Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 12:33 am | Fair 37º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Sexting with an Ex, ‘The Walk By and Hi,’ Feeling Stuck in School

Question from Amber

This situation is leaving me shaking. I did a bad thing. I cheated on my boyfriend, Jack, by sending nude pictures to my ex-boyfriend, Lance, and sexting him.

I realized that was wrong and I stopped doing that. Now, Lance is threatening to tell Jack about the nudes and the sexting if I don’t break up with Jack and date Lance.

I don’t know what to do and I cannot stop worrying about this! Please help me, Weezy!

Weezy

Lies and secrecy lead to more lies, more secrecy and more fear. At some point we each must learn how to behave in a way that makes it possible for us to live with and like ourselves.

That’s a hard lesson to learn the hard way, but it is the lesson presenting itself to you right now.

What are your options? Well, you can live in fear that your secret will be revealed, or you can date a guy who would talk you into doing something you knew was wrong and then blackmail you over it. (Please don’t do that.)

Is there a third option?

There is. You can tell your current boyfriend what you did so that NOBODY ever gets to hold anything over on you. He will either forgive you or not. But ... whether you tell him or not, YOU know what you did. YOU know that these photos exist, and YOU know that these events will have an impact on your current relationship in ways that will not be fair to either your boyfriend or you. Secrets and lies are corrosive.

If you tell your boyfriend the truth, then your situation basks in light and you get to make your next decision based on honesty. If your boyfriend is not ready to forgive you, then see this as a wonderful opportunity to be single and to ask yourself what led you to sext with your ex.

What were you seeking? Why did you go there? Only you know the answers.

There is much to learn about the woman you are becoming. Once you learn, you get to teach. You get to impart integrity through your own example. You are learning right now. I’m so sorry that it sometimes has to be this hard to grow up.

Learn more about the dangers of sexting:

(DNews video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Robby

I really like this girl at my school and I want to have a relationship with her. But we don’t talk and I am nervous to talk to her.

Sometimes we exchange looks and I kinda think she likes me. How do I build confidence, so I can talk to her?

Weezy

Talking to a crush is one of the more terrifying pursuits known to humankind. So, I’m going to encourage a little shift in your thinking.

You are probably feeling much like a person who is about to walk through fire. But unless there is a baby to be rescued on the other side of that fire, the fire walk is just something scary. Having accomplish it may embolden you but the fire does not care if you walk through it or not.

On the other hand, a conversation is not just something you do for yourself, it’s a gift that you are offering to another person. That person can either accept the gift or not, but making it available will make all the difference in your life.

Start with what I call “The Walk By and Hi.” Here’s how it works: With a buddy for courage, walk kind of slowly past the girl. As you do, turn and say, “Hi, how’s it going?”

If she says, “Hi,” in return, you can stop and talk. Maybe ask a question. Have one ready. Something about a class you share or a recent experience.

If she does not look, smile or respond then just keep right on walking. No harm, no foul.

All of this, of course, requires courage, but remember that your friendship is a meaningful contribution to somebody’s life.You are not seeking a favor. Friendship is collaborative. It is shared.

Every relationship begins with friendship. Aim for that and know that among your purposes in life should be allowing people the opportunity to know you.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Travis

I’m having an existential crisis where I’m overthinking life a lot. I don’t understand why despite life being so short, I’m stuck spending more than 18 years of it in school learning things I will never use in everyday life.

I’m an honor student. I have near zero absences every year. I’m involved in three extracurriculars. But the work has become exhausting. The tests are exhausting. Waking up every morning is exhausting. The social pressure is exhausting.

I graduate in 2018. The thought of having to stay in school for more than two more years is seriously stressing me out. I feel the years of my life I’ve spent in school are a complete waste.

Every day that I sit in school I become more and more frustrated, wishing I could do something productive and meaningful with my life. I honestly feel trapped. I just want to be done with it. I can’t do this anymore.

How can I make it through these last years?

Weezy

I’m so sorry that your school is not making your education more enriching and positive for you.

But remember that Christmas break is right around the corner, and we all tend to get really stressed and exhausted before that finally happens.

You should tell your parents that you feel overwhelmed and despondent. Yes, grinding your way through high school can be tedious, but it should never get so bad that you just feel this overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

The truth about being alive is that to make the most of your adult life you do need to stay in school, and not only learn but learn to learn and learn to become a lifelong learner.

Learning is what makes life so exciting. (Even now, I am learning that overuse of the word “learn” can be tedious.) The older you grow the more you get to hand pick what you learn and how you learn it.

In high school, they are often trying to teach the most content to the most possible people. The education can be very generalized and designed to get a lot of kids ready for standardized tests and for college prep.

In other words, what you are given to learn is not designed exactly for you. That will come later as you move your way through college.

BUT, even if you don’t think you will ever need, for example, algebra or earth science, you are still training your brain. You are taking your mind to the gym every day and you are powering through a lot of un-fun stuff so that you know how to do that. Many tasks in life are not at all entertaining, until you get to experience the thrill of achievement.

Let’s say you are walking up a very steep path. You are hoping that once you reach the top there will be a spectacular view. You climb on. It’s very difficult. You are so ready to stop. There are flies, and sweat and exhaustion. But you keep going.

You finally reach the top and behold ... the view is glorious. Not just because it is but also because you earned it.

AND ... EVEN IF you get all the way to the end of that path and there is no view, you have still exercised your muscles. Your body knows that you have climbed. It is now stronger.

High school is like that. I know you can’t see it now. There is no view yet. You are stuck in the middle of it all.

But you are getting closer and closer to the top. What you need are some flowers and plants to smell along the way. So get yourself involved in a charitable organization where you can do something meaningful. That will help you a lot.

You can do this. Life just keeps getting better, but climbing to the good stuff does require a lot of hard work.

Contact Habitat for Humanity or any charitable organization that interests you. Get involved:

(Habitat for Humanity video)

                                                                 •        •        •

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, 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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