DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 21 years old. I want to have breast-reduction surgery, but my parents won’t let me. I’m only 5 feet, 2 inches tall and extremely top-heavy. My back is always sore, I have to wear two sports bras when I work out and my body is completely disproportionate. My parents say I can get the surgery when I’m older and make my own money, but I want it now. I’m so uncomfortable. I don’t care what I look like; I am in physical pain. I have tried explaining it to my parents, but they don’t understand, especially my flat-chested mom. Do you think I should schedule an appointment to hear a doctor’s point of view? -- Big-Chested Girl, Oklahoma City
DEAR BIG CHESTED GIRL: You seem to have a legitimate concern that is worth exploring with your doctor. Schedule an appointment for a consultation. Learn your doctor’s opinion on the subject. Find out how much a breast reduction costs and if it is covered by your insurance. Sometimes plastic surgery is covered when it is deemed of medical importance. If your doctor agrees with your assessment, ask him or her to talk to your parents with you. This may help them gain a better understanding of your circumstances. Depending on the cost, you may still have to wait, though.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a rising sophomore at my university, and I got cut from the soccer team at school. I’m so upset; I'm not looking forward to going back to school. All my friends are on the team, so when they have games and practices, I feel like I'm not going to have anyone to hang out with. I love playing sports. I’ve been playing soccer my entire life, and it’s always been the way for me to take my mind off things. Now I feel like I have nothing. I can’t believe I’m going to be going back this semester without the team. How am I supposed to do anything if soccer was all I had? -- Cut From the Team, Pikesville, Maryland
DEAR CUT FROM THE TEAM: It can be devastating to lose a big part of your identity, as you have. Your soccer experience is fully intertwined in the rest of your life, but you need to think of this challenging moment as a time to reconfigure your life. What else interests you? Figure out alternative extracurricular activities that can occupy your time. If you want to stick with soccer, join an intermural team or coach younger kids. You can still go to the soccer games, but I don’t recommend hanging around them all the time. Build new experiences to begin to feel happy and whole again. You may lose some of your soccer buddies. Know that your real friends will find a way to make time for you as you expand your vision and welcome other experiences and people into your life.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)