Illustration by Maxine Crump.

Illustration by Maxine Crump.

For this edition of Just Wondering, our tender advice-giver is Victoria Legrand, vocalist and keyboardist for the band Beach House:

Photo by Spencer John Bray.

Photo by Spencer John Bray.

For Victoria’s guidance on what to do when you sense that you and a friend are growing apart, how to talk to your parents about “negative” emotions, and being free…read on!

I had a really rough time with school and social life in general this year and fall term really kicked me to the ground. Thankfully, a couple of older girls and teachers whom I trust helped me figure things out. However, when I tried to bring up all the negative emotions and scary thoughts I felt to my parents, they seemed very uncomfortable. They brushed the topic away, which really hurt my feelings because it took quite a bit of courage to say those things. Nowadays, whenever I talk to them on the phone (I go to a boarding school), I feel like there’s a huge elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. That makes me want to hang up as soon as possible. I feel terrible about this in general; what should I do? Where should I start? —Yebby, 16, Concord

You are not alone.  

It is a very strange thing sometimes bridging your evolving self with the parents who saw you as an innocent bae. You’ve done the best thing you can by looking for older buddies at school and cool teachers. But you do need your family. So, try to figure out your parents’ comfortability when it comes to certain topics. Also, realize there are certain subjects, like sex, drugs, and rock and roll, that your family may not be ready to hear about until you are much older.

Until then, you have music, friends, counselors, yoga, and nature to talk about with your parents. Trust yourself and just remember, your parents are much older and may not be able to handle your revolutions. They have their own comfortable/safe world they created. They may also have judgments they can’t help but have. You know, just because they are parents, doesn’t mean they are perfect and know everything. Sometimes we surpass our parents in experiences and knowledge. We are different generations, after all, and will not always relate. 

Despite any differences, though, your parents are still legally responsible for you for a few more years. If you feel abandoned, or neglected, you have to voice that to them. If you feel like you are ever in danger, let them know.

Otherwise, just keep in mind that not everybody gets their parents to be their best friends and that’s totally OK. Until then, know they love you and would do anything for you that you really, really needed, but in terms of sharing experiences, you may be better off talking to a pal in the meantime. Try making some art, too!!! Find new ways of expressing yourself other than phone calls and social media. Challenge yourself. Try to answer your own questions as best you can.

Nothing is truly ever normal, but this is one of the most normal parts of growing up: It’s called growing away from your parents/family and into yourself. You’ll meet back up with them at some point, don’t worry. Good luck! 

Hiiii! My best friend—we have known each other since we were nine—and I have been drifting apart. I know this is a really common thing that happens a lot in this ADOLESCENT PHASE OF OUR LIVES, but the thing is that I’m really sure it’s happening because he thinks—and has said this to me multiple times—that I’m annoying. I really don’t think an aspect of my personality has substantially changed in the past year, although I can sometimes sense that I AM being annoying!! I don’t know how I should proceed or how to talk about it. I know this sounds BLOB, but I think lately more than half the things I say bother him. Please HELP! —Martina, 17, Chile

The number one thing to know at your age, and for the rest of your life, is that almost everything happens for a reason.

Notice this beginning of a long shift of change and becoming. The waves of nausea and anxiety will come and go. All of the questioning, the never-ending searches…the waves will subside and then they will begin again.  

One simple, helpful tip: Space is everything. I’m talking not only personal space, but also social media space. Take a break from analyzing and comparing. You could be creating or seeking out a problem that is probably not as big as you think. 

Your longtime childhood friend is feeling something. It could be pressure. He could be feeling suffocated, feeling radical, and in no need of additional energy focused upon him. He may need space. Don’t take it personally. Just be kind, rewind, and step back. Stepping back is very different than turning off.

He may be going through changes he feels YOU cannot relate to. So in that time, why don’t you just focus on yourself and see what YOU may discover? Maybe you can find someone to be annoyed with as well?! It’s simply a sign or symptom of growth and change. It’s not going to be a smooth ride adjusting to changes. And irritability is only temporary.  

He may also have a crush on you. He could be having a hard time managing his emotions and how to deal with them—aka taking them out on you. 

You may also want to take some time for yourself. 

Your awareness of yourself at this time will need extra perspective and intuition. And not just the acute awareness of how you appear—but that of your spirit, your vibes, the energy you create and what you put out into the world. The energy you give to people in daily interactions, big and small.  

This, my dear 17-year-old blossom, is a lifelong work in progress. We are never done becoming aware. You may not realize bad habits or “annoying” traits. Equally, you may not yet realize your talents, or gifts. Either way, you will learn about yourself AS you live your life, not before you live it. You’ll never be perfect—no one is. You will drive someone crazy and be driven crazy as well. You will lose people, and they will lose you. Just know that loving is also letting go, so if your friend needs a break, let him go. He may come back. Just know you did the right thing. BE brave and take a risk. BE free.

And do not be afraid to lose. It’s a risk, and risks are what dreams are made of. Next time he says, “Hey, you’re annoying me,” try saying, “OK, if I am, let me know what I can do or when I could be of help to you.” And then, just walk away. Do something else. It may be a week, it may be five years, but either way you are both entitled to live your lives the way you want to live them. Free from one another or as friends.

At my graduation from college, Susan Sontag was the speaker. She said, among many other things, “Life is the accumulation of loss.” As a younger person, I had a knee-jerk reaction. But as I’ve grown older, I understand, more and more, the weight of her words. ♦

Is something in your life puzzling you? Email your question to [email protected]—including your AGE, FIRST NAME/INITIAL/NICKNAME, and CITY—and we’ll try our best to answer it.