DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old who has already ruined her life. I stay up late, eat tons of junk food and yell at my sisters. It may not sound that bad, but on more than one occasion I have stayed up way past midnight.
I'm known as the one in the family who can drink a six-pack of soda at one sitting and eat can after can of tuna fish. My sisters are so worried about me, I've driven them to tears.
Every week I put on more weight. I've got acne and my teeth are horrible. Please help me, Abby. Nobody in my family understands what I'm going through. -- UNHAPPY WITH MYSELF IN SALT LAKE CITY
DEAR UNHAPPY: It sometimes takes a series of "baby steps" to change patterns that don't work for you. Self-improvement cannot be accomplished overnight, so please stop being so hard on yourself.
There is help for each of the problems you have described. The first step is to ask your parents to schedule an appointment for you with your pediatrician to discuss your nutrition and anger issues. Your doctor also can refer you to a dentist and a dermatologist. You would sleep better if you began a regular program of exercise.
P.S. A final thought: If your parents are unable to help, talk to a counselor at school when it resumes in the fall.
DEAR ABBY: I recently graduated from high school and will attend college in the fall. I will be rooming with my good friend, "Marla," whom I have known since second grade.
Marla's father has decided he won't buy her a computer (one of the school's admission requirements) or let her take her car to college. The reason? He expects me to allow Marla to use my computer when she needs it -- and to drive my car! Marla doesn't understand that this is unfair, and sees no problem with it.
Abby, I feel used, disrespected and hurt. I don't feel a friend would be so presumptuous. How can I set her straight? -- ANGRY IN ALABAMA
DEAR ANGRY: Have your parents call Marla's father and straighten him out regarding the computer and the car. Since the computer is an admission requirement, one must be provided for her. And as for your car -- no one should drive it who isn't listed as an "additional" driver on your insurance policy. Period.
P.S. Do not blame Marla. She is just trying to follow her father's "wishes."
DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman in need of your advice. About five years ago I met and fell in love with a wonderful man. You could call us high school sweethearts. We dated for a year and nine months.
We broke up when he went into the Air Force, but I'm still very much in love with him. We e-mail each other almost every day, but I haven't been able to bring myself to tell him how I feel. Perhaps your advice could help me make the right decision. -- SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH A MILITARY MAN
DEAR SECRETLY IN LOVE: Some secret! He already knows you care for him since you are e-mailing him almost daily. And it's a safe bet that he has similar feelings. Tell him how much his communications mean to you and sign the next message "Love." After that, the next move is his.
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