Straight Talk Advice

Panel lays it on the line one more time

Nov 17, 2015

Parting thoughts and advice from Straight-Talkin’ panel

Dear Readers: Your questions and the panelists’ fresh responses never stopped astonishing me. Ditto for the incredible, honest and constructive posts from our many readers, young and old. (If you've never visited www.straighttalkadvice.org, please do so and you’ll see what I mean.) Everyone's recent testimonials are deeply appreciated. Those from gay youth and parents of gays — that no other mainstream column helped dispel false stereotypes as much — validated the "straight" in Straight Talk as clear-headed wisdom. Today, the panel shares their parting advice. Next week, I'll share mine. My deepest thanks to every reader for being a part. —Lauren

Nick 19, Corte Madera, California Ask me a question

With everything spun or sugarcoated, I love Straight Talk’s honesty. People are so busy they rarely sit down and express their feelings — and this outlet did that. Not with fluff, but with serious issues like abuse, suicide and school shootings.

Lisa 22, New York, New York (formerly Eugene, Oregon) Ask me a question

Staying true to oneself is an uphill battle with media constantly telling us how to be. Society’s wealth gap only increases the pressure to “succeed”. Pole stars like Straight Talk Advice are more important than ever. It's frustrating that it wasn't funded while commercialized flotsam thrives. My final advice: Don't let pressure about how to look and be get you down. When you have problems, challenge yourself to talk to someone!

Samantha 23, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

My teen life spun horribly out of control after losing my brother, then my father. Knowing it can be easier to take advice from someone who's been there, I was grateful to be a part. I never wrote what people “wanted to hear”. I was always encouraged to share my own truth.

Hannah 24, Mill Valley, California Ask me a question

It’s critical for young people to have a place to give and receive credible, verified peer advice. Straight Talk helped me navigate a treacherous adolescence. Lauren made me feel comfortable speaking from my experiences, even unflattering ones. While most adults belittled my meltdowns and frustrations, she saw them (and me) as something valuable to be learned from. No topic was too controversial. I can't express my gratitude enough. With all the world’s cruelty, Straight Talk has been a place to breathe and keep from hardening my heart.

Icis 17, Lehigh Acres, Florida Ask me a question

Straight Talk inspired me due to its extreme kindness. I'm sad to see it end.

Savannah 22, Portland, Oregon Ask me a question

Families often avoid difficult or controversial subjects, but Straight Talk made both teens and parents feel safe discussing them. I loved that it wasn’t just about boys or drugs, but all the important issues. I had many favorite columns, but the one about monetary rewards for teens who don’t start smoking is an amazing solution to the leading cause of preventable death.

Colin 21, Sacramento, California Ask me a question

Our species has much to work out — assuming we want to keep inhabiting this planet. My final advice: Read. Read books that challenge your comprehension or your assumptions, like “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember”. Those who don't create time to read are being systematically robbed, although without reading, you may never learn enough to realize it.

Meghan 19, State College, Pennsylvania Ask me a question

I’ve been greatly helped by advice columns over the years. How rewarding to be on the giving end! I'm unaware of an adolescent forum as organized or comprehensive as Straight Talk Advice.

Molly 23, Oakland, California Ask me a question

To parents: Your kids will be immature and make mistakes but when you treat them with respect, fairness, and the expectation that they are good, they are more likely to become that. To teens: It does get better! Nobody escapes unrequited love. And no, you won't be alone forever. Become content with your own company and become a person you genuinely like and are proud of. Nobody else is responsible for your happiness.

Nicole 25, San Luis Obispo, California Ask me a question

Parents: Love your children. Their actions don’t necessarily reflect their deep self. Teens: Set intentions before actions. Ask yourself difficult questions. Be your own close friend. Forgive yourself. Spend time doing something for just you. Be honest.

Peter 28, Honolulu, Hawaii (alumni) Ask me a question

After 12 years of Straight Talk, I hope people realize that young people want you to talk to them about things that matter. It’s also worth mentioning the crazy fact that many of us have grown up and become adults! :)

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Artwork by Yours Truly. You can see more of my work at laurenforcella.com and my Facebook page at facebook.com/LaurenForcellaArtist.

  1. By Linda, age 16, from Redding, California on 11/18/2015

    I also want to thank Straight Talk for all of the valuable information and advice that you have provided over the years.  I will also miss you.  Like others who wrote recently, I have especially appreciated the support that it has given to gay teenagers and dispelling the stereotypes and myths about them. 

    I am straight, but I have a stepsister who happens to be gay.  We have become close, like real sisters, and have started to refer to and introduce each other as our “sister” rather than “stepsister.”  Unlike some stepsisters I know, we actually enjoy sharing a room during visitations.  The “undressing” issue that has been written about so much has never been any problem, and in fact I am even more comfortable with nudity in front of her than with my close straight friends.  However, she still faces the myths about this that have been written about by girls who think that she has a sexual interest in seeing their bodies.  She faces many of the prejudices that have been written about, and it makes me very sad so I have been very glad to see the support that Straight Talk gives to gay teenagers. 

    I also appreciated the recent column about body jewelry as there is a great deal of peer pressure about this where I live.  Some girls at sleepovers and slumber parties like to strip and show off the jewelry on their breasts and pudenda and act like it somehow makes them superior, while I find it stupid and sickening to have to see. 

    There are many, many other columns that I have found very helpful, and I would be writing all day if I tried to list all of them.

    Linda

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  2. By Charlotte, age 42, from Toledo, Ohio on 11/21/2015

    I am also very sorry to see Straight Talk coming to an end.  Along with the others, I want to especially add my thanks to the support that it has given to gay teenagers, since I have a daughter who happens to be gay.  It is not a problem for my husband and me or for her younger brother and sister.  However, sadly, it is a problem for many others including my parents and other members of my own family.  As was discussed in a recent column, I have been told that it is “very dangerous” for my daughter to be sharing a room with her younger sister and it really angers me at the implication that she would sexually abuse her sister!  The girls are very close and get along wonderfully sharing a room.  My younger daughter is very shy about her body and won’t even permit me to see her nude, but she is still totally comfortable with her sister and she is the only one with whom she is comfortable seeing her nude. 

    Goodbye, and thank you Lauren, the Panel and all the others who have written in support!

    Charlotte

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