Hey, Weezy. There’s this guy who I’ve been friends with since freshman year (I’m a junior now), and I’ve liked him on and off since we met. Our friends are always joking around about how we’re dating/like each other, but we both kinda just ignore them and brush it off.

I thought I had gotten over him, but a couple weeks ago we were Facetiming and he said some things that made me think he might like me. We talked from like 10 p.m.-2 a.m. about everything, and he said stuff like “I’m glad we had classes together because it would really suck if we never met,” and he was really sweet and flirty and we had an actual conversation (which we usually don’t).

This happened again a couple days later. Then he was talking to my friend and apparently asked about me the next day. But after that week we’ve barely talked, and I don’t want to be the one to reach out and seem desperate? I could be over analyzing it and we’re just friends, but those calls really made it seem different. Thoughts?

Weezy

My best guess is that he likes you. Generally speaking, a straight guy does not spend that much time talking with a girl unless he sees her as more than a friend. Take a chance. Make the next move. Say, “Hey, what’s up? I miss you.” This will not make you seem desperate.

Whether or not you two ever become romantic, you are growing up together. You will remain important people in each other’s lives. Take a chance and do the brave thing. He needs people who understand him, and so do you.

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Question from Victoria

I am a girl and I really like this girl in my science group. She’s wonderful. The problem is that one day we were joking around (she really gets me) and she asked me for a hug. Since then, I’ve been avoiding her. I liked it too much and she has a boyfriend. I am trying to protect my heart. She keeps trying to talk to me in the hallway and at the mall, and I just find a reason to sneak away.

I find myself thinking about her all day, every day. Wondering what she’s doing. Wondering what she’s eating. Just anything. She’s always on my mind. She’s intelligent and funny, and we just had so much fun together. She’s so beautiful inside and out.

I’ve never felt this way about any of my crushes and I think I’m madly in love with her. So I’m just gonna ask for your help. Please help me and give me some words or advice on what I should do. :( Thank you so much in advance.

Weezy

Your story is very relatable. We all get crushes and at least 10 percent of people get same-sex crushes. Probably more. You have every right to have a crush, and like any person with a crush you have every right to seek information. However, when it comes to a same sex crush you do have to go through a check list that looks a little something like this:

Are you out to friends and family?

Are your school, home and community LGBTQ friendly?

If word got out that you are gay and that you have a crush on this girl, would that tip your world upside down? Confessing a crush usually makes a certain amount of news at any school.

You know your town, your family, your school Make your next, best decision based on what you know.

More and more, being gay is as normal as preferring olives over tomatoes. It’s a personal taste issue. A preference that can’t be explained but should be accepted. However, some schools, some communities and some families are further ahead in this acceptance.

For the sake of this conversation, let’s assume that your community is a pretty great place for an LGBTQ kid to grow up. OK, it looks like this girl would like to be closer to you than you are allowing her to be. That much we know. You won’t know exactly what she feels for her unless you are willing to take a risk. Oftentimes our greatest rewards are earned only by taking risks. These victories can feel all the more sweet seasoned by pride in knowing what we sacrificed to achieve them.

Short answer: You are going to have to put yourself out there. This is not intended to get your hopes up but please know that being in a relationship with a boy does not mean that this girl is only interested in boys. There are a lot of gay people who are in straight marriages. There are a lot of gay people who used to be in straight marriages. There are a lot of people who identify as bisexual.

Get to know the girl. When it feels safe, tell her that you tend to be attracted to girls. See how she reacts to that news and then take your next step.We are all always moving. Don’t be someone who instinctively moves away from something scary. Be someone who moves toward something promising.

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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 also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and 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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