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Life Freaks Me Out
Cover of Life Freaks Me Out
Life Freaks Me Out
And Then I Deal with It
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Inspired by the concerns of real teenagers, this thoughtful memoir addresses the many turbulent, confusing, and exhilarating situations teens face. Big questions such as Who am I?, What's important to...
Inspired by the concerns of real teenagers, this thoughtful memoir addresses the many turbulent, confusing, and exhilarating situations teens face. Big questions such as Who am I?, What's important to...
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Description-

  • Inspired by the concerns of real teenagers, this thoughtful memoir addresses the many turbulent, confusing, and exhilarating situations teens face. Big questions such as Who am I?, What's important to me?, and What am I called to do on this planet? are explored in candid autobiographical essays as well as bits of wisdom garnered from relatives, ancient poets, popular movies, coworkers, and a host of other sources. Sexuality, drug use, friendships, stress management, and self-esteem are among the important adolescent topics that this personal memoir addresses with warmth, compassion, and wit.

Excerpts-

  • Life Freaks Me Out

    1: You Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

    When I was at the Compass School, we had weekly meetings with about ten kids and one advisor. During these group sessions, we talked about life and issues that came up in our volunteer work and about our journal writing and contract learning activities. It was a new experience for me to talk about things in a group like that, and, being rather shy and private in some ways, I didn’t always like it much.

    I remember I came to school one day in a really bad mood. I had been fighting with my parents about their rules, and how I felt that they were trying to control my life, and how I didn’t think they understood how important it was for me to be with my friends. I’m sure now that when I walked into Group, everyone could see from my face and body language that I was upset and angry. I didn’t care. I wanted them to know it; I wanted everyone to know it.

    I wound up talking with irritation about one of the requirements we had to meet, saying how stupid I thought it was and how hard it was to make it work out. After the meeting, my advisor, John, asked to talk to me in his office. “Oh, geez, now what?!” I thought. I already felt as if everyone was against me; I didn’t need this.

    Not being able to think of a way out of it, I stomped into his office and threw myself down in the chair.

    “What?”

    He looked at me for a minute, preparing, I assumed, to put me in my place. But instead of yelling, he asked me what was going on that was making me so upset. I started telling him about that morning’s fight with my parents and how awful everything was. As I talked, I felt myself calming down a little—at least someone was willing to listen to me—but I still didn’t know why he called me into his office. When I ran out of words, I slouched back in the chair and stared at the ugly gray carpet, expecting a repeat of the fight with my parents: telling me why I was wrong, why my parents were right, and that my feelings were screwed up, and probably that I had talked too much in Group. But John surprised me. Instead of lecturing, he told me something I’ve remembered my whole life.

    “You know, Kay, I don’t think you realize how powerful you are.”

    I lifted my eyes from the floor to stare at him. I felt like the least powerful person in the world. Everyone was controlling me, I couldn’t do what I wanted to after school or on weekends, everything I tried to do or wanted didn’t work out, I was unhappy and I blamed it on my family and my school and politicians and everyone else. I thought he was nuts.

    “When you came into Group this morning, the rest of us were already there. You came in angry and negative, and that affected everyone. They were watching you, responding to you. On other days, when you come in with a positive attitude, the group responds to that, too. You have a strong, intense spirit and the ability to speak your thoughts and feelings. I want you to realize that you can choose whether that influence is a good one or a bad one.”

    I was speechless. I had never seen myself as having power in the group, having influence. I always felt as if the group existed and I just had to try to find a way to fit in with what was already going on. I also assumed that was only going to work once in a while. I was used to feeling separate, apart, different, not good enough. It had never occurred to me that I contributed to what the group was, that my being there was part of creating it, and that I could decide for myself what kind of contribution I was going to make.

    I felt something inside me change at that moment.

About the Author-

  • K. L. Hong is the executive editor at Search Institute and has contributed to many publications for and about youth and community development. She has been a personal mentor to teens at St. Joseph's Home for Children. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Reviews-

  • David Walsh, author, Why Do They Act That Way? "An emotional journey through the many challenges of adulthood relationships, self-esteem, jobs, and loss."
  • Sharon Rodine, director, Heart of OKC (Oklahoma City), Oklahoma Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Project "An honest story about important growing-up experiences and life lessons that feels like a conversation with a friend."
  • Elizabeth J. Andrew, author, Swinging on the Garden Gate and Writing the Sacred Journey "In a guide that is achingly intimate and hands-on practical, Hong addresses teenagers as curious, moral, sexual, searching human beings."
  • Minnesota Parent "My [15-year-old] son enjoyed the book: 'It's like someone's just talking to me about their life and what they've learned.'"

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    Search Institute Press
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Life Freaks Me Out
Life Freaks Me Out
And Then I Deal with It
K. L. Hong
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And Then I Deal with It
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