How To Persuade Your Parents

This truly is one of the greatest skills I’ve developed in my seventeen years, and because I’m such a generous person, I’m going to give a few tips to help you teenagers out.

*Disclaimer: since I’ve only dealt with one set of parents, my tips might not work with everyone. But hey, they’re worth a shot.

 

1: Baby Steps. Never ever pitch the entire idea to your parents to begin with. Never. Always begin with the tiniest, least-threatening portion of your plan.

For years, my parents insisted that they weren’t going to let me get my license until I was seventeen, in order to ensure that I’d have plenty of practice driving with them before I was on my own. They had this terrible picture in their minds of me wrecking and dying, so they seemed to think that twelve additional months of practice would eliminate those odds.

Instead of immediately pushing to get my license at sixteen, I slowly eased into the idea. I already had a job, and I mentioned that being licensed would make getting to and from work a trillion times easier. I was running cross country, and it was a struggle for my mom sometimes to make sure I had a ride to and from practices and meets, so I tossed up the idea that if I were licensed already, I wouldn’t need to find someone to bring me home. With my mom’s work schedule, it was difficult for me to make it to early morning meetings for the various clubs and organizations I was in before school, so I suggested that being licensed would be really helpful.

Finally, my mom gave in and agreed to let me get my license before I was 17, but there were a lot of stipulations. I’ll get to that later, though. On to the next tip.

2: Pick The Easier Parent. You guys know the drill… if Mom says no, always ask Dad. If Dad says no, then go ask Mom. That’s how it was as a little kid, going back and forth until you got the answer you were seeking. But by your teenage years, you should know which parent will say yes, depending on the circumstances. Always start with that parent, and once they’re on your side, it’ll be much easier to drag their other half along for the ride.

In my case, I’m much closer with my mom than I am with my stepdad. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure where he stood on the case of my license, whether he was just agreeing with my mom or if he truly cared about my waiting ’til I was seventeen to drive alone. So, naturally, I worked on my mom first, and once she broke down and sided with me, she just filled him in on what was going to happen and things went pretty smoothly from there.

3: Compromise. Remember earlier, when I mentioned those stipulations that my mom gave me for obtaining my license? Here’s where I’m going to hit harder on those. Mom agreed to let me get my license, but told me I could only drive to and from work, to and from cross country, and that I could only drive to school on days I either had practice or a meeting before or after school. I was a little put-out by that at first, since I really was longing for the freedom of being able to drive wherever, whenever without being accompanied by an adult, but I know my mom very well. I know that if I let her think things will go according to her plan, there’s always a little room to wiggle around her rules later. And so, I agreed to her stipulations. Only months after I got my license, I was allowed to drive into town and to my friends houses. Today, I mention heading an hour or two away into the city with a friend, and my mom barely bats an eyelash. Baby steps and compromise work hand in hand in getting your way.

Another thing I should add is that I volunteered to pay for my driver’s ed class, which was two hundred dollars, and my mom really didn’t feel like paying for it. I’m pretty sure that by stepping up and responsibly saying “Mom, this is so important to me that I’m willing to pay for it in its entirety,” I really gained some brownie points.

4. Slow Extension. This, too, was already mentioned in my last point. At first, I had to follow my mom’s stipulations exactly. But slowly, I began extending the boundaries, and now, there really isn’t much of a boundary set at all. In a matter of months, I’m going to be eighteen, and I’m really proud of my mom for how well she’s doing with slowly letting go in preparation for the day I move out on my own. (Which is nine months away, for the record.) The idea here is that you need to slowly push your limits, and eventually, the limits will begin to expand.

5. Guilt Trips. Of all the tips I’m giving you, this is by far the dirtiest, sneakiest, most manipulative. It’s also extremely effective when it’s done properly. You can’t overdo guilt trips, or they’re annoying and make you look irresponsible (and when you’re trying to get your way, irresponsibility won’t help you out a bit). You also can’t entirely discount them from your plan of action.

In my own example scenario, while I was trying to convince my mom to let me get my license, I constantly hit on the fact that it was getting colder and darker outside, and that pretty soon walking home from work (even though it’s only about a quarter of a mile) was going to be dangerous and difficult. I also mentioned how terrible it was to have to wait an hour or more outside in the wind after practice or a meet for her to get off work and come pick me up (I didn’t mention that I sort of liked the quiet time to myself while I waited). Moms are compassionate. They love their babies, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. That’s why this tip can be so effective. If my mom thinks for an instance that I’m too cold or that I’m too hungry or that I’m in some way not taken care of, she immediately wants to fix it and make sure I’m safe and secure. Hit on your mom’s motherly instincts and it’ll be a struggle for her to turn you down.

It’s important to note with this tip that saying things like “but mom, it’s not fair. All the other kids get to…” will potentially backfire and ensure that you do not get your way. Never use the phrase “not fair” or compare your situation to that of another child. And again, don’t over do the guilt trips. That’s also ineffective.

 

I wish you luck on your mission of persuasion.

Dear Boys…

Dear Boys,

Why do you like me? Wait, no. That’s not how I wanted it to come out. That makes it seem like I don’t want any boys whatsoever to like me, and that certainly is not the case. What I really mean to ask is this: why do you never like me when I want you to?

When I make sure to shower and spend some time on my hair and dress like a girl and wear makeup just to impress you, you never pay me any mind. In fact, I can’t name a single time that I’ve actually made an effort to look presentable and gotten the attention of a boy that way.

No, instead, the ones who seem to fall for me are the ones who see me at my worst. The ones who see me with a red face, all sweaty and stinky after I get done with practice. The ones who’ve talked to me when I’m a vulnerable little wreck of a girl. The ones who I don’t touch my hair or makeup and only wear cutoffs and baggy running shorts around. Why are you boys like that? It just doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

What am I supposed to do here? It seems to me that showering actually deters boys. So is that the solution? No more showering?

Worth a try, I suppose.

Buckle Your Seatbelts… We’re In For A Wild Ride

Boy oh boy, it’s been a while, eh? I can’t say for sure exactly what it is that made me log into my blog for the first time in a year-ish today, but I’m glad I did. I loved blurting out my thoughts and interacting with the wonderful world of wordpress, and I’m happy to announce that I’m back.

In our time apart, I managed to do lots of silly things and get myself into plenty of mischief… memories that I’m excited to share with all of you. I’ll also be sharing my struggles with college planning, and later on, my stories as a broke college kid who’s struggling to pay the rent.

So buckle your seatbelts, grab the reigns (or the “oh-shit!” bar) and hold on, because we’re in for a wild ride…

 

Hate’s A Strong Word, But…

I don’t like to hate people. And I also don’t really like to gossip, because it just makes me feel bad. But I’m going to make an exception today. Except that I’m not going to mention names, it’s going to be a generalized post, so does that count as gossip? I don’t think so.

 

You know how they say that the longer you know a person, the more their personality influences your perception of their physical looks? For instance, if you meet a less-than-attractive person who is extremely sweet and bubbly, they instantly become so much better looking, and vice versa. It’s that inner beauty shining through, or in the case I’m referring to right now, the utter lack of inner beauty that shines through.

So there’s this girl I know, and she’s not the nicest person. I’ve stuck by her side, being her friend though. I mean, everyone else thinks she’s a rude word that I’m not going to say, so she really doesn’t have any other friends. Me, being the kind of person I am, I decided that I’d be there for her because I think everyone deserves a friend.

But then she stabbed me in the back, probably more times than I can count. And I’m talking big time, like starting a horrible rumor about me that lasted for three years, insulting me behind my back almost constantly, calling me her “heavier” friend (note: I’m not even remotely close to overweight, so who even knows where that comment came from), and insulting my family. It’s one thing to start rumors and insult me, but it’s entirely another to call my siblings names. That’s a big no-no in my book. But still, after everything she did to me, every time I was in tears trying to figure out what to do about her, I stuck by her. Because I’m a forgiving person, and everyone deserves a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. And a fifth chance, and so on.  And for some crazy reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe, she’d see that she was in the wrong and change. 

After a while of being good friends with her, I went downhill. I started gossiping, starting rumors, telling lies, and insulting people, just because that’s what she did. I for some reason thought that everyone loved her and that they’d all love me if I acted like her. (Again, back to my post ‘Perfection where I mentioned that I’ve always cared too much what others thought about me.) She and I were the same. We were just as bad as one another. The only difference was that my conscious ate at me. I stayed awake at night trying to figure out why I was doing those things. I zoned out in class after being rude to someone, asking myself what made me do that. And then it hit me–once I was around her so long, she influenced my behavior.  As much as I had previously thought that I could change her for the better, that’s not what happened at all. That plan never works, whether it’s a friendship or a relationship, the good always turns bad if they’re in it too long.

So I told myself I was done with that ridiculous behavior. I was going to go back to my natural, nice self. A friend of mine was actually the catalyst for my decision to change when he asked, “when did you get so mean?” And he then proceeded to shake his head in disappointment and walk away. We haven’t really been friends ever since, though I’ve been slowly patching up that relationship. It hurt a lot to know that my behavior did me no good and in fact earned me the reputation of a, well, you know what word to insert here.

Slowly but surely, I reversed my wrongdoings. I apologized to people. I started smiling and laughing more (now people joke that I never stop laughing) and went back to my easygoing self. And I’m happy. Really happy. Honestly, being nice just puts you in a good mood.

I haven’t talked to the girl I mentioned earlier in almost eight months, and to be honest, I’m perfectly content with my decision to leave our friendship. The bible talks about forgiving someone 7×70 times, and you know what? I forgive her. I’m over what she’s done for the most part. But the bible doesn’t say that we have to keep putting ourselves in situations that can only bring us harm, so I no longer feel obligated to stand by her. If she wants a friend, she can turn to the dozen people who are just as fake and mean as she is that choose to associate with her on occasion.

Here’s the moral of the story: 1) if you’re good, stay away from the bad ones because they always influence you before you get to them, and 2) your reputation is dependent on that of your friends. If they’re known to be mean, you’re going to be known as mean. That’s just how it is.

Well, then. Glad I could share some hopefully enlightening words with you.

 

 

Perfection

I remember in seventh grade when one of my classmates and I were talking and he said she wished she could be like me. I was completely confused as to why in the world anyone would want to be like me, when all my life I’d been trying to be like someone else, someone better than me.

 

“You don’t care what anyone thinks about you,” she informed me. “I wish I could be like that.”

I just smiled and nodded. What was I supposed to do–inform her that I cared way too much about everyone’s opinion of me and ruin the high opinion she had of me? No. Again, I cared too much what she and everyone else thought. And hey, if she thought I was cool enough to be looked up to, I’d take that, true or not.

In the last year, I’ve begun to realize that it’s completely and utterly ridiculous to want to be like everyone around me when I could be just as successful being myself. Why strive to have hair that’s identical to that of my friend when I’ve got hair that can look good my way? Why attempt to copy someone’s wardrobe when I look better in the clothes like? Why post a Facebook status I don’t like just because I know it’ll get a ton of likes?

Being an adolescent is an awkward time. Honestly, it is. Middle school is the worst of it. You don’t know who you are, and you’re desperately trying to become who you wish you could be. Thing is, the person you wish you could be often isn’t you. That doesn’t mean one persona is better than the other, it just means that it’s not you. And you should always, one hundred percent of the time, strive to be yourself.

I’m finally starting to be comfortable with being me. I dress how I want to dress, and I don’t really care if someone likes it or not. I don’t wear a lot of makeup because I don’t think I need it. I don’t spend an hour on my hair because it’s easier to throw it in a messy bun and go. I say what think, not what will get people to think I’m funny. I do things how I want them done, not in a way to please others. I don’t consider going tanning just because my skin is pale. I stand tall and refuse to let the fact that I’m taller than a lot of people–including some guys–bother me anymore. It’s who I am, and it’s something I can’t change.

When I was a few years younger, one question took up a lot of my time: if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I spent hours upon hours pondering that question, trying to find one thing instead of dozens that I wished I could change. My hair, my skin, my body, my wardrobe, my feet (feet are weird no matter who you are, so I never should’ve been self-conscious about those!), etc. Thinking back, it makes me a little angry at myself for wasting so much time and energy thinking like that. I could’ve been studying for a history test instead of googling ways to make my hair shinier. I could’ve been out running and getting in shape for softball while I complained that I didn’t have the perfect body. (And hello, who even has the perfect body at age thirteen? Nobody.)

I think it all comes down to the fact that we have very few positive influences in our lives. Sure, our parents are usually good role models who are there to support and encourage us. But think about it, as a pre-teen or a teenager, did you want to listen to Mom and Dad? Probably not. I know I didn’t. In fact, there were times that I purposely did the opposite of what I was told to do.

The number of negative influences far outweighs the positive. On TV, there are hundreds of skinny, flawless-skinned, tan, gorgeous girls with lots of friends and even more boyfriends. In magazines, we come to see photoshopped, unrealistic pictures as the girls we should be. Commercials tell us that we’re not pretty enough or skinny enough or perfect enough, and we therefore need to buy their product to make us better. I’ve even heard teachers tell people that they’re not smart enough and that they’ll never amount to anything.

Our culture’s image of perfection is a too-skinny, tall (but not too tall!), gorgeous girl who has clear skin and wears designer clothes. Perfect has boys chasing after her, begging for a date. She’s the best at everything she does by nature, and she doesn’t need anybody’s help with anything. And she has money. Lots and lots of money. Not to mention the fact that everyone loves her.

Please, do me a favor and name one person who is perfect. Can’t do it, can you? That’s because perfection isn’t an earthly quality. Jesus was the only perfect being to ever walk the earth, and He’s not here right now. He’s up in heaven. But even so, He wouldn’t fit society’s perception of perfection. So what does that mean? It means that the perfection so many of us strive for isn’t really perfect at all. It means that we’re looking up to people who shouldn’t be looked up to. It means that we’re wasting precious time trying to be better when we’re all incredible the way we are.

I wish I could overturn the ideas that my generation has grown up with. I wish I could tell each girl individually that she’s beautiful the way she is. I wish I could tell every guy that it’s okay to not look like they live in the gym, and that they don’t have to break hearts to be a real man. I wish I could convince everyone that alcohol and drugs and cigarettes don’t make them cool. I wish I could ensure that my baby sister and all the other kids she’s going to grow up with would have more positive role models than negative ones.

I’m glad I’m coming to peace with myself and that I’m comfortable doing what I want, whether or not it’s what society says I should be doing. But a lot of people aren’t, and a lot of people never will be. I’m finding myself, but a lot of people have and will leave adolescence as a fake who never gave themselves the opportunity to discover who they are. So do me a favor: if you’re around my age and you’re reading this, remember that you’re absolutely incredible no matter what. Don’t let anyone bring you down. And if you’re older, try to remember your teenage years. Try to remember when all you wanted to do was fit in. Try to understand that now, we’re even more desperate than you were then, and try to bring us up. Remind us that we’re amazing. Remind us that we can do anything we want to do, no matter how crazy it is. Remind us that you’re there for us. Just make sure we know that there are people there when we need them, because it’s easy to forget sometimes.

 

‘Bout To Get Controversial

This post is going to be a serious rant, so if you think you’re going to get offended by a topic that’s currently very controversial, then leave. Right now. My purpose isn’t to offend, but rather to get my thoughts out. So if I see comments that bash what I have to say, I will block them as spam, because I’m warning you to leave NOW if you don’t want to read something that clashes with any opinions you may have. Now, then… on to my rant…

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of that Chick-Fil-A thing that’s going on. You know, where the CEO of the company publicly declared that he was for the biblical ideas of marriage and that he’s against gay marriage? Yeah, that thing. Politicians are now using the stance of a fast food joint to gain public acceptance. Other fast food places are siding with Chic-Fil-A. I’ve even read that the company is financially supporting anti-gay organizations that go overseas to kill gays and are trying to make homosexuality illegal. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s 100% true or not, but I don’t doubt it, especially with the way people are acting these days.

So what I want to know is this: how does gay marriage affect Chick-Fil-A? How does it affect all those politicians? How does it affect other companies? How does it affect you? How does it affect me? The answer is that it doesn’t.

I’m straight. I’ve never even considered the idea of dating or marrying anyone who wasn’t of the opposite gender, and therefore, I find it extremely difficult to understand how someone might be attracted to another of the same sex. Personally, I’m going to grow up and marry a guy that I fall in love with. Because of that, gay marriage doesn’t affect me in the least. What do I care if two people who are in love get married? I think everyone should have a chance at love, whether or not they go about it the conventional way. It does not affect me.

And guess what! Unless you’re gay, this issue doesn’t affect you either.

Here’s something that might surprise you after reading this: I’m a christian. There’s a shocker, ‘eh? Especially since I’m arguing against Chick-Fil-A’s supposed support of a biblical idea. But the thing is, I don’t believe that a true christian can support one part of the bible without supporting the rest. What Chic-Fil-A’s CEO failed to mention is that yes, gay marriage is a sin, but so is telling someone that they look pretty when you’re internally wondering if they’ve been hit by the ugly stick is equally sinful. In Jesus’ eyes, a sin is a sin. It doesn’t matter how big or little. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or if you’ve told a white lie or if you’ve committed murder. It’s the exact same thing. And guess what? We’ve ALL sinned. Every single one of us. 

I’m sick of seeing people who claim to be christian post facebook statuses about how much they’re going to support Chick-Fil-A now. Grow up–this has nothing to do with any of you! The United States is putting entirely too much emphasis on the issue  of gay marriage right now, when in reality, it doesn’t affect a majority of us in any way, shape, or form. All it’s doing is drawing our country further and further apart, and over an immature issue nonetheless. What ever happened to the separation of church and state? We can’t pray in school, but politicians are allowed to publicly declare their support or contradiction with an issue that stems from a statement about christian beliefs? That just seems completely hypocritical to me.

Back to what I said about Chick-Fil-A’s support of organizations that are trying to make homosexuality illegal. That’s one of the absurd things I’ve ever heard. Teenagers can legally abort a child and never have to tell their parents about it, but apparently being attracted to someone of the same gender should be outlawed? I don’t think so. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I love my country, but I’m extremely disappointed in them right now. The United States needs to rethink their morals, because there’s a serious issue when killing a child is legal but being in love with someone that the bible says not to love isn’t allowed.

All I have to say is grow up, America. This issue doesn’t affect me, and it doesn’t affect thousands of others who are butting their heads into it. Don’t let this split apart our country even more. There’s plenty of bad things already. Don’t bring fast food into this, don’t bring politics into this, and don’t bring unaffected parties into this.

I neither support nor oppose gay marriage. Because as I’ve already said half a dozen times, it doesn’t affect me. What’s the use of having such a strong opinion when it has nothing to do with most of us? That’s completely immature.

I’ve already explained my stance on the biblical aspects–that a sin is a sin is a sin is a sin and we’re all guilty of sinning–but I want to mention a couple more things on that. 1) It doesn’t matter that we’ve sinned numerous times, Jesus will forgive us no matter what. All you have to do is ask for forgiveness. 2) Hate is a sin, too. And it’s something that the devil thrives on. So if you think that you’re some great christian because you’re hating on homosexuals, you need to get that idea out of your head right now. You’re no higher or more holy than the people who you’re going against.

One last thing before I hit publish and watch as the hateful comments stream in (even though I said NOT to read if you might be offended): I neither support nor oppose Chick-Fil-A. I’m disappointed that the nation has chosen sides over an issue such as this. There are bigger things than gay marriage that we need to be focused on, like the amount of homeless people there are or the fact that there are soldiers dying daily in the fight for our freedom. But I’m not going to take this out on Chick-Fil-A because that’s entirely immature, and one person is not at fault for this. Our entire nation is at fault because we’ve let an issue that shouldn’t be a national issue escalate to extremes.

Sorry, not sorry.

8 Reasons Why: Sucks To Be A Teenager

Obviously, I’m in a debbie downer mood today, hence my list of negatives. I was thinking earlier about how great it would be to just leave and go for a road trip, and then I realized that’s not a possibility, mainly because of this: I don’t yet have my license. Ever since I had that epiphany, I’ve been in a terrible mood. I honestly feel bad for my family, because they’re the ones who have to deal with my monster-like attitude when I leave my bedroom.

I’m not positive as to why such a small thing threw my normally happy mood out the window, but I’ve decided that it must be because my blood sugar seems to be abnormally low today. I’m not diabetic, but my mom thinks there’s a good chance I’m hypoglycemic because of the way my body tends to shut down if my sugar is low. There are lots of nasty symptoms that I go through when this happens, and as I said, today’s been especially off.

Oops, I’m getting off topic! You’re probably bored to tears. Fear not! I’ll get on to my list of eight reasons why it sucks to be a teenager…

1. Minimum wage is lower for minors than it is for adults. Plus, since I work way less hours than most adults, I’m getting like a trillion times less money than they do. Which sucks. On the plus side, I don’t have to pay any bills yet, so I don’t technically need all that much money, but it would be nice to have a little more to spend on books and clothes. 😉

2. Some concerts are inaccessible to minors. Unless you’ve got a really good fake ID. Since I don’t own a fake ID, it would be impossible to get into those concerts. Such a downer.

3. Can’t buy some things. No, I’m not referring to alcohol or cigarettes, because I don’t need to be buying those anyway. But have you ever seen those infomercials that end with “must be eighteen to purchase.”? You’ve got to be eighteen to buy a pillow pet! How ridiculous is that!?

4. People (adults, specifically) seem to think we’re incapable and incompetent. If it weren’t for the fact that I respect my elders, I’d probably yell at them that I more than likely have a higher IQ and therefore am more than capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.

5. High school. ‘Nuff said.

6. You have to follow your parents’ rules. Like, for example, the rule my parents have that I must be seventeen before taking the driving test. That one absolutely drives me insane, but it’s not like I can do a lot about it. When I’m eighteen, parental consent is no longer needed. I’m sure I’ll still consult with them over most things, because I respect them and their opinions, but it’ll be nice to actually make my own decisions.

7. There’s not a lot of freedom as a teenager. We’ve got curfews, school deadlines, restrictions on licenses and life in general, etc. It would be nice to for once just have the freedom to do what I want to do. (Hint hint, road trip!)

8. Acne. I don’t think I have to explain much for that one.

 

Anywho, I’ve gotta get to sleep. I may or may not add some good things to my list at another time. Hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into my perspective on life!