DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old female and I can't find a job. My mom is cheating on my stepdad. I feel like I have to be as independent as possible right now, otherwise I won't be able to do things.
I need to raise money for a camera. Photography is my passion. It's all I want in life. It's the only thing I'll ever love, besides my grandma, who is 72 with dementia.
Please help. I'm in a very big pickle. Is there any point to living? How do I get a job at 13? How do I confront my mother? Why can't my grandma be cured? Why is my life the worst thing about me? Please help me. -- ANONYMOUS TEEN IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR TEEN: You're very young and it's clear you are experiencing a lot of turmoil. But right now, you already have a job, and it's to concentrate on your studies. The better your grades are, the stronger your chances will be of completing your education and becoming an independent adult. Good grades will better your chances of qualifying for financial aid to accomplish that goal.
What may seem overwhelming right now -- including your sadness about your grandmother's illness -- can be overcome by staying physically active. I'm sorry you're experiencing all this at such a tender age, but it would be good for both of you if you give her as much love, patience and understanding as you can. Although there may be no cure for her illness right now, the worldwide scientific community is searching for an answer.
If you have the courage, talk to your mother privately about your concerns because you may be mistaken about her cheating. It would be healthier than bottling up your feelings as you have been doing.
P.S. For extra money, consider dog-walking, baby-sitting and odd jobs such as doing yard work for neighbors.