Each week in Ask Weezy, Louise "Weezy" Palanker will answer questions from readers about coming to terms with themselves, living, and growing. Hopefully, we will all learn a lot together on our collective journey forward through life. All with a little help from our good friend, Weezy.
More About Weezy
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, 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. The opinions expressed are her own.
Hi Weezy, I feel like I’m ready to get my period. I haven’t got it yet and I’m 13. I want it so bad because most of my friends have it! Honestly, I don’t know when I will get it and my mom is dead so I can’t talk to her about it. When do you think I will get it?
It's impossible to know but I do think you will get it soon enough and then wonder, "Why the heck was I so eager for this mess!!??" I know that getting your period feels like a right of passage for girls and you want to be as grown up as your friends. And sure, the arrival of your period is a biological milestone. But in no way does it measure the worth or value of the woman you are becoming.
That is qualified by your integrity, your kindness, your compassion, your mind and your heart. All characteristics over which you have complete control. Only Mother Nature your biology so leave that to her and focus on what you can improve upon in yourself.
You can become a better listener, a more understanding daughter, sister, and friend. You can learn more and explore your interests and talents. You can be more helpful and interested in the universe and the world and the people, places, and things that fill it. Not one person who knows you can tell by looking at you whether or not you have your period. What they will notice is the kindness in your eyes and voice.
Mention to your Dad that you would love to talk to a woman about lady things. He should be happy to facilitate that. When your period comes it will be very helpful for you to know who to call so that you can ask the specific questions that will come up about how to best manage things. My advice is for you to always keep a pad in your backpack and to be prepared. Also know that any woman... teacher, neighbor, aunt, older girl... will be ready and willing to help you. Women help women with supplies and advice. You don't know about it because we do it discretely. Just ask.
My closet guy friend admitted to having feelings for me, but at the time dating him wasn’t something I thought about. He is just turning 16 but still hasn’t physically matured so I never considered It. He is the nicest guy and I have really started thinking about him in a relationship way. And I told him about it because I thought he deserved to know. And he felt the same way. But we both agreed it would be best to not do anything about it. And I feel like we are closer than ever, but we don’t talk about it. And I know we shouldn’t but I want to kinda explore what dating him would be like. I can’t help it. What should I do?
You can not just "explore what dating would be like." That's like Thai kids exploring a cave. There is no easy way out.
Look, you two are close friends. You are growing up together. Your feelings are fluid and they are changing every day and I think you SHOULD talk about it. Here's something important. Kissing this boy will be a point of no returning to this present friendship. You will either begin dating or you will retreat to the opposite and awkward corners. Yes, the friendship could recover from a kiss... eventually... but that will take time.
Before you shift your gear from friend to boyfriend you should absolutely and positively want to date this boy. If you have to wait for him to grow two more inches before that certainty overtakes you then wait. But talk to him. It sounds like he's all in on this. Don't take that for granted. Tell him that you are starting to feel something but you are still nervous about hurting him. Tell him that you love him too much to take actions that move more quickly than your feelings. You want to really know before you make such a big change in how you define your relationship. This way he will be able to know that when you tell him you are ready to call this dating it will be because you really mean it.
Hey Weezy. I have been feeling anxious at the thought of people finding out what my mom does for a living. I've seen her give up so much from her career to give me and my brothers a better future. Back in my country she got her major in economics and had formed a career in banks. She was really good at her job, always getting promotions and raises. Me and my brothers always had our necessities at home. We had a roof and food in our table everyday, all because of her. When she had the opportunity to immigrate to the United States, she took it without hesitation because that meant she could offer me and my brothers a better future. The language was a challenge for her and it created a barrier in achieving what she wanted. But that didn't stop her. She did everything from cleaning houses to working at restaurants, keeping 3 jobs at the time, and slowly working her way up to management positions in gas stations and currently at a restaurant. She's been working so hard at this jobs, dealing with people that had no respect for her or her education, and till this days she hates it. But the things that she's achieved for all her hard work has kept her going. She's finally bought a house here and she's been wanting this for so many years. I'm proud of her for doing all of that, but at the same time I can't stand her being unhappy working at the restaurant she works at right now. And I'm ashamed to admit it but sometimes I'm a little embarrassed to say she works there since it's not a restaurant with a good reputation. I don't tell any of my friends she works there and it makes me feel like an awful person. Tonight I was texting my crush and he was telling me he was going to eat with a few other people. I asked him why they chose the place they were eating at and he said that it was because the thought of the other restaurant "made his stomach turn up" he basically started bashing the restaurant my mom works at. Which made me feel really sad, I suddenly didn't wanna talk to him any longer and ended the conversation. He probably thinks I'm crazy but this situation really upsets me. I feel like an awful daughter. I don't know what to do.
Let's start with this: You are a wonderful daughter and you are making your mother very proud. All kids want to fit in and they all worry that if their friends find out this, that or the other then someone will think less of them. My Dad made fur coats. I have friends who are very PETA and I worry about what they will say when they learn that my father was a furrier. I can believe that my father is the greatest man who ever lived AND worry about what my animal rights friends will say about him. Both emotions can co-exist simultaneously and I am still a wonderful daughter. 😀
What you come to realize as you get older is that you are not your mother and your mother is not you. She can make every choice she makes because of you and for you and that still does not make her you. YOU know your mother is an outstanding person and that she should be honored, celebrated and respected in every regard and once you come to fully know the same about yourself you will feel more confident in defending your mother.
Someone will say, "I would never eat at Jack's. The food at Jack's makes me wretch!" and you will say, "Hey, slow that roll. My Mom works at Jack's." Say that with a smile and a twinkle and people will be like, "Woah. Sorry."
Just like you are not your Mom. Your Mom is not her job. She is so much more than that. She is your hero. She is the American dream. You have described a woman who personifies who and what we are as a country. We could take your story and tell it 100 years ago or 200 years ago. A woman of great substance and character with limited opportunity for her children journeys to America to create a new life for her family. She starts at the bottom. Works several jobs. Scrapes and claws her way to a management position so that she can afford to send her children to college and buy a home. Come on! That's spectacular. Own that story. Be proud of it and tell it. If kids your age do not respect it. Gently teach them to do so by respecting it yourself.
Go out into the world and continue to make your mother proud. If she hates her job she can take this experience and use it to transfer to a job she prefers. That is her journey. You can not take it for her. You can only support her and let her know how much she is teaching you just by being bold and courageous. Let her see you shine. Tell her that she makes you proud. And don't be angry at the boy for saying something that he did not know would hurt you. Share you truth with friends. Your pride will inform and enrich others.