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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Tag: friends

Dec 23

The Real Hunger Games: Finding Peace in the Day to Day

Posted By iamincontrol | December 23, 2014

The Hunger Games came out last week and like most of you, I had to get my eyes on that silver screen for the midnight premiere. I had to see part one of the ending of the saga of the Mockingjay. The movie, of course, did not disappoint. Full of action, love, and twists the movie is a must see during this holiday season.

There were parts in the movie that made me think. I know there have been certain times in my life, when friendships and relationships shift and change. Sometimes, a friendship, that you thought you couldn’t live without, takes a nosedive and blows up right in your face.  It’s a fact of life that things will change and we have a choice to fight that change or let it naturally ride its course.

Within the Mockingjay Part 1, we hear Katniss say “I never wanted any of this. I just wanted to protect my sister and keep Peeta alive.” I know I have said that same thing about a friendship or relationship that has been in shambles.  President Snow says “The things we love the most, they destroy us” I know when I love someone so much and our relationship is on the rocks; it’s like I rent free space in my mind to this hostel tenant. It’s like overthinking will help restore that friendship. And one of the worst feelings is when you love someone more than they love you. In the case of Katniss, on the nights before the Hunger Games, she let her sister, Petta’s love, and Gale’s love consume her to a point where she was willing to stand up to the capital or eat poisonous berries to save those relationships.  

Much like Katniss, she allowed for others to be the source of her peace. And in return, the people found Katniss to be the source of their peace. Their Mockingjay. And while this allowed for the revolution to occur, it made Katniss lose everything. Getting thrown into the hunger games twice, love struggles with Gale, etc. You should NEVER allow someone else be the source of your peace. You are in peace when you think your friends are not mad at you. You are in peace when you get ten likes on your Instagram photo.  You are at peace when that special someone Kiks you back. That form of peace is worthless and will always disappoint. So shake off that type of peace and learn to find peace in other things. I know I find peace when I connect to my family, multiple different friends, go to the gym on a daily basis, and spend time doing “me” tasks (cooking, reading, watching my favorite TV show). So find your peace methods, because it’s a lasting peace.


Dec 18

Emojis: Working Through the Crap in Your Life

Posted By iamincontrol | December 18, 2014

HAND UP IF YOU LOVE EMOJIS!! No one loves emojis more than this guy. I use them to communicate in my texts more than I use words sometimes. The emoji is that added flare to my texts that portrays my emotions to a tee. Who knew that such a small picture could do that? I guess the age old saying, “a picture says a thousand words,” has never been truer than for the emojis.


When you look at the large array of emojis found in the keyboard. One may start to appreciate the large amount of feelings humans feel. This may overwhelm someone, cause someone to become devastated by the amount of sad feelings one can feel. And to be honest, it is overwhelming. As humans, we cry, laugh, smile, frown, feel, hurt, and become angered, feared, or excited. All these emotions seem to be working together for or against our daily lives.


But, one emotion that the emoji fails to encompass is hope. For instance, maybe you had hoped: Hoped that you would get that role in the play, hoped that you would start on the basketball team, or hoped that you would have had a boyfriend/girlfriend by your senior year of high school. And I know that when I am in a mess of emotions and disappointments and someone says “If one door closes, there’s always a window.” I want to find that window and push that person out of it. I don’t think it’s a good idea to blindly walk around with a smile thinking everything will go our way and not recognize our emotions.


But one thing that every person wants is hope. Hope that comes from betrayal, denial, and suckiness, now, that’s a hope that will last. A hope that recognizes that being human is feeling all the types of emojis and more, but still knowing that things will get better. So be hopeful, because hope is taking that emoji and shoving it into a situation until it shows beauty and goodness, until it gets better, and it will.


Dec 9

On this Holiday Season: Change Your Relationships with our Body

Posted By iamincontrol | December 9, 2014

It’s finally the holiday season—-YES!! Just give me that Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Cookies, and Candy Canes. I eat just as much as the next person. AND then, New Years Eve hits and say good-bye to the last two months of over indulgences. But recently, I’ve been on this new kick that I suggest we all move to. As you think about those news years’ resolutions, I know many will jump to create a resolution about their body or weight. And it is great to have goals.

            But rather than changing our weight, we need to start creating a relationship with our body. Our body has needs just like everything: it wants attention, nutrients, and exercise. We have to create a relationship with our body. One that treats it with respect by identifying what types of attention it needs. One that gives it foods that help it feel good like vegetables and proteins, rather than sugars and fats that make us feel lousy.  One that moves it to feel better. So this is my new years resolution: To listen to my body and treat it with respect.

Listen to what Gina has to say about this:

“As a kid I was always told I was “big boned.” In grade school, I towered over my peers year after year and even now nothing has really changed—except my weight. At any given point in my life I would have never consider myself “thin” or “skinny,” I was never built to be that way. However, in middle school I gained a lot of weight. Clinically, I was considered obese. Emotionally, I wasn’t happy. Even at such a young age, I realized that I needed to lose weight for my health and my well-being.

Over the course of the next year, I lost weight with the support of my mom and helpful weight-loss programs. I lost the weight slowly and began exercising and learning to eat right.  That was about 10 years ago, and my journey hasn’t ended. I’m still tall, and I’m still big boned, but I’m healthy—and I love my body. I’m still not “thin” or “skinny,” but I feed my body right and try my best to be physically active. All bodies are different; some are thin; some are tall; others are wide; and some are short. As humans we aren’t all made to look the same, but our body’s all deserve mutual respect. With all of the messages out there that are telling us how we need to look, it can be hard to focus on how our bodies make us feel. We will all have days when we aren’t feeling 100% confident in our own skin. But, what’s important is that we do our best to be healthy and treat our body’s right, no matter what the size. “

By Gina

Dec 4

A New Allergy

Posted By iamincontrol | December 4, 2014

What’s up with all these allergies? Gluten-free stuff? I mean they just seem to be popping up everywhere. I understand people have allergies and we don’t want people falling over, because they got some their allergen on them. But what about those of us who have a religious relationship with that allergen. What are we suppose to do? So because of that, I am starting a new allergy. I am officially allergic to bad decisions. One of the bad decisions that exist is consuming alcohol or over consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption can lead to a lot of different bad decisions that I am allergic to, drunk driving, non-consensual sex,  suspension from school activities, etc.


And when I was in high school and college, alcohol consumption sometimes seemed like the norm. Some students feel they need to keep up just to fit in. I don’t want to stand out; I want to blend in with everyone else. That’s how I felt until I realized that there were other things to do besides drinking, that drinking is not the norm. According to a recent study at the University of Iowa, the drinking rate has fallen by nearly twenty percent in the last five years. So, I was being pressured to think drinking was the norm, and being pressured to think that my alcohol consumption quantified my coolness. So I am starting this new allergy.


Soon some of you will be heading off to college and be faced with even more temptations of alcohol, listen to what one college student has to say:


“After a night of drinking, something needed to be done. It took me getting so far off track to realize that it is not who I am. I may live in a college town, but it’s actually not the norm at a college town. I am here for school and I need to be comfortable with myself. I am my own person and alcohol should never be the thing that defines me. For my success is not found on the fake norm of drinking, but rather the time I spend doing other things. Like, when I spend time with friends, find a new connection in a classroom, the feeling of working hard for an exam grade that comes back positive, or taking a leadership role in a school organization. Those are the moments you go to college for. “ –Jake


So if you could not offend my new allergy, that’d be great.



Nov 25

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Posted By iamincontrol | November 25, 2014

teenage friends
By Molly

You will find out who your true friends are when you are in high school. The friends that back you up and are on your side no matter what, those are your true friends. I struggled with finding my true friends. I went through the phase of wanting to hang out with all the popular girls from my class.  I soon became a part of their clique and all I worried about was what my plans were for the weekend. I began to be rude to my parents and flat out mean to anyone that tried to talk to me that wasn’t part of my ‘clique’. My three best friends that I grew up with noticed the change and didn’t like it. They told me that I was turning into a stuck up that would do anything to please my new friends.

I soon began to notice that my ‘new friends’ were actually rude to everyone. They didn’t care about the other people. They wanted to make fun of them and gossip. This showed me that I was better than that and that I should be nice to everyone. I stopped hanging out with them, and my parents and friends noticed me going back to how I was. You realize that your true friends will bring out the best in you. They will still support you no matter what decisions you make throughout your life.

You are in control of finding the right friends for you.

Nov 4

Putting Friends First

Posted By iamincontrol | November 4, 2014

teenage friends
The results are in! 

Last month we asked you guys:

Do you ever spend too much time with your boyfriend/girlfriend and forget to spend time with your friends?

You guys said:

  • Yeah. I want to spend as much time with my boyfriend/girlfriend as possible. (50%)
  • Sometimes that happens, but I try to make it up to my friends later. (33%)
  • Never!  My friends always come first. (16%)

It’s easy to get caught up in a relationship.  It’s exciting, and you might want to spend every waking hour with this person.  But remember that your friends and family are the ones who will be there for you if anything ever goes wrong.  Read how Hannah learned that below.

Read More

Oct 9

Changing Friend Groups

Posted By iamincontrol | October 9, 2014

teenage friends
By Anonymous

When I was in high school, I had a good group of friends my freshman and sophomore year. We would do everything together and would always hang out on the weekends. However, once we hit junior year, some of my friends started drinking, experimenting with drugs, and hanging around older guys. I did not want to do this because it wasn’t an interest for me, and it went against my morals. When my friends started doing these things, they would encourage me to do the activities as well. At first I would just go along with them to the parties and kind of be the person who would look after them and be a sober driver. After a while though, I got so tired of doing this and was not having any fun going out. I felt like my friends had changed. They slowly stopped calling me because I did not want to engage in drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I felt very hurt, lonely, and just lost. I felt like I had lost all of my good friends.

My mom noticed that I wasn’t hanging out with the same girls anymore and encouraged me to meet other girls by getting more involved in clubs at school. I took her advice and joined the choir at school. I met many great people through the choir, and I ended up being best friends with some of the girls I met. I also reached out to other people at my school who I had never talked to. I had more friends than I had before, and I was a lot happier. I felt renewed and felt like a better person overall. Even though losing some of my good friends from earlier in high school was hard, it made me a lot stronger. I realized that they were not the right friends for me. The friends I made in my junior and senior year are still some of my best friends to this day, and I am very glad that I met all of them! They made my life so much better.

Aug 7

Avoiding Alcohol

Posted By iamincontrol | August 7, 2014

avoiding alcohol
By Anonymous

I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I think it was in 8th grade – the day that alcohol joined my friend group. I remember feeling shocked when I first found out that some of my friends had started to drink. At first it wasn’t very many of them, and we were able to maintain our friendships despite our differences. Then we got to high school, and everything went downhill quickly.

My friends started slipping under the control of alcohol. By the time we were sophomores, the majority of my friends, both guys and girls, were drinking almost every weekend. I didn’t approve of their choices, but I tried to maintain the friendships. However, it was really difficult to do that when I couldn’t hang out with them on the weekends, unless I wanted to drink. Slowly, they began to dislike me because I wouldn’t succumb to their peer pressure. I was different, and we all knew it.

By the end of my sophomore year, I was isolated from the group. I spent the remainder of my high school weekends with a much smaller group of friends going to dinner, movies, shopping, or having bonfires or sleepovers. They were all activities that were free from drinking, and we still had tons of fun!

Read More

Jul 17

A Girl’s Best Friend

Posted By iamincontrol | July 17, 2014

Girl and dog
By Jenny

A dog is a girl’s best friend. We adopted Otis when I was 9 years old. I remember like it was yesterday. He was a small, baby pug. When I got him, he was 4 pounds and 6 weeks old (way too early to be away from his mother) and needed a lot of attention.

I did anything and everything for Otis, including rocking him to sleep at night and taking him for walks in a stroller. He was a spoiled but bad dog. Otis would chew all the furniture, steal your socks, and loved eating pig ears even though he would make a mess all over the house. Even though he was naughty, Otis was like my best friend. He was there when I had no one else to talk to. He also was the best listener, as I did not know who else to turn to through my awkward preteen years.

Otis grew up to be a big boy weighing almost 30 pounds. However, this turned out to be a problem and he developed an intestine dysfunction. One day he needed emergency surgery, and he did not make it out of surgery.

That day, I thought the world was over. For 7 years, I had always had Otis. Now I didn’t. Dogs are great best friends. However, just like humans, they pass with time. Through this I learned to cherish the time you have with your best friends, as you never know when your last time to tell them you love them may be.

I thought this video described my life with Otis perfectly. He was always there just like Maddie in the video.

Jul 10


Posted By iamincontrol | July 10, 2014

Teenage girl
By Natalie

During my high school experience, I went through a lot of emotional issues that made me the strong person I am today. I specifically had a very hard time with bullying and aggression from girls I had once called my friends. It got so bad that things were thrown at me in school. I had Facebook pages created about me, and no one wanted to be my friend. This all spewed from a simple argument between my close group of friends (girls I had been friends with since elementary school) that spiraled out of control. I finally had enough. I became very depressed and refused to return to my high school.

I spent a year in and out of hospitals and treatment centers for my depression and emotional issues. Although this experience was extremely traumatic and life changing, it also impacted my life in a very positive way in the end. From this, I learned to be extremely forgiving and realize that some people just don’t know how to treat others. You cannot blame yourself for that. I also learned that no matter how hard a situation may be for you, there is always someone who has it worse. You have to remember that.

I have slowly become a much more mature and strong person from the events that happened throughout my time as a high school student. I am now the happiest I have ever been, and in a sense I am thankful that I went through such a hard time in high school. It taught me what a true friend is and what it means to be a true friend to someone else.

Visit the resources below for help and more information on bullying and depression:

Your Life Iowa
Love Is Louder
It Gets Better

Also, check out these other IAMincontrol posts on bullying and depression:

Overcoming Bullying & Depression
Battling Depression
Unexpected Motivation