Today We Will Be Answering Your Burning Questions!

Today We Will Be Answering Your Burning Questions!

Joanna Flores

May I say, thank you for being honest and open! I did my best to be unbiased and general to apply to all similar situations. Hope you enjoy! Sit back and digest some free advice! 

(Disclaimer: I am not a therapist nor medical practitioner withthe ability to diagnose, nor do I have the final say in assessing your situation. My advice is based on personal experience and thus, I take full responsibility if any of my words offend or hurt you. Please feel free to comment or email me back with any questions or commentary!)

1. “What is your all-time favorite class at Village School?”

When I think about my all-time favorite class, one specifically comes to mind for the growth and accomplishments I made in this class. My top one– and I can’t believe I’m saying this– would have to be the English elective, “Public Speaking” (ahh I know, I have social anxiety, and combining that with public speaking sounds crazy, right?!) To be honest, it was the class that made me cry, sweat, and feel most anxious above all other classes I’ve taken at Village. I knew I was an introvert but still had this inner drive to learn how to communicate better and verbalize my values for any future speeches and presentations I’d make in college and beyond. Plus, Lauren didn’t force us or make us do anything that we weren’t comfortable with. But, I can’t leave my response at that. There have been special moments in every class and with every teacher. Sometimes small or subtle, it’s important to base each class not just on the academic component, but also on the emotional effect it has on you. Maybe the curriculum wasn’t easy, but the teacher or classmates were amazing and helped you through your darkest times. But no matter what, your attitude and personality will probably reflect in which classes you like best!

2. “Maybe it’s anxiety, maybe it’s a justified discomfort of being out in school, because some kid said it’s okay to make fun of trans people *maybelline jingle*”

Well… I think your mind and sense of humor already know the answer! Sometimes –and especially in this situation– your body is uncomfortable because any LGBTQ+ related comment, whether good or bad, is nonetheless a sensitive thing to hear because at our ages, many of us are still questioning ourselves and we are all aware of the negative attention the LGBTQ+ group so often receives. I think those who look down on these groups or “make fun” of them has much more to do with a lack of understanding of sexuality and gender and/or just an unwillingness to want to learn about it. As human beings, no matter who you talk to, we can tend to be a bit stubborn and may not feel the need to learn about or question something and instead stick with our predisposed ideas. That’s why, personally, no matter the argument or attack of my values, I try to take a step back and ask the individual why they think the way they do– I put it back on them. If they walk away or give you a superficial response, then I know it’s less about me and more about them– maybe their beliefs come from what their family and friends say, or an opinion they based on a certain experience. Regardless, this does not mean it is okay for students here at Village (or anywhere) to “make fun of trans people” and it’s something we should address here at Village. That being said, you’re amazing for seeing the humor in the serious, and I promise you that will take you far (hopefully that doesn’t sound cliche)! Side note: I love the Maybelline jingle you added! Now it’s stuck in my head!

3. “I’d like to know from another person’s perspective how they cope with stress and anxiety, and if it’s similar to what I do, and if it’s not, maybe I could try out what they do. So if you’re comfortable with sharing, what are some things you do? I’m also curious to know what staff member has been at Village the longest.”

First, and foremost the teacher who has been here the longest would have to be Steve who has been here for 25 years! Steve began as an English teacher and still teaches an English or music class every now and then.

Now, in terms of stress and anxiety, I personally have never had a “quick fix” or “magic pill” to fully erase it all. I think the support you have right now matters more because as a teenager we don’t have the final say in what treatment plans we end up in. And what I mean by support is an adult figure with whom you have the same values and similar experiences who you feel is on your side. But whether or not you have this adult mentor in your life, I think the next step would be educating yourself and finding the most clear identification of the symptoms you’re feeling as it links to diagnoses. Seeking better opportunities for yourself will come when you can clearly communicate your situation and advocate for yourself. This is hard at first, but later gets easier the more you meet therapists or adults and explain what you’re going through.

Although stress and anxiety are mental and emotional issues, we all know the toll these things can take on the body, so finding other adrenaline-inducing activities or sports (as simple as going for a brisk walk!) to participate in can help you flood your brain with endorphins, the “feel good neurotransmitters,” and in addition, will force you to redirect energy spent ruminating to the physical activity instead. Through trial and error, I found that volunteering and hitting the gym was key to getting out of my head and forgetting that school existed in the first place. I think the more you get out into the world and learn that there are so many places where you will can feel accepted, comfortable, and can constantly learn can reduce the power that school stress, for example, has over you.

Now, I know anxiety is such a complicated thing. Part of it is your body feeling unprepared for the unknown and giving out the fight or flight signal. To be honest, I’ve run many times in my life, but that was in the beginning stages when I wasn’t aware nor knew how to cope. Now– and I mean after 5 years of struggling with anxiety– I’m able to balance that energy and during an uncomfortable situation, consciously ask myself if it is worth staying. Sometimes your body, and more specifically, your gut are worth listening to after you’ve logically assessed the situation. And if it is a situation that I cannot leave, (like, when I’m in a class), I have a bunch of coping tools at my disposal. On a final note, I hope you enjoy every single second of your life. A tough class, or a tough hour in your day doesn’t mean the entire day needs to spiral into despair. I think of it like this: time is like money– if you have 10,000 dollars in your bank account and someone stole 10 dollars of it, is the rest now considered worthless? Would you just throw up your hands and give up the rest? No, so don’t do that with your time, your day, your life either.

If you want to know more about my life specifically or need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, I’m all yours and you can always send me an email and chat!