Advice to 13-Year-Olds While Hoping No Actual 13-Year-Olds Read This Blog

“Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.” ~François de la Rochefoucauld

Enigma by Isia Leviant (1981, post Bridget Riley)

A friend of mine started a blog (he’s going to get into myspace in a few years, facebook in 2015, twitter in 2016). Ah, I kid. He’s always got something interesting to say, starting with advice to a 13 year-old. Here’s my favorite gem (which is a lot like my own rant about religion, but without calling god a twat):

There probably isn’t a God: Ok kid, maybe there is a small chance there is a god, but there is slim chance he’s anything described in the Bible, Koran or any other book. Anyone who claims they know for sure is to be mistrusted and ignored.

What you can know, is this: if god would banish Ghandi to hellfire because he’s not Christian, but let some asshole (let’s say Jerry Falwell) into heaven. If god treated some muppet (who did nothing positive his or her entire life, but merely repented for their sins and accepted jesus as their savior); better than people who did noble things most of their lives, but upset God anyways – for not kissing his ass and acknowledging him…

A god who is so vain he will punish you for not thanking him for making the world. A god who is this petty and ridiculous…. that he lays out dozens of religions for you to pick from like a multiple choice test, and turns around and tortures you ETERNALLY in hellfire for choosing the wrong answer….

If that is god, he’s an asshole.

If there is an afterlife, everyone will go there. There will be no screening process. If God is that much of a twat, you’re fucked anyways.

I thought I’d add my own advice to this. Not that I think there are lots of 13-year-olds stopping by here. Still, childless people need to chime in. Parents are always giving kids the same crap advice. “Be who you are.” “Try your best.” “If they judge you by your ugly pants, then they aren’t really your friends.” None of those old chestnuts ever did anyone any good.

So, here’s some advice that will actually help from someone who isn’t encumbered by pesky maternal feelings:

1. Recognize that your parents are just people. Don’t get yourself worked up over the mistakes your parents make. It’s pathetic and unhealthy. Watch some Arthur Miller plays and you’ll see what I mean. That guy could not get over that his dad was just a man. The quicker you get through this, the better. Seriously. Breaking away from your parents is a developmental stage you do not want to get stuck in. Just get over it.

2. Don’t get all bunched up over what you think people are thinking about you. First of all, no one is thinking about you for more than a few seconds in the first place. They’re all just obsessing about themselves. And if someone does happen to think a lot about you, it’s not actually about you anyway. It’s just some inaccurate projection that doesn’t have anything to do with you. So, relax.

3. Listen when people talk. Don’t interrupt. Don’t think of what you’re going to say next. Just pay attention. You probably want people to like you. And everyone likes people who listen to them. Yep, everyone. On the flip, you’ll quickly find out who you want to spend time with. I recommend you seek out people with ideas and curiosity about the world vs. status seekers and judgmental fanatics.

4. Speaking of fanatics, don’t be a fan. Like whatever you like. Comic books. The Clone Wars. Some sports team your parents are into. A band. An actor. Go for it. But here’s the problem with crossing over into fandom … most people are dull or assholes. Being able to hit a home run or write an awesome song doesn’t make someone a cool person, it just make him a good athlete or musician. Admire the skill, but don’t mistake it for a person that’s worth your admiration. Plus, it’s really gross to the date someone who is always slobbering over an actress they don’t know and they’ll never meet, so fandom’s not really going to work out for you in the dating category, which is probably going to be a top priority for you for the next 10 to 20 years.

Oh, and learn at least one foreign language and a musical instrument. And quit buying crap and asking people to buy you crap. There’s more to life than being a consumer. Like what? Like, look up Bridget Riley and then try drawing The Riley Illusion. Then make your own optical illusion. And show it to people. (The ones who like it are cooler than the ones who are indifferent.)

You’re welcome and good luck.
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22 Comments

  1. Jennifer said,

    March 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Awesome blog, Momma. Nick is going to love his super cool Aunt Julie, because his Mom will probably be uptight about stuff, and Aunt Julie will be there to talk her down off the ledge.

    Also, I would like to add to the “don’t get bunched up over people talking about you.” Find someone who is really, really good at talking about the people who are talking about you, especially someone who is also good at diverting your bunched-upedness into something more constructive.

    And I agree with the listening. One of the most important pieces of advice I got about marriage and fighting fair was “Ask yourself – are you listening, or just waiting to talk? There is a difference”. I think that applies to any relationship.

  2. julieluongo said,

    March 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Yes, good one about people talking about you. I’d add that if people are talking about you it means you’re interesting. You’re the kind of person people are curious about. So what if it’s inaccurate or mean? If you want nicer people to be talking about you, then make friends with them.

  3. Lyd said,

    March 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Are you sure this is just for 13-year-olds?! I can think of several adults this applies to!

    nice post…

    • julieluongo said,

      March 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Ha. I was just thinking that learning to listen isn’t really a 13-year-old thing. You’re either going to get that or not. But if you don’t have it by 13, it’s as good a time as any.

  4. Sameer said,

    March 13, 2010 at 7:28 am

    hi you are so sweat to night

  5. julieluongo said,

    March 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I should mention that in #1, I’m not talking about parents who physically or mentally abused you. Those parents should be shut out forever. I’m sure your therapist would agree with me.

  6. Theateam said,

    March 14, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Im a 13 year old and thanks to this scored a date lol thx

  7. Julie Luongo said,

    March 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    No way. Was it the part about listening?

  8. Joshua Emerson said,

    June 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Hi, Im 13 And Ever Since P.E Lesson Iv Had Changed Into A Mean Person And Im Not Always Like That, Even My Parents Said Iv Changed! If You Had Any Advice Please Contact Me J.Emerson1998@hotmail.com

  9. Elsa9041 said,

    January 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Hey, im thirteen… lawl. This helps. A lot. I totally agree…. except i never see my parents so that wont be a problem, ha. Anyway, thanks…

    I’m kinda messed up though, mental issues and stuff, so i’ve been having a lot of trouble… i usually just keep my mouth shut through everything and hope that i’ll survive and that things will get better because my life suucks right now~ but i’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about that too, because i know it can get annoying and that no one really cares. lawl.

    By the way, why would i need to know a foreign language and an instument?
    I speak english, spansish, french, and sign language, and i play the piano, guitar, and accordion.

    Yeah i know its too much :3

    Well i’m poking around the internet looking for advice because… well. I have one friend. And that one friend is going to drag me to the school counselor tomorrow because… eh.

    but i have a bad history with the school counselor, not because i was misbehaving, because i was always depressed and wanted to kill myself. Nyeh.

    You don’t really seem like the type of person that would know about suicide, things like that. But if you have advice i would really appreciate it… im going to star this website and check back like every 5 minutes. ( i would say 20 but i know myself well enough that i’ll be too anticipated)

    anyway, thanks. Sorry for making you read…

    ~Elsa

  10. Julie Luongo said,

    January 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    You don’t like the school counselor? I would think since s/he knows your history of suicidal thoughts and/or attempts, s/he’d be the perfect person to talk to. And if you have mental issues and depression and your parents aren’t around to pay attention and help you out then this person might be the best choice. Trained and knowledgeable and his/her job to be compassionate. OK, so maybe s/he’s an idiot. Totally possible. Couldn’t you talk to someone else like your doctor or the school psychologist or a coach or a nurse or teacher or your neighbor or your friend’s mom? Maybe your meds need some adjusting. Are you on meds?

    On an entirely different note, knowing languages and instruments both open up your world. With language fluency, down the road you can go to school or get a job in another country for a while and make friends with people who didn’t grow up thinking Justin Beiber was important. And with the music, you can start a band or join a band and write music and get your angst out singing your own lyrics at the top of your lungs and make friends with people who get into creating music as much as you do and that will help you feel like you’re not totally alone, which you’re not, of course (but pretty much everyone thinks they are).

  11. Julie Luongo said,

    January 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Also, it sounds like you have a nice friend. And talking about your shit to a good friend is totally helpful. In fact, “they” recommend it to people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder … people who have been through something really stressful … to talk to other people who can relate to their experience. For example, I know someone who witnessed a death and he was really messed up about it and he talked to (or just got together with) his friends who also witnessed it until they felt better, which took a pretty long time for some of them. On a smaller scale and more personal note, when my parents divorced, I had a friend whose parents were divorced, and she was really sympathetic.

    I guess if you don’t have anyone who can relate or if you’re having a crisis, well … I’d be neglectful if I didn’t mention some sort of suicide hotline like:

    http://www.suicide.org/teen-suicide-and-youth-suicide.html

  12. Elsa9041 said,

    January 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks, actually I witnessed my best friend with a knife in her hand, she was going to kill herself but I was quick to act and I stopped her, but only me and her were there and know about it. I don’t know if that can cause PTSD but I’ve changed a lot since that happened.

    And yeah, I do like my school counselor, but I’m just afraid of what she’ll do. Im not sure if I can completely trust her anymore. And my friend that’s dragging me to the counselor- I’m not sure if I can trust her too much either. But everyone that talks to me knows something- like bits and pieces, but no one knows the whole thing, or what exactly happened, that’s why hanaa, the girl who’s dragging me, is doing that, because she knows almost everything or was there.

    Except for that time I was talking about up there. No one knows about that.

    See, I either keep my mouth closed real tight, or spill out my life story.

    I just guess we’ll find out tomorrow… Thanks. You’ve been a great help, I’ll let you know what happens, and I’m gonna check out that hotline right now.

    Thank you so so much,

    ~Elsa

  13. Julie Luongo said,

    January 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    How would you say you’ve changed since you witnessed your friend attempt suicide?

    Here’s a page about PTSD that might shed some light:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001923/

    So, why not tell the whole truth to someone? What’s the worst that can happen? I mean, you feel pretty bad right now. Who are you protecting not telling the things you’re afraid to tell? If it’s your friend, she seems totally fine with you talking.

    I guess I think that if you tell everything to the person who is trying to help you, then you can get the full benefit of her expertise. And if you’re afraid she’s going to send you somewhere for evaluation, is that really so bad? I mean, it can’t be worse than feeling like you are now, right?

  14. Elsa9041 said,

    January 17, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I guess… I emailed the suicide hotline and I figured I’ll just brace myself. Survive through the torture…

    Who cares anymore… I just want to be happy again, you know. Well. I guess I’m just gonna wait and see what happens tomorrow

  15. Julie Luongo said,

    January 17, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Right on. And even if your friend doesn’t drag you to the counselor, you should go anyway. Just take a deep breath and remember that it’ll lead to feeling better. Plus, you’re on a roll … you’ve talked to your friend and me and someone at the suicide hotline … and tomorrow the counselor. I guarantee getting it out won’t be nearly as painful as keeping it all to yourself.
    Good luck.

  16. Anonymous said,

    January 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Getting it out is also very liberating. I had my share of traumatic events as a teen. I was way too embarrassed in those years to tell anyone, not even my sister, who I truly thought had the same experiences. It turned out what happened to me didn’t happen to her. I wish I would have talked to her about it when it was happening, maybe I wouldn’t have been such a huge victim. Maybe she would have talked me off the ledge of silence and maybe, just maybe, the people who do terrible things to young girls would have one less member on the streets. Sometimes you don’t need answers, you just need to let it out. Holding things in is often to the benefit of the person/s who did you dirty, and what are we protecting them for?

  17. Julie Luongo said,

    January 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Oh yeah. I’m all for the talking. The internet and reality TV have brought us a long way. You can always find someone who’s had an experience like yours (internet) and see people spill their lives in front of the world without any embarrassment (reality TV).

    • Kris said,

      November 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Came looking online on how to relate and advise my (almost) 13 year old boy without him completely disregarding what his “mom” says. Found this gem. Love the advice.

      I would like to say how lovely you are for giving such sound advise to the young lady in the post. I would hope that my son would find a way to come to me or find a trusting person that he could vent if he needed to. Keeping things in can make us so toxic! Shame for girls is definitely a toxic thing, as I can relate to feeling so much shame, as a child, for something that wasn’t my fault. But as a child, not having the coping skills and mechanisms, when there isn’t a support person there for you, it can just brew under the surface for many many years. Perhaps that is why I want my child to know that he always can come to me, a trusted friend, or to a person we both trust. Need to find healthy ways to deal with issues, and I want my child to know that before anything happens to him!
      Cheers to you!

  18. Ben said,

    April 19, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Might I just say, that if someone truly likes you, you will know. That is all. And I’m 13 and even I think dont rush.

  19. April 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    ok i need help!!! a guy in town i know seems to be showing interest but i’m not sure. i think he like like’s me but i’m not sure because yesterday we were playing a game with a bunch of other friends and never went after me i think i like himbut i’m not sure someone plz help!!!

  20. May 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Heya outstanding blog! Does running a blog such as this take a
    lot of work? I’ve very little understanding of computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway, should you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic however I simply needed to ask. Thanks a lot!


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