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Understanding Mom's point of view

I am sitting here thinking about what my mom just said to me and I am trying to figure out if what she said is true. I think I have a lot going for me, but from her point of view, I've "got everything it takes" to succeed in life! If this is true, why do I find myself feeling so frustrated at times? I want to believe her, but I can't just gloss over what I am feeling and pretend I never doubt or question myself. I think I will look at myself the way she described me today.

She said that I am a person with good values and morals. I wonder if anyone really knows how I feel when daily I run into people who want to push the limit with me. It is not easy saying NO at the right times. Sometimes I feel like giving in and just hanging with the crowd and doing what they do. Then when I remind myself why that wouldn't be a good idea, I stop myself. When I make the choice not to do what they do, I am often left out. I know I made the right choice, but I find myself being at home alone at times in my room. It seems being moral removes me from some of the fun out there. Anyway, I know I like not feeling guilty and hung over the next day, but I don't like not being a part of what they call fun. I wonder if it really is fun to them in the end?

Mom says that I am smart. Smart is definitely not always popular. Having an above-average IQ isn't all it is cracked up to be. During the school year I sit in class day after day and wonder why I am in school completing repetitive homework assignments that I already understand. I ask questions to keep me entertained. I enjoy watching the teachers either squirm because I have asked something they don't know or appear excited that someone is paying enough attention to have an intelligent thought. When I enjoy class the most, I am using my brain, but that doesn't always make me popular, just smart.

I have to agree with Mom that I am not bad-looking, but "look around," I want to say. The world is full of cooler-looking people. I look in the mirror and see zits on my face, braces and bad hair days. I see the weight that the scale screams out to me every time I am courageous enough to stand on it. I know I have good genes and that I could live to be 100 if I choose to exercise and not abuse my body. I don't always like having to work at keeping my face clean, brushing my teeth and exercising. I want looking good to be natural for me, like I feel it must be for the kids that look better than me. Maybe I don't want to see what they have to do to get and stay that way. I'd like to be an athlete and be popular because I am the star, but that takes a lot of dedication.

Mom says I am a good kid with everything it takes to make it in life. I want to believe her, but without having "everything" in life going for me, I let it get me down. I guess it is pretty normal to always want the qualities that other people have and I lack. I wonder if anyone wishes they could be like me? I wonder if anyone looks at me and says, "That kid has it all!" I think it would be cool if I ever heard anyone say that about me. I am not always able to say that to myself on a daily basis yet.

Maybe someday I will believe what Mom believes about me.

IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker, a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Tucker, who has been in counseling practice since 1979, writes this column under the guidance of a panel of teenage advisers, who approve the topics and offer their insights (in exchange for pizza). You may write her c/o: IT!, X-Press, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail