Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Depression:
“I hurt myself to see if I am still alive.”

Hey Terra,

Why don't guys wanna date me?

They usually want to have sex with me or make out with me, but when they realize I have feelings for them, they run away from me. I really don't know what's going on. Then I make myself think I'm ugly and then I hurt myself to see if I am still alive, because no one could ignore me if I am alive. Now I have these scars on my arms but the most noticeable one is one that says "love me II."

Well, do you have any advice? My friend says you're good at that.

Cut Above

Dear Cut Above,

You are NOT the problem, so don't think boys who "run away" are running away from you. They are running away from the emotions that come up in relationships.

You see, making out and having sex don't require real emotional expression. For most teen guys, having sex is what they want from girls (not just you) because it feels good and because it's so straightforward and easy. No expectations. No emotional demands. But when a girl shows that she wants more--like a real relationship with a guy where the two of them actually spend time together talking and getting close (without the sex)--then guys run.

I feel sad for these boys. Unlike girls who have close relationships with their friends where they spend a lot of time talking about feelings, guys don't usually have those kind of relationships with their friends. And they don't have those kind of relationships with their dads (who are the boy's role model for what a "real man" is supposed to be). It's not that boys don't have the same feelings that girls have... They do! We're all human beings and we've got lots of emotions that needs to be expressed frequently. The problem with most teen boys is that they have so little practice expressing their feelings (except for anger, they're great with that!) that they are, as we say, "emotionally illiterate."

That's why they run from girls who care about them. They run because caring makes them feel vulnerable. And in the guy culture, "vulnerable" is the complete opposite of "manly", so they get zero support for expressing fear, sadness, tenderness, etc.

Did you know that the suicide rate for teen boys is 2.5 times greater than it is for teen girls? Boys are feeling all kinds of things that they don't know how to express. The feelings get bottled up and they feel trapped. Very unhealthy.

Now you can see a little more clearly that you have made a HUGE mistake. All this time you have thought that boys were running from you because there was something wrong with you. And then you took that lie and believed it. Then you decided to hurt yourself because of that lie. (I know it's a lie because, the truth is there's NOTHING wrong with you. You're a great girl! Kind, loving, a good friend.)

So, you've got to stop cutting yourself. You deserve to treat your body with more love than that! Have you told anyone that you've been doing this?

Write back and we'll talk some more. By the way, what do you think about what I've said so far?

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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