Teenage Kicks

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Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano thinking deep thoughts like ‘do I look aloof’ and ‘is my backstreet boys hairdo cool or what’

Those were the days right? hanging around your locker, trying to look miserable, wearing plaid and overdoing it on the Henna all in the hope that a spotty member of the opposite sex would swap saliva with you. Wrong!!! being a teenager is a bloody minefield. Hormones, heavy petting {yea we went there}, hideous hair and horrible teachers.

Having said all that we still look back fondly on our teenage years. Christ being an adult brings with it its own challenges – hellish hangovers, tax bills, clampers, saggy boobs, adult acne, responsibilities, burst tyres, food shops, psycho landlords, smelly flatmates, bereavement and mean bosses.

We know it’s easier said than done but whether you are a miserable cow like Angela or a perky priss like Cher we think it’s best to enjoy these years as much as you can and get some teenage kicks!

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Juno gets distracted

We visit Secondary Schools around Dublin to speak to Transition Year students and during that time we usually end up learning more than they do! Needless to say we get asked a myriad of questions – from what eyeshadow makes green eyes pop (aren’t green eyes beautiful enough?), is it ever OK to wear hotpants in the winter? (NO), when should we have sex? (eh jaysus if you are asking us that then you definitely aren’t ready), why can’t we live in Summer Bay? (just a TV show) and have we ever met Kim Kardashian? (NO NO NO).

So as Carrie would say, it got us to thinking and here are the top 8 Questions we get asked. ADVISORY *we are not child psychologists, veterinary nurses or astronauts, we do our very best to answer questions honestly, fairly and with no judgement and in certain cases we make sure these teenagers have the expert contacts they need*

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As a result of our experiences as teachers we have now devised a course and a television series. That’s where these funny stick-men pictures come from.

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OK here we go….. Number 1 – Weighty Issues – We get asked whether bulimia will help to shift those excess pounds in a short space of time, for the Debs like (we know) and what is obesity and how do we stay fit and healthy.

Well firstly we usually say eat a balanced diet, vegetables at every main meal are essential, not a nice addition, essential. Eat junk in absolute moderation, maybe pick an evening at the weekend to get a takeaway and don’t deprive yourself as you will crave that treat even more if you do, but likewise if you are a chocoholic or partial to eating half a loaf of bread in a single sitting then MOVE MORE. Simple, they say it’s up to 70% what you put into your body and 30% what you do afterwards. Get off your ass and stop ditching P.E, get out and try to do up to 35 minutes of exercise a day, a fast walk counts. Joining a club or sports team also helps as training with others makes it more fun and less of a chore and you might even make lifelong friends. It will also help you to shift any extra puppy fat, help moderate your mood swings and keep you motivated. When it is miserable outside then stick on a raincoat and run like the wind, there is no better feeling in the world than running through rain – very exhilarating and you will also be less likely to throw Lego at your brother when you get home. Or download a fitness video where you and your friends and even your mum can laugh your way through a fitness class with some Z-list celeb.

Or if you feel like you are starting to slip into dangerous habits like avoiding meals or making yourself sick please revert to the wonderful people in Bodywhys they know everything there is to know about eating disorders and will give you the expert support you need. Orla Walsh Nutrition is also a star, she is excellent at designing a good food plan for active or inactive teens. Taking laxatives will damage your insides beyond repair and with any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, it’s the long-term, not the immediate risks that are the concern. Renal failure is something nobody wants to experience, as for osteoporosis, that’s another horrific infliction.

The stats on Obesity here are that Obese young people are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes and Children who are Obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Shockingly one in five Irish teenagers is overweight or obese with two out of five Irish adults overweight.

Let’s stop this epidemic now.

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Number 2 – Everything Sucks – Cyberbullying, isolation, depression….. With Facebook, Snapchat (isn’t that just for premier league footballers so they can send willy shots to girls they meet in nightclubs?) Twitter, Instagram the list is endless, there are now so many ways people can be targets. Trolls are just absolute tits (another post on this subject) Our advice is to be careful who you befriend, don’t accept friend requests from strangers or known assholes, tell someone the minute someone starts to make you feel uncomfortable online – this is for your own safety. Other happiness rules are to stay away from bitchy people, and don’t engage in bitching yourself, don’t let yourself be photographed in ways your dad and mum wouldn’t be proud of and please seek help if you are feeling painfully low each day and/or considering self harm – these feelings are often temporary and CAN be treated through family support, counselling and in some cases medication. Blame the pesky chemicals in your body and their bad behaviour or your mad aunt Betty – genetics don’t help. There are so many wonderful services nowadays – Mental Health Ireland and ISPCC or Headstrong. As a teenager you do tend to be quite self-obsessed and introspective and sometimes taking yourself out of the equation for a while and doing something for a sibling, neighbour, your parents or a local charity – without wanting anything in return – can improve your mood. There’s nothing more rewarding than making someone else feel good about themselves. Read a book, not enough young people in Ireland read and it is the greatest way to spend your spare time, it is food for the brain. But again exercise is the best way to increase your serotonin levels! Or go to the cinema or a gig alone! it is a dream, no yapping and just sensory bliss.

9 times out of 10 nothing is ever THAT bad.

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Number 3 – Too much Too Soon – sex, drugs and rock n’roll.  Spunout.ie is a very good youth site where questions can be answered in an honest and non-judgemental forum. But generally with sex if you don’t feel ready then you bloody aren’t. You will know when things feel right. In Ireland, the age of consent has been 17 years of age since the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935. In 2013, ministers discussed plans to lower the age of consent from 17 to 16, but came to no decision.

Also just because everybody in your class is putting anything they can into their orifices it doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t be a sheep, be a Lama? Being uniquely you is awesome – look at the models in Vogue (odd as hell) the biggest pop star around (a talented flame-haired geek called Ed) the best actors (Beneditch Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rebel Wilson – they are not all Abercrombie Models) being perfect is bullshit and not reality.

And as far as boys are concerned they are basic beings (not in the Kate Moss way) but if they don’t text or ring or turn up on your doorstep then THEY JUST AREN’T THAT INTO YOU and you are wasting your tears when there are plenty of other other boys that will be crazy about you. OR they are too busy at home scratching their balls and playing Playstation with their friends to notice your crazy texts. Jesus play it cool whatever you do. We had plenty of dating dilemmas and have learnt a lot.

Also if you think you might be gay and people are calling you faggot etc then they must have been hiding under a rock when our Marriage Referendum was passed on the 22nd of May! By a majority we might add.

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Number 4 – What TO wear –  We usually say THERE ARE NO fashion rules and to have fun, dress for yourself and enjoy your clothes. However leggings are not trousers and onesies are for sleepovers and wearing the wrong bra size, no knickers, ill-fitting clothes and crocs is just unforgivable and should be punishable.

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Jokes aside we all have a specific body shape and here are some guidelines to dressing for your particular type.

The types:

Pear – wider on the bottom than top half  – best bits are shoulders, torso and tummy and your goal would be to emphasise your waist and arms and minimise hips. Probably best not to wear cargo pants or skinny jeans or print skirts. Similar to Kim K, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Lopez.
Rectangle – arms and legs are your best parts – your goal is to create curves. Slim and athletic so you should layer to add more dimension and always wear a good bra to make the most of what you have and don’t overwhelm your body with baggy clothes. Similar to Mila Kunis, Kate Moss,Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson.
Apple your weight is accumulated above your hips. Your best asset is your legs – your goal is to elongate your torso – do wear shorter skirts, and try to conceal the tummy if you can. Similar to Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria and Penelope Cruz.
Hourglass  – your shoulders and hips are similar with a tiny waist – your best part is your curves – don’t wear baggy clothes and do show off what your mama gave you. Similar to Beyoncé, Salma Hayek, Shakira and Scarlett Johansson.

In an upcoming post we’ll go through our own body shapes. I know, I bet you can hardly contain your excitement.

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Number 5 – I hate you mum – Communication breakdown. Trust us we know you think your mum is a total vaj and your dad a boring old fart, but try and learn compassion from a young age. Empathy is a very attractive trait.  You don’t know the miseries your mum may be going through at work or with your dad and your dad may be dealing with massive financial stress and have a poor golf swing – this can set them back years. Try and be kind and yelling I HATE YOU solves nothing. It just makes everybody feel even shittier and as for slamming the front door – that is pretty Kevin and Perryesque (look it up) it’s probably best to explain how you feel, We always say being defensive and aggressive or starting a conversation with YOU DID THIS OR THAT doesn’t help – open up, failing that discuss these issues with a friends mum or an aunt. But remember to appreciate your parents because one day you’ll need them. They mend hearts, carry boxes into your first flat, foot the free bar bill at your wedding, mind your colicky baby and defend you when nobody else will. They love you unconditionally. But if something more sinister is at play within the home then please contact the Gardai or ISPCC or Barnardos.

Kelis lets rip!

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Number 6 – When I’m big I want to be….. College options, points stress etc – chances are at 17 you won’t know what you want to be when you are 40 and that’s OK, chill the hell out. Life unfolds in strange ways and even if Mrs Donnell’s tache or Mr Johnson’s bald patch seem like more important topics of discussion during class try to focus and give yourself the best possible chance by doing the best you can and if you still don’t get the points you need for Gynaecology or bread-making or whatever it is that you wanted to study then go about it a different way – it’s not the end of the world, Brad and Jen divorcing, now that was the end of the world. Repeat your Leaving Cert, do a diploma first, or a certificate, do a degree that was further down on your list – Arts is a great foundation to work from OR failing that just piss off and pick strawberries in a field in France, join the army, do a ski season, do the charitable thing with a reputable organisation, save some turtles, do a TEFL course and work in Argentina, work in a PR firm in New York (baptism of fire), write for your local paper, learn first aid, get a FETAC qualification, learn how to make your own clothes, learn to cook, mind children and earn your keep, join Tidy Towns-  you’ll soon discover you make your own luck and hard work is eventually rewarded oh and receiving your first pay cheque is the best feeling on earth, you’ll also discover life ain’t a pop video – unless you are Justin Bieber and then all you need is Jesus and YouTube. It’s funny how much your ‘career path’ will change over the years and how the things you thought you were destined to do sometimes aren’t what you end up doing. But whatever you do, enjoy finding out what it is you are meant to be. World. Is. Your. Oyster. and all that.

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Corina and Rebecca at their Graduation with the lads.

Also Richard Branson wasn’t very academic and Oprah Winfrey had a horrific start (just sayin, they did grand).

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Number 7 – I am number 1 – confidence, self-belief – usually confidence comes with age and experience and doing something you love well, so find a passion. But more importantly treat others as you’d like to be treated, don’t bitch unless someone is truly heinous, never envy, don’t hold onto anger, walk tall, take a drama class if you are suffering from crippling low confidence (making duck noises with seven other thesps for 40 minutes every Saturday morning will knock the shyness out of you) and if you are too confident take a yoga class, chill out and eat some humble pie and realise nobody likes the cocky know-it-all in the group. Also not everyone is talking shit about you. Most people are far too obsessed with themselves to even bother, so get busy DOING instead of worrying.

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And Number 8 – Spot the teen – acne and eczema. Our lumpy friends  – Whatever you do, do not pick and if you do squeeze then use a clean piece of cotton wool and squeeze gently so you don’t leave a scar. Put disinfectant on it afterwards. If you get breakouts and need to cover them up then don’t go cheap, avoid heavy, oily cakey makeup. Opt for dermatologically tested brands including Clinique for concealer or Armani, L’Oreal or Chanel for foundation. Don’t pack the make up on. It looks worse.

You are what you eat so start by putting the right things in, a deep-fried banana equals skin that looks like a deep-fried banana, if you are feeling miserable as a result of constant breakouts you may need a medically prescribed face wash or antibiotic or to go on the pill or in extreme cases to go on a course of Roaccutane  – which can only be prescribed by a specialist. Which can have side-effects, can be costly and needs to be taken responsibly but which can dramatically improve acne long-term. With mild eczema you can try homeopathic care  – coconut oil can ease the itch or Silcocks base or Cream E45 but often medication is your best bet.

That’s it folks! Oh and very importantly remember once you leave the kissing phase you can never go back to just kissing and kissing is the most wonderful thing in the world.

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The My So Called Life Massive
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Clueless Massive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Life – 8 Questions every teen asks (C)

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