Friday, November 20, 2009

Safety on the Internet: A Guide for Teens

The Internet has opened up a whole new world for people of all ages. You can shop, plan a vacation, send a picture to a relative, talk with friends, and even do research for your class project. Most people agree that since the Internet has been around, it has changed our lives for the better. But unfortunately this new way of finding information and communicating comes with risks. For example, when you visit an unfamiliar neighborhood or go to a party, you think of ways to stay safe. You also need to use similar guidelines when you're using the Internet. This information guide was created to help you find reliable information, make you aware of the possible dangers when communicating on-line, and give you tips to keep you safe!

What is a web address?
If you want to start using the Internet, you will most likely use a web browser called Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. There are four major kinds of web addresses. To get to a "web site", you need a "web address". The endings give a clue as to what type of web address it is. Try to see if you can figure out what the last three letters of the web address stand for. For example:
  • Web addresses that end in .gov are government web sites. Check out one of our government's websites at:
  • Web addresses that end in .edu are websites that are connected guessed it! -"educational institutions" like schools and colleges. Now you're getting the hang of it! Check out a college web site at:
  • Web addresses that end in .org are usually, but not always connected with an organization. Check out This is our web site! Pretty cool, huh?
  • Web addresses that end in .com are connected with a commercial site or a company that is selling something. Check out, which is Nickelodeon's site. Bet it makes a little more sense now.
Can I trust everything that I read on the Internet?
The answer is NO! Being able to tell if something on the Internet is reliable, accurate, true or real is tough for adults and even harder for teens. There's lots of information out there. Some of it is good information but some of it is just plain bad and not true. Everyone, even adults, must first question any information they read on the Internet until they can figure out if the information is true or false. For example, there are some individuals or groups that may try to sell a product on-line, so they may use false statements to try to get people to agree with them. So you're probably wondering, how can I tell what information is okay and what isn't okay? Here are some general tips on how to tell if the web site and information is reliable:
  • Web sites that end in .gov are generally reliable because they are connected with our government.
  • Look for the name of the organization and the author of the web site and when the information was updated. Reliable web sites often have a list of references or contacts where you can find out where the information originally came from.
  • If you are looking for facts, check out a few different web sites to compare information. If you are in doubt, double check facts at the library. This way you will know which web sites give you correct information.
  • Ask your teachers about reliable web sites to go to for homework help. Once you find a reliable web site, you can bookmark it so you can easily find it later.
  • Ask your health care provider about web sites to go to for reliable health information. When you get a recommendation from a professional, it most likely will be a respected web site with reliable information.
  • Reliable web sites usually have reliable links — so when you get lucky and find a great web site, you most likely will get to know other good sites too.
What should I do when I want to begin using the Internet?
When you want to begin using the Internet to find information or to chat with or e-mail your friends, it is important that you talk to your parents first. Even if your parents don't know much about computers or the Internet, they can help you think about ways to stay safe. You can work together and agree on rules for using the Internet, such as whether it is okay to go on-line and when, what kind of Internet sites you can go to, and how to set up an e-mail account. You and your parents can set up filters, which means that some sites that contain inappropriate things like hateful or violent messages won't open on your computer.

Does it matter what on-line name I choose for myself?
Yes! You should NEVER use your real name as your on-line name. You may already know this but it is a common mistake that teens and adults make. By using your real name, anyone knows immediately who you are and with a little bit of work, they could probably find out even more about you. This is especially true in chat rooms where you can get comfortable chatting with someone and suddenly realize they know your name, age, where you live, and where you go to school.

What kind of on-line name should I choose?
You probably want your name to describe who you are but again you need to be careful about the name and words you choose. Remember when you're talking on-line to people you don't know well, some people may unfairly judge you by your on-line name. For example, if you choose a name like: hotbabe13, people will get the wrong impression of you and you most likely will get unwanted e-mails from people who are just responding to your on-line name and not to who you really are. If you can't think of an on-line name to use without describing something about yourself, try using the name of a candy bar, color, or something else that's not personal. If the name is already taken, you can try adding a few numbers, for example — Green123.

What is a profile?
When you create an on-line name or e-mail account, you can usually set up a profile to identify yourself. Talk to your parents first about whether or not you should fill out this information. A profile will ask you for information about yourself like your name, address, and hobbies. Remember that your profile is the fastest way for anyone to find out more about you. It is never a good idea to use your last name or address!

What do I do if I accidentally get to an inappropriate Web site?
If you find that you are at a site that you know is inappropriate, click the "Back" button on the top of the screen. This will bring you back to the original web site that you were viewing. If you get "pop-ups" (usually small windows with unwanted advertisements), just keep closing the windows by clicking the X button until you are back on the original screen that you were looking at. You should tell your parents what the web address was so that they can block the site from your computer. Many web browsers track web activity and create an Internet history. So, remember that your parents may be able to check what web sites you have recently looked at, and remind you not to go to any sites that are inappropriate.

What is IMing, and is it safe?
IMing is short for "Instant Messaging" which is a super fast way to e-mail someone from your computer or certain kinds of digital cell phones. IMing has its own language made up of short abbreviated words such as brb for "be right back" and lol for "laughing out loud." In order for IMing to work, you and the people you plan to IM must download the software first. The software allows you to set up an address or buddy list of the people you want to IM. Since IMing isn't as private as you might think, it's important to know how to stay safe and have fun too:
  • Always ask your parents permission first, before you download IM or other software!
  • Do not respond to IM's from people you don't know or IM's that look strange. It is possible to get unwanted IM's and similar to E-mails, IM's can contain viruses.
  • Don't forget to sign off of Instant Messenger when you are finished- and change your password regularly. This will prevent others from using your IM account.
  • If you receive an IM that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not respond to it. It's best to tell your parents about it too.
What is a chat room and are they safe?
Some Internet services allow you to talk with other people in a chat room, a place that you can go to and talk to more than one person at a time. Chat rooms are often organized around topics such as sports, hobbies, fan clubs. There are so many different kinds of chat rooms that it's possible to talk to people all around the world, 24 hours a day.

Before you enter a chat, be sure you have your parent's permission to do so!

Some chat rooms are considered to be safe because the topic that is being discussed is safe and because there is a moderator or chaperone who is leading the discussion. But just because a chat room has a neutral topic it doesn't guarantee that some people in the chats won't talk about other things that might make you feel uncomfortable.

Can the chat moderator make sure nothing bad happens in the chat room?
A chat moderator supervises a chat and watches over things. A moderator can kick someone out of a chat if they write something inappropriate, but the moderator can't prevent you from going to a private chat area with someone who might harm or threaten you. If you have permission to go to a chat, be careful to check out the topic of the chat. Your parents can check out the chat room first to see if it contains inappropriate conversation. Some people who go into chats may want to imagine that you are someone you are not or play out their fantasy by saying inappropriate things to you. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or starts asking you inappropriate questions, leave the chat immediately.

What should I know about downloading information?
It's possible to download all sorts of information, programs, and music from the Internet. After you have your parent's permission to download something, be sure that you know exactly what you are downloading, and whom the download is from, before you do it. If you don't know who is sending you the information, don't download it because it might have a virus, which can damage the computer's memory or hard drive.
  • If you accidentally begin downloading something, push the "Stop" button at the top of your screen. This will stop the download from completing and will cancel the process.
  • Make sure you have an updated version of virus protection software on your computer!
What is proper Internet etiquette?
Netiquette is the word used to describe Internet etiquette (manners), or the way that you should behave while on-line. It is important to always be considerate of others and never use bad language. Only say things on-line that you would say face-to-face with a person. Some Internet Service Providers can monitor what you say to others. If you use inappropriate language, your Internet provider may send a warning to the head of your Internet account, which usually is a parent. You could have your Internet privileges stopped by your Internet provider or your parents!

Is it okay to share my password with my best friend?
No. You should not share your password with any of your friends, even your best friend. The only people who should know your Internet or e-mail password are your parents and you! Your password is private. If you let someone else know what your password is — whether it is a total stranger or even your best friend — then they can read anything that you may want to keep private. Another person could use bad language or go to inappropriate sites under your name. You are required to enter a password for a reason — to keep yourself safe!

Is there anything that I shouldn't tell someone on the Internet?
Yes! Just like you wouldn't walk up to a stranger and tell them your name, where you live, where you go to school or give them your phone number, you shouldn't share this kind of information on-line either. It is very important that you don't e-mail or instant message anyone that you don't know or share any information that can identify you. Don't put your picture on the Internet unless you are e-mailing a friend or family member. If you are talking to a stranger, you have to be really careful because there are adults who take advantage of young people.
  • Don't give out credit card information over the Internet. Believe it or not, it's really easy for someone to steal your money this way.
  • Don't e-mail your photo or any information that identifies YOU.
  • Never give clues about yourself, where you live, where you work, where you hang out with your friends, where you shop etc.
  • Never, ever share your name, address, phone number, etc.
How can I tell if someone is telling the truth?
The scary thing is that it's REALLY hard to tell if someone is telling the truth. There are people out there who misrepresent themselves and stalk young girls on the Internet. For example, someone may lie and tell you that they are much younger or even older than they are. Since you can't see them, you never know if they are telling the truth. Even if you try to check on the person by reading their on-line profile, a person can easily lie about themselves and their age. Bottom line is that some people who use the Internet are not trustworthy and could hurt you.

What do I do if someone I talk to on the Internet wants to meet in person?
Because of all the risks involved with meeting a stranger in person, it's best never to meet someone you met on-line in person. If someone that you met on-line wants to meet you in person, you should tell your parents right away.

What do I do if someone on the Internet is harassing me?
If someone on the Internet sends you lots of e-mails, follows you into chat rooms, or sends you messages even after you have stopped responding, then the person may be harassing you. First, tell your parents right away about the person. The next step is to try ignoring the person while you are on the Internet to see if they will leave you alone and get the hint. If they continue to bother you even after you have stopped responding, then you and your parents can call your Internet Service Provider and complain about the other person's behavior. You and your parents can talk to the police and you can record a complaint at the Cyber Tipline at It is not your fault if someone starts bothering you! You and your parents can stop them from harassing you and someone else.

Being safe on the Internet sounds easy but it takes time and experience to know what is okay to share with people on-line. Remember, people on-line are strangers so it's best NOT TO SHARE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION AT ALL! NEVER meet anyone that you have met on-line even if you think that you really have gotten to know someone well. This is the biggest risk you can take and can put you in danger. Talking to your parents about what you can or cannot do on-line ahead of time is the best way to keep safe and have fun while using the Internet!

Safety in Relationships: A Guide for Teens

During your teen years, you will have relationships with a lot of people. These relationships will probably include friendships and dating relationships. Most of the time, these relationships are fun, exciting, and healthy, and they make us feel good about ourselves. Sometimes, however, these relationships can be unhealthy and can be harmful to you or other people involved. Unhealthy relationships can be risky because someone can get hurt physically or emotionally. This information guide was created to help you to understand the signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship and to learn ways to change a bad situation.

What is a healthy relationship?
In healthy relationships, you and your friend or the person you are dating feel good about each other and yourselves. You do activities together, like going to movies or out with other friends, and you talk to one another about how you are feeling about each other. These relationships can last a few weeks, a few months, or even many years. Healthy relationships are fun for both people!

In healthy relationships, there is respect and honesty between both people. This means that you listen to each other's thoughts and opinions and accept each other's right to say no or to change your mind without giving each other a hard time. Communication is also important in healthy relationships. You should be able to let the other person know how you are feeling. You might disagree or argue sometimes, but in healthy relationships you should be able to talk things out together to reach a compromise that works for both of you.

My friend gets mad if I hang out with other people, what should I do?
Be honest and stick to your decision. Tell your friend you like spending time with him or her but that you also want to spend time with other friends and family. Whether you are in a close friendship or a dating relationship, it is important for both of you to stay involved with the activities and interests you enjoyed before you became close. In a healthy relationship, you both need time to hang out with other friends as well as time for yourselves.

What are risky or unhealthy relationships?
In a risky or unhealthy relationship, you usually feel the exact opposite of how you feel when you're in a "healthy relationship." You and your friend do not usually feel good about each other and yourselves. Not all unhealthy relationships are abusive but sometimes they can include violence or abuse—verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual. This can involve both people being violent or abusive toward each other or can involve only one person doing this to the other. Many times, a relationship is not unhealthy in the very beginning, but over time abusive behavior might show. You may feel afraid or pressured to do something that you don't want to do. If you have a feeling that your relationship is unhealthy, you are probably right!

What are the signs that I am in an abusive or unhealthy relationship?
There are many signs that you could be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Take a look at this list of "warning signs" and see if these statements describe your relationship:

Your friend or the person you are going out with:
  • is jealous or possessive of you—he or she gets angry when you talk or hang out with other friends or people of the opposite sex
  • bosses you around, makes all the decisions, tells you what to do
  • tells you what to wear, who to talk to, where you can go
  • is violent to other people, gets in fights a lot, loses his/her temper a lot
  • pressures you to have sex or to do something sexual that you don't want to do
  • uses drugs and alcohol and tries to pressure you into doing the same thing
  • swears at you or uses mean language
  • blames you for his or her problems, tells you that it is your fault that he or she hurt you
  • insults you or tries to embarrass you in front of other people
  • has physically hurt you
  • makes you feel scared of their reactions to things
  • calls to check up on you all the time and wants to always know where you are going and who you are with
These are just a few of the signs that you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Sometimes there are only one or two "warning signs" and sometimes there are many. If any of these statements are true for your relationship, you should speak to a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, doctor, nurse, or counselor right away!

What is abuse?
An abusive relationship may include any of the signs listed above. Some teens and adults think that their relationship isn't abusive unless there is physical fighting. But did you know that there are other types of abuse? Below is a list of different types of abuse which can affect your friendships or dating relationships:
  • Physical Abuse - is when a person touches your body in an unwanted or violent way. This may include hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pulling hair, pushing, biting, choking, or using a weapon on you. The weapon could be a gun or knife but also includes anything that can hurt you like a shoe or a stick.
  • Verbal/Emotional Abuse - is when a person says something or does something that makes you afraid or feel bad about yourself. This may include: yelling, name-calling, saying mean things about your family and friends, embarrassing you on purpose, telling you what you can and can't do, or threatening to hurt you or hurt themselves. Blaming you for their problems, or verbally pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol, or keeping you from spending time with your friends and family are all abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse - is any sexual contact that you do not want. You may have said no or may be unable to say no because the abuser has threatened you or prevented you from saying no. This may include forcing you to have sex or unwanted touching or kissing.
Why are some people violent?
There are many reasons why a person could be violent or abusive to their friend or person they are dating. For example, a person who has grown up in a violent family may have learned that violence like hitting or verbal control was the way to solve a problem (which it is not!). They may be violent because they want to control the relationship or because they feel bad about themselves and think they will feel better if they make someone else feel worse. Others may get pressured by their friends to prove how strong they are. Sometimes people have trouble controlling their anger.

Drugs and alcohol can also play a part in abusive behavior. There are some people who lose control and act abusively after they have been drinking or taking drugs. But this is no excuse! Just because someone is under the influence of drugs and alcohol or has a bad temper does not mean that their abusive behavior is okay.
  • No matter why a person is violent physically, verbally/emotionally, or sexually, it is important for you to know that it is not your fault! You are NOT the reason for the violence. Violence is NEVER okay!
Why do some people stay in unhealthy or violent relationships?
If abusive or unhealthy relationships are so bad, then why do some people stay in them? Why don't they just stop spending time with their friend or break up with the person and stop seeing them? Sometimes it may be hard to get out of an abusive relationship. This is because violent relationships often go in cycles. After a person is violent, he or she may apologize and promise never to hurt you again, and even say that they will work on the relationship. It may be a while before that person acts violently again. These ups and downs can make it hard to leave a relationship.

It's hard to leave someone you care about. You may be scared or ashamed to admit that you are in an abusive relationship, or you may be simply scared to be alone without that person. You may be afraid that no one will believe you, or that your friend or partner will hurt you more if you tell someone. Whatever the reasons, leaving an unhealthy relationship is hard but something you must do. You will need help to do it.

Why should I leave?
Abusive relationships are very unhealthy for you. You can have trouble sleeping or have headaches or stomach aches. You might feel depressed, sad, anxious or nervous, and you may even lose or gain weight. You may also blame yourself, feel guilty, and have trouble trusting other people in your life. Staying in an abusive relationship can hurt your self-confidence and make it hard for you to believe in yourself. If you are being physically abused, you can be the victim of injuries that could cause permanent damage. You should definitely leave the relationship if you are getting hurt, if you have bruises or pain, or if you are being threatened with physical harm in any way.

Remember that the most important reason to leave an unhealthy relationship is because you deserve to be in a relationship that is healthy and fun.

How do I get out of an unhealthy or abusive relationship?
First, if you think that you are in an unhealthy relationship, you should talk to a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, teacher, coach or other trusted person about your relationship. Tell them why you think the relationship is unhealthy and exactly what the other person has done (hit, pressured you to have sex, tried to control you). You may want to look back at the list of "warning signs" to help you to explain the situation to an adult. If necessary, this trusted adult can help you contact your parents, counselors, school security, or even the police about the violence. With help, you can get out of an unhealthy relationship.

Sometimes, leaving an abusive relationship can be dangerous so it is very important for you to make a Safety Plan. Leaving the relationship will be a lot easier and safer if you have a plan. Here are some tips on making Your Safety Plan:
  • Tell a trusted adult like a parent, counselor, doctor, teacher or spiritual leader.
  • Tell the person who is abusing you that you do not want to see him or her or break up with this person over the phone so they cannot touch you. Do this when your parents or guardians are at home so you know you will be safe in your house.
  • Go to your doctor or hospital for treatment if you have been injured.
  • Keep track of any violence. A diary is a good way to keep track of the date the violence happened, where you were, exactly what the person you are dating did, and exactly what effects it caused (bruises, for example). This will be important if you need the police to issue a restraining order against the person.
  • Avoid contact with the person.
  • Spend time with your other friends and walk with them and not by yourself.
  • Think of safe places to go in case of an emergency like a police station or even a public place like a restaurant or mall.
  • Carry a cell phone, phone card, or money for a call in case you need to call for help. Use code words. You should decide on the code words ahead of time with your family so that they will know that your signal means that you can't talk easily and you need help.
  • Call 911 right away if you are ever afraid that the person is following you or is going to hurt you.
  • Keep domestic violence hot-line numbers in your wallet or another secure place, or program them into your cell phone.
What do I do if a friend tells me that she is in an abusive relationship?
If your friend tells you that she is in an abusive relationship, listen very carefully to what she says. It is important that you listen without judging or blaming your friend. Tell your friend that you believe what she is saying and that you know that it is not her fault. Tell her that you are always there for her when she wants to talk about it. Remind her of all her friends and family who care about her and want her to be safe. Let her know that you are worried about her safety and that you want to help her to tell a parent or other trusted adult right away. Offer to go with her. Give her information on how to make a safety plan and give her phone numbers of counselors and domestic violence hotlines. You may even want to suggest that your friend take a self-defense class. Be sure not to take this on alone. Talk with a trusted adult such as a school counselor about how to help your friend.

Should I have my friend talk to her parents or another adult?
Yes! The most important thing that you can do for your friend is to encourage her to talk to an adult right away. This adult could be a parent, coach, teacher, school counselor, doctor, nurse, or spiritual leader. Tell your friend that you will go with her to see an adult about her abusive relationship. If your friend is nervous about going to talk to adult, here are some things you could remind her of:
  • An adult will listen to her problem and give her advice on how to handle the situation.
  • An adult can help to protect her if she feels that she is in danger.
  • An adult can help her contact the right people, such as the police, her principal, or a counselor.
What if my friend won't listen to me and wants to keep the abuse a secret?
After you encourage your friend to talk to someone like a trusted adult about the abuse, you can tell an adult also. It is too much for you to handle alone. Even though you want to keep your friend's secret, it is important for you to tell a trusted adult especially if you are afraid that your friend could get hurt or if you are worried that she won't tell anyone. Your friend will need help even if she says that she can handle it alone.

Do not tell your friend to choose between the person that she is dating and you. This could make your friend feel that she can't talk to you if she decides to stay in the relationship. Don't spread your friend's secrets to others. Let her be the one to tell other friends that she trusts.

What else do I need to know?
Abuse is a problem that some people experience in their relationships. At least 1 in 10 teens experience physical violence in their relationships. Even if you have not experienced physical, sexual, or verbal and emotional abuse, one of your friends may be in an unhealthy relationship with another friend or dating partner. If you are in an unhealthy relationship or if your friend is, it is important that you get help right away before someone gets hurt! Relationships are an important part of life and are supposed to be fun and special!

Anger Management: A Guide for Teens

Do you know that keeping your anger in check is good for your health? People who manage their anger get sick less often, and feel better emotionally-for real! Anger is a natural emotion but sometimes anger can lead to behavior that is out of control. It may even feel like the anger is controlling you. Have you ever had this happen to you? If so, you're not alone. Many teens have trouble managing their anger. This guide was created to help you understand your anger, and offer you ways to help you control it.

Why do I have trouble controlling my anger?
There are many reasons why you may have trouble managing your anger. The reasons are different for everybody and may be a combination of different things. Perhaps you have witnessed violence at home, in your neighborhood or at school, which can make it even harder to know when your anger is out of control. It may be hard for you to control your anger because you haven't yet learned how to deal with the emotions you feel inside. Whatever the reason, the next step is moving forward to work on ways to understand what triggers your anger and how to stay in control.

Why should I control my anger?
Even at a young age, having difficulty controlling your anger makes your body more likely to have physical problems that can occur now or later. This happens because your mind and your body are connected! These feelings can actually put stress on your body which can lead to medical problems such as:
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Stomach problems
Having problems with managing your anger can also increase your risk for developing mental health concerns such as:
  • Depression
  • Eating problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Drug, alcohol or other addictions
  • Suicidal thoughts
Teenagers who have trouble managing their anger often have fewer friends, behave in more negative ways, and receive lower grades in school. Haven't had any of these issues yet? You are lucky. Don't wait! The time is right for you to learn how to control your anger and prevent problems in the future.

How can I tell if I'm getting too angry?
Your body has a few ways of letting you know when you are getting too angry. Some common feelings may include:
  • Your heart races - it beats very fast and may even feel like it's pounding in your chest
  • You breathe faster - it may feel like you can't catch your breath
  • Your muscles tighten - your body feels stiff
  • Your body temperature increases - you feel hot and may sweat a lot
Are there some situations that make you feel particularly angry?
Think about the last few times you became really angry. You may realize there's a pattern. By becoming more aware of what upsets you, and how you feel when you are angry, you can take control of it before it takes control of you!

Keep in mind that your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected. Your thoughts affect your feelings, which then affect your behaviors. Your behavior can also affect your thoughts, which can affect how you feel.
Since they are all related, making one change—to thoughts, feeling or behaviors—will make a big difference!

thoughts (arrows to:) feelings and behaviors

What are some ways I can learn to control my temper?
The best way to control your temper depends on you! There is no quick fix. Every person needs to take time to think about what works for him or her. Here are some helpful ideas:
  • Improve your problem solving skills. When faced with a difficult situation or conflict, learn as much as you can about it and think about what happened. This will prevent you from making quick judgments that may be wrong. Remember, there are many ways to look at the same situation.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. You can actually decide on how you will behave in certain situations ahead of time.
  • Think about the consequence of your behavior. Realize that how you behave affects those you love and others around you.
  • Pay attention to what upsets you. When you can figure out what triggers angry feelings, you can make decisions that will help you stay in better control.
  • Pay attention to how your body feels when you are angry. When you notice your body beginning to change, it's time to take control.
You may feel anxious when you first try to take control of your temper. This is normal! Take time beforehand to plan ways to handle these feelings. The earlier you notice yourself becoming angry the more chance you have to stop your anger from getting out of control.

Is there anything I can do to relax when I'm feeling so angry?
Yes! Every one of us can find effective ways to calm down. Relaxation techniques work by helping calm us. When we are calm, our bodies relax, and physical problems brought on by anger such as a headache, usually disappear. Try the following techniques to help you relax .
  • Take slow deep breaths. Breathe in and slowly breathe out - This works especially well when you feel like your breathing is speeding up.
  • Repeat a calming word or sentence to yourself such as "I am in control of my feelings."
  • Tighten your muscles then relax them. Notice the difference.
  • Close your eyes and think about a person, place or thing, that makes you feel calm.
What if my anger feels out of control?
Take quick action! If your angry feelings begin to take control over you it is important to do something to keep yourself and others around you safe. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Leave the scene - Take yourself away from the person and/or place where you became angry. A change of scenery can help you "cool off" your angry feelings.
  • Walk away instead of driving away - Walking is a great way to get your anger out. Avoid driving to prevent yourself from putting yourself and others in danger.
  • Chose safe ways to deal with anger - Take deep breaths, repeat a calming word, relax your muscles, imagine a calm place to decrease your anger. Do not drink, use violence or pick up a weapon.
  • If you feel you are a danger to yourself or others, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. If you are having thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or hurt other people, it is important to get help immediately!
What do I do with all the anger inside?
Find a safe way to express it! There are many safe ways to express your anger. Here are a few ideas:
  • Talk to someone you trust ­ Call or meet with a person you feel comfortable with and is a good listener.
  • Exercise - Get that anger out by taking a long walk (in a safe part of town), work out at the gym or play a sport. Exercise stimulates the release of a chemical in the brain called "endorphins" that make us feel happy.
  • Write in a journal - Let your feelings out by writing about them in a journal or create poetry or song lyrics. You can use your journal to write a letter to someone you are really mad at. You can read it again later, edit it, and send it, if you are still upset.
  • Listen to or play music ­ Music has a way of calming the soul whether it is listening to your IPod, singing along with the car radio (even if you sing off key), or playing an instrument.
  • Draw, paint or do other creative art projects - For some people, being creative is an outlet for their anger and helps them manage their feelings.
  • Rest - Anger often takes our energy away and makes us feel exhausted. It's fine to take a break, nap, or go to bed early. Sleep helps us focus so we can deal with our feelings better.
Controlling your temper is hard at first! When you slip up, give yourself a break but take responsibility for how you acted and how it affected other people. A useful way to do this is to apologize. "I'm sorry" is a powerful phrase that can help do damage control!

Stress and How to Lower It: A Health Guide for Teens

You know when you’re stressed out – your body feels bad and your thoughts are spinning. But it can also help to know why your body reacts that way, and what can you do about it. Our bodies are designed to handle calm situations, and also exciting or dangerous ones. When you’re in the middle of something scary or challenging, your body gets into a mode that’s better for handling the situation. This is a state of high energy and sharp senses, like the way you feel when you’re playing a fun sport or doing really well on a test. But when the situation turns into more than you can handle, that’s when you start to feel stress. It’s as if your body is shouting "Do something!" and your brain is shouting back "I don’t know what to do!"

What is stress?
When you’re stressed, you feel changes in your body and your mind. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure goes up, and your face may get flushed. Your muscles might tighten up, or you may feel anxious. You may feel rushed and confused, or forget things. You may feel sick to your stomach. You might be crabby, and get into arguments with your family and friends.

What causes stress in our lives?
We live in an interesting, but also hectic and challenging world. Teens can have lots of sources of stress, including:
  • Lots of homework and projects at school
  • Family tension as you try to be more independent from your parents
  • Pressure from friends to do risky things
  • Tension with your boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Difficult people in your life
  • Upsetting news about disasters, war, or personal tragedy
  • Media messages that lower your self-esteem
  • Not getting enough sleep
What are the effects of stress?
A certain amount of stress is OK, if it helps you have the energy to deal with a short term problem. For example, if you’re stressed about writing a paper for school, and your stress causes you to ask your teacher for advice, and you finish the paper, then your stress has done its job.

In the short term, stress can:
  • Help you focus on a situation or solve a problem
  • Tire you out
  • Make you nervous or irritable
If, on the other hand, you’re experiencing a lot of stress day after day, your body may start sending you some warning signs that something’s really wrong. This kind of chronic stress can take a toll physically and mentally.
Long term stress can contribute to such health problems as:
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Self-Injury
  • Obesity
  • Digestive problems
  • Lower immunity to colds and other illnesses
These chronic problems are really your body’s way of telling you "Hey! I’m under way to much stress over here – something’s got to give!"

If you find yourself getting noticeably stressed every day, you should take some steps to (1) lessen the number of stressors in your life, and (2) treat your body and mind to some stress-reduction techniques.

How can I lower my stress level?
Here are some ideas for different activities you can do to lower your stress. Just pick a couple that look interesting to you, and try them out. If these ideas help you de-stress, you can include them in your daily or weekly routine. If not, you can try others on the list, or come up with a list of your own. Talk to your parents or another trusted adult about how they de-stress. They might have some good ideas you can try out.

Helpful Hint: Make a list of your favorite stress-reduction activities, and tape it where you'll see it often, like the fridge or your notebook or computer screen. When you're over-stressed, stop what you're doing, pick one thing off the list, and do it!

Stress Reduction Activities
  • Simplify your life. You may feel like you’re not in control of everything that’s expected of you. But really it’s up to you to decide what you can do, and what you cannot do. Sit down, and make a list of everything you feel you should do. Now separate all the items on the list into three sections like this:

    These can wait These are pressing Do these TODAY

    If you see that there’s just too much to do TODAY, you’ll have to cut down on some activities to make your schedule more manageable.
  • Exercise is a great way to lower your stress. During exercise, you can focus on what you’re doing with your body, which helps free your mind from other worries. Vigorous exercise also triggers the release of chemicals in your body called endorphins, which make you feel happier and more relaxed. You don’t have to be a super-athlete to exercise. Even something as basic as walking for half an hour can help you relax and improve your mood. Or you can sign up for a class at your local YWCA or YMCA – choose something fun and friendly, like dancing, volleyball, or swimming.
  • Female in Cross-Legged Yoga PoseYoga, Tai Chi, & Qigong. These types of movement from India and China use stretches and poses for flexibility, strength, concentration, and relaxation. Yoga emphasizes flexibility and strength, while Tai Chi and Qigong help with concentration, balance, and patience. You can do any of these exercises in a class at your local YWCA, YMCA, or dance center, or at home on a towel or mat. If you’re shy about taking a class, you can check a video out of the library and try the movements at home.
  • Take a Break. Sometimes your tired brain is just craving a little time off from your busy day. Stop what you’re doing, and find a quiet spot where you can put your feet up. Drink some tea (without caffeine!), or take a bath. Read a book or magazine, or even watch TV, if it’s a non-stressful show. These things sounds so basic, you might think, “why bother?” But when your feet are up, your stress level drops.
  • Meditation and Prayer offer you ways to calm and focus your thoughts and feel more positive. There are many styles of meditation which have grown out of spiritual practices around the world. Meditation includes sitting still in a quiet place, focusing your thoughts on your breath or on a slow chant, and trying to be aware of what is going on in the present moment, instead of stressing about the past or freaking out about the future. With prayer you focus on feeling connected to a higher spiritual power, and on wishes and hopes you may have for yourself or people you care about. Get in touch with your local church, temple, Yoga center, or Buddhist center about a prayer or meditation group. If you’re shy about attending a group, you can check videos out from the library about different meditation and prayer techniques.
  • Massage can work wonders on a stressed-out body. A gentle massage can untie knotted muscles, and make you feel relaxed all over. A professional massage can be expensive, but even a simple foot-rub or shoulder-rub from a good friend can take the edge off your stress.
  • Journaling. If you enjoy writing, this can be a good way to de-stress. Write down what’s been happening with you on a daily basis. If you’re facing a scary situation, imagine the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Write about the worst thing that could happen if everything goes wrong. Then write about the wonderful things that would happen if everything goes right. By letting your mind explore all the possibilities you’ll feel less stressed. Another thing you can do in your journal is write a letter to someone you’re really mad at. Later on you can edit it and actually mail it, but sometimes it helps just to write it down.
  • Have a good cry. You may know that little kids get upset easily, cry and make a fuss, then get over it pretty quickly. This approach can work for you too. At the end of a particularly hard day, if you find yourself crying to a supportive friend, family member, or to your pillow, this can help you de-stress. In our culture we often try to convince people not to cry, as if it were a sign of weakness, but it really is no such thing. If your crying helps you communicate your frustration, vent your stress, and get some support, than there’s nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then.
  • Sleep. Even just a few nights in a row of not-enough-sleep can make you feel crabby and nervous. And teens in our culture are notoriously sleep-deprived on a daily basis. You actually need more sleep at this time in your life – about 9 hours per night – than you will as an adult. Although your school schedule and social life make it difficult, try to put sleep at the top of your priority list, right up there with eating good food and watching your favorite TV shows. If you can squeeze in an additional hour or two of sleep per night, you’ll feel a lot better, and your overall stress level will drop.
Special Note: a really harmful way to try to de-stress is with street drugs, alcohol, or binge eating. These may seem to make you feel better in the very short term, by numbing your senses, or making you silly or forgetful. But they have destructive effects on your life and your health in so many other ways, that they are not worth the temporary quick fix they may seem to provide. If you find yourself turning repeatedly to these harmful activities, it’s time to seek counseling to help you deal more positively with your stress and with your substance abuse.

What should I do if I’m dealing with extreme stress?
Sometimes the stressors in a person’s life become very serious. Some examples of an extreme stressor are: being in a serious accident; being the victim of a crime or of sexual abuse; experiencing violence in your family life, including daily fighting, yelling, and hitting. These serious stressors can have lasting effects on the way your body and mind handle stress, and this can set you up for mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are some resources for coping with more extreme stress:
  • Parents or other Trusted Adults. If you feel that your stress is more than you can manage on our own, you should definitely seek help. Have an in-depth talk with one of your parents, or another trusted adult in your life. Be has honest as you can about the stress you’re dealing with, and the effect it’s having on you. Confiding in a caring adult can help you feel less alone, and that person can help you find ways to manage your stress.
  • Counseling & Medication. In addition to help from family members, counseling can be a great resource. It involves meeting with a professionally-trained person, a therapist, doctor, nurse or religious leader. This person can help you figure out the cause of your stress, how to minimize it, and how to learn techniques for handling stress better in the future. Sometimes your healthcare provider will prescribe medication to help you manage your stress symptoms, as they work with you to re-structure your life so that it’s less stressful.
Throughout your life it’s important to notice and respect the signals coming from your body and your mind. If you realize that you’re getting stressed out, keep in mind that you can do something about it. Stress-reduction activities can really help you keep your stress at a manageable, low level. And if you start to develop good stress-reduction habits now, you’ll be able to use them in the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Breast Health Rules Leave Out Lesbians

Now that new government guidelines are out on how to best care for your breasts, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender women are left with a lot of questions.

 For years medical professionals have advised women over the age of 40 to get annual breast exams as a way to detect cancerous tumors. However, the new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force, which shun breast self-exams and suggest only women between the ages of 50 and 74 get mammograms every other year, are startling to some, while others welcome the recommendations.

A majority of women, regardless of sexual orientation, are used to going to their doctors primarily for reproductive or breast health care, says Amber Hollibaugh, the chief officer of elder and LBTI women's services at the Lesbian Community Care Project of the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago.

"As flawed as the system is, that's how women are taught," she told Tuesday. "When you go to a doctor, you're usually prompted to go by your reproductive health or breast cancer concerns. So the irony is that most women access all their health care using those two funnels. They come in and they say, 'I need a mammography. Oh, yeah, and I also ate a doughnut yesterday and passed out.' So then the doctor says, 'Well, I should go in and check you for diabetes.'"

The already low percentage of LBTI women going into medical facilities for reproductive and breast health issues could diminish even further with the task force's recommendations.

"If you're worried about cancer as a woman, but you have gender issues, like being a butch lesbian who doesn't want to do mammography, you're going to hesitate to access care in traditionally the only way that women typically get it," Hollibaugh said.

While the task force does suggest that the number of mammograms a woman receives should be established on a case-by-case basis, the overall recommendation would reduce the number of tests for the average woman, especially those under 50.

Officials with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a top breast cancer advocacy organization, issued a statement Monday sayiing the previous guidelines should remain as a precaution.

"Mammography is not perfect, but is still our best tool for early detection and successful treatment of this disease," they said. They also pointed out that nearly a third of American women do not undergo regular testing.

Janelle Hail, the founder and CEO of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, called the task force's suggestion to stop conducting self-exams to be "dangerous."

"At 34 years old, I felt a lump while performing a breast self-exam," she said on her blog. "Concerned, I got a mammogram that detected breast cancer. If I had not had a breast self-exam and a mammogram, I would not be alive today and the National Breast Cancer Foundation would not exist."

The American Cancer Society also recommends regular screening after a woman turns 40, based on other research that was not considered by the Preventive Service Task Force.

"The most recent data show us that approximately 17% of breast cancer deaths occurred in women who were diagnosed in their 40s, and 22% occurred in women diagnosed in their 50s. Breast cancer is a serious health problem facing adult women, and mammography is part of our solution beginning at age 40 for average risk women," society officials said in a statement.

The organization Breast Cancer Action, however, has long held the position that premenopausal screenings are unnecessary, due to false-negative results, false-positive results, and exposure to radiation from the actual mammograms.
Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition also welcomed the recommendation, adding that she hopes the release of the information puts "screening and its limitations into proper perspective." She also urged health-care policy makers to carefully analyze the basis of the revised recommendations: "Women have been given different messages for years, but unfortunately those messages were not based on strong evidence. Women deserve the truth even when it is complicated. They can accept it.”

How to Find Other Lesbians

This is the 21st century. A lot has changed. People are becoming more open about their sexuality. There are not so many closet cases, still just because you’re ready to come out of the closet doesn’t mean it’s easy to find someone to experiment with or even talk to.

  1. Don't be afraid of online dating. There are a lot of high quality dating sites dedicated to lesbians. Online dating is rather fabulous. It's a lot better than just getting hit on by a drunk chick at a bar. It's also a bonus that you kinda get to read their profile. It tips you off on what their about.

  2. Join a club. Most cities have LGBT organizations. If they seem scarce just look for this group at a nearby college. Most universities have them and gladly welcome the public to attend their meetings. It's a great way to make friends and even get a date, not to mention it's a safe place to discuss issues that other people are uncomfortable talking about.

  3. Gay bars. Almost every city has a gay bar. Go and mingle. It's just like going to a regular bar, but with more people you can hit on. It can be intimidating for a first experience so see if you can get a friend to go.

  4.  Have an open eye. Women are more likely to explore with their sexuality than men. Just because a girl looks like a girly girl doesn't mean she doesn't like girls. Try to develop your gaydar. Lesbians are everywhere.

How to Meet Other Lesbian Teens

  1. Step 1 
    Find a community GLBT center. Searching online will often provide a number of results. Also, look for pamphlets at gay-friendly centers (possibly a school counselor) to direct you. Many cities have at least one center, and some small towns will surprisingly have one. Decide whether you can travel to the GLBT center, and look to see if they have any youth program.
  2. Step 2
    Go online. There are a handful of sites that cater to gay, lesbian, transgendered, and bisexual teens. One is listed in the resources of this article. Find a forum that is reliable and safe, then – if needed – ask people there if they can recommend another safe forum to use.
  3. Step 3
    Be more open. Sometimes, it helps to make it known that you are a gay teen. Some teens have started wearing rainbow jewelry, putting gay pride stickers on backpacks, and joining in GSAs and other gay-friendly clubs. If you feel safe doing so, try one of those ideas to show others that you are gay or an ally.
  4. Step 4
    Ask friends. If you are out to your friends, or if they are out, ask whether they’ve met any other out teens. Throw a party or just hang out with a group and see who you meet or can network with.
  5. Step 5
    Keep your eyes peeled. Much like being more open, keep your eyes out for certain things: find SafeZone stickers to show an area hosts gay teens, look for gay pride items carried by others, and scope out any areas that seem to attract other teens.
  6. Step 6
    Search the local hang-outs. Go to the places you normally enjoy, such as the movie theater, bowling lanes, or bookstore, and keep your eyes peeled once more. There may be a smaller chance of finding other gay teens, but it’ll be easier to meet people with similar interests to your own. You never know what you’ll find when you look closely!

How to Find Gay and Lesbian Radio Programs to Listen to Online !!

Every day, gays and lesbians around the world turn up the volume on gay and lesbian radio programs that they listen to on demand through their computers. Here's how you can join them.

Instructions :

  1. Equip your computer with RealPlayer, a Web browser plug-in that's available to download for free from It's required to listen to most online radio programs.
  2. Step 2
    Make your first stop the Web site of, a window into gay and lesbian programming.
  3. Step 3
    Choose from the "Daily Dose" newscast, talk shows hosted by or featuring well-known names in the gay community, financial information and music - or listen to whatever is being broadcast live.
  4. Step 4
    Go next to, and click on the Multimedia section.
  5. Step 5
    Listen to the current episode of the nation's oldest gay and lesbian radio program, "This Way Out."
  6. Step 6
    Take it a step further and watch this week's episode of "QueerTelevision" while you're there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Coming Out"

Identifying yourself as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and disclosing this to other people is often referred to as 'coming out'.

'Coming out' usually takes place in the early to mid teenage years and is generally a positive experience. However, coming to terms with confusion about identity can affect a young person's social relationships, school work and self-esteem both negatively and positively.

It can be a difficult time for many young LGBT people when they decide who to tell about their sexuality. In making this disclosure they are often fearful of negative reactions, rejection and causing upset and distress to the person they are telling. Sometimes a young person may 'come out' to a supportive teacher or a school friend before talking to parents, in order to rehearse their own part and to judge reactions.

There are several theories about the elements of the 'coming out' process. Each has its own emphasis but all of them are developmental models which regard 'coming out' as a series of stages. These stages do not necessarily last the same length of time and there is no one age when the whole process begins and ends. These stages can be described as follows:

'I remember feeling very upset when the teacher in our sixth form called me and my friends the 'gay young men'. We were interested in art and hated sport. He thought we were wimps. It is funny, so far about four out of the eight of us have since come out. I don't know whether the teacher knew more about us than we did about ourselves.' Peter
'I felt as if I had nothing in common with people. There was no conversation - I don't like sport, I don't like any of this stuff.' Tom
In this stage a person generally begins to feel 'different' to other people of the same sex. Sometimes they recognise that they are not very interested in people of the opposite sex but more often they feel they are not really interested in things which are supposed to be appropriate for their sex. Most people report just feeling unusual when they compare themselves to other people of their sex. Commonly this happens before or in early adolescence when friendships and relationships between the sexes begin to change.

Confusion about identity
'I didn't even know what a lesbian was. It was a sort of tradition that girls in the lower end of the school had crushes on older girls. They were everything you wanted to be and admired. I did wonder once if my crush was just a bit stronger than it ought have been but I was brought up to believe I would meet Mr Right and settle down to 2.4 kids so I just expected it to go away when we started to go out with boys.' Katie, 21
There are usually four elements which contribute to confusion about identity:

Feeling that perceptions of the self are altering;
Feeling and experiencing heterosexual and homosexual sexual arousal;
Sensing the stigma surrounding homosexuality;
Lacking knowledge about homosexuality.

Research indicates that most young gay men first decide they are probably gay between the ages of 12 and 17, and most young lesbians first decide they are probably lesbian between the ages of 16 and 20. At this time they have to deal with feeling that they have changed, as have their relationships with other people around them. Some also have to combat the potentially powerful feelings of self-recrimination and disgust that come from describing themselves as homosexual. There are various strategies for coping with this emotional upheaval.

Some young people who think they are lesbian or gay will try to deny it to themselves and even seek help to eradicate their feelings. Others will try and avoid thoughts and feelings which remind them that they have homosexual inclinations. In these situations young people can avoid getting any information about sexuality in order to avoid confirming their suspicions about their orientation.

Some young people have great difficulty in managing their relationships with peers and family. They may avoid situations in which they encounter opportunities for heterosexual relationships so that they are not forced to deal with their lack of sexual interest in members of the opposite sex or have it exposed. They may, alternatively, persevere with heterosexual relationships to try and 'convert' themselves and/or conceal their homosexuality from others.

'You'd keep her for a while, just to keep your mates happy. And then after a bit you just dropped her, saying, 'Ah, didn't really like her, broke down. So you constantly went through the heterosexual bit until you found you were strong enough to go out on your own and tell people.' Rod
In some extreme cases young people may try to avoid confronting their feelings by expressing strong homophobia or turning to drink and drugs in order to find temporary relief from them.

Finally, some young people fall back on a strategy of redefining their feelings and behaviour in such a way as to convince themselves that it is not really homosexual. For example, they may describe their experiences as a 'phase' or a 'one-off' or they might put them down to extreme emotional or physical circumstances such as the break-up of a relationship or drunkenness at a party. In this stage feelings are becoming more concrete. Young people may well have partners of both sexes and find their moods and feelings shifting as they feel more or less certain about their identity. This period often lasts throughout adolescence.

Assuming a lesbian or gay identity
Clearly, living with confusion about identity is emotionally exhausting and potentially destructive. For some people this period is followed quite quickly by a stage in which they come to accept their identity and are able to express it in a positive way. For both young men and women growing up mixing with other young gay people - in social settings or through support groups - can help them feel able to accept who they are. For some people, particularly in larger towns and cities, LGBT support groups provide a safe environment for 'coming out'. Elsewhere local and national LGBT telephone helplines provide a listening ear for people who want support.

'I think when I fell in love it all became so much more concrete for me. I was suddenly very certain of what I wanted and why I wanted it. I mean, I still found myself thinking every now and then, 'why am I gay?', but I came more and more to think, 'I am gay because I love another man'. And I'm proud of that. I am proud of him and I'm proud of me and I don't care who knows it.' Martin

The final stage in the process of 'coming out' involves becoming openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and recognising that it is a central aspect of, 'who I am', and, 'how I want to live my life'. People begin to feel that homosexuality is a valid way of life and develop a sense of contentment with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. They often have the experience of being in a relationship or falling in love at this time and, perhaps as a result, feel more confident, fulfilled and able to combat the social stigma that they may suffer.

At this time some people begin to feel proud of their sexuality. The expression of this pride in being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a powerful force in challenging the stigma attached to homosexuality by people with prejudiced attitudes and provides positive role models to others less sure about 'coming out'.


"Yes I Am" Poem Written By A Lesbian

Come and take a trip with me,
a journey into my world...

See the beauty and splendor that I see
Uninhibited by stereotypes, free your mind and come along

Barriers are only created by fear
and I am unafraid...

Bathe in the radiance of me
and become more than you are

Look a little deeper
and you'll see we're not so different

Share with me a vision of unity and peace,
unencumbered by society's aversion to non-conformity

Experience a vaster world through my eyes...
take my hand, for we are one and the same

Shun me not,
for I hold the key to liberation...

Come along on this voyage of enlightenment;
acceptance will set you free


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keeping the Love Alive in Long Distance Relationships

[ Tips for Managing Long Distance Relationships ]

Are you and your loved one separated by distance right now? It can be a challenge to keep the love alive, even if the time spent away isn't long. Try some of these tips for long distance relationships to let your sweetie know just how much you care.
  1. "Watch" a romantic movie together by renting the same flick at the same time. The two of you can discuss the film later by phone, email, or the next time you see each other in person.
  2. Send each other loving gifts appropriate for a long distance relationship, like taking out an ad in the local-to-them newspaper to express your love, learning how to take erotic photos of yourself and then emailing the results, or ordering a romantic dinner for them to be delivered to their home.
  3. Write a love letter to say I love you.
  4. Send as many ecards  and physical cards as you can afford to let your partner know they are always on your mind.
  5. Send romantic text messages to keep the love alive.
  6. Use an internet phone service like Skype to ensure your long distance phone bills remains manageable.
  7. Start a blog of your relationship, and commit to posting on a regular time schedule to keep each other up-to-date on your daily comings and goings.
  8. Continue to have "dates" with each other, where you use a webcam to share time like you normally would when the two of you are at home.
  9. Create an ongoing, frequently updated list of the things you want to do together the next time you see each other. This could be as simple as using a free list service like Backpack It, or sending each other one piece of paper back and forth with your care packages for the other to update.

Long Distance Relationship Date Ideas !!

Note : these are simple ideas that you can use it , i hope you find it useful :)
Just because you're in a long distance relationship (or LDR) doesn't mean the two of you can't have a date together. What it means is that you have to be a tad more creative than most people when it comes to date ideas and keeping the love alive.

Things Needed For a Long Distance "Date"

Although not crucial to making a long distance relationship work, there are some items can make the time spent away from each other just a little bit more tolerable. My bare-bones suggestions would be to have the following items:
  • A free chat program, like MSN or Yahoo!;
  • Free internet phone service, such as Skype 
  • A decent web cam and microphone.

Long Distance Relationship Date Ideas Using Technology

For those that aren't willing to buy a web cam or use internet telephony services, skip to the next section for more traditional date ideas for those in a long distance relationship. But for anyone who doesn't mind using technology to feel closer to their partner, why not try one of these suggestions?
    Play a Game: From battleship to checkers, board games to online games, there are thousands of games to choose from that you and your partner can play online, together.
    Second Life: If you haven't heard of it already, make a point of checking out Second Life an online virtual reality where anything is possible - including having a date with your partner.
    Video Theme Night: There is no shortage of video to watch online with the advent of websites like YouTube. Plan for a theme night, where both of you are responsible for a certain time period each of video entertainment. Some ideas include having a cartoon or foreign film festival or creating your own personal edition of America's Funniest Videos.

Everyday Long Distance Relationship Date Ideas

Few of these dates ideas for people in a long distance relationship require anything specific to orchestrate other that your time and energy, although a phone call if the two of you want to converse live-time during the date might be nice.
      Stargaze: For a romantic menage-a-deux, go outside with some wine and your telephone, so the two of you can peer at the stars together while talking about your hopes and dreams for the future. if a phone call isn't possible, have the both of you write in a journal what came to mind during the moonlit event to share with each other at a later date.
      Dinner & a Movie: Call a local-to-your-partner restaurant, and order them a romantic meal to be delivered on a pre-agreed upon date and time. While you're at it, find an online movie rental company like Netflicks and have the same movie delivered too. Now you'll be sharing dinner and a movie, together.
      Bedtime Stories: Pretend the two of you are kids again and need a story before the lights go out. Take turns telling each other a made-up fairy tale, or tape yourself speaking into a microphone and send it via snail mail or mpeg file for your loved one to listen to at their leisure.
      Create a "Date in a Box": Go to your local dollar store and get a relatively large box. In it, put things that your sweetheart will both appreciate and make them think of you. Then, mail it to them. Don't be afraid to 'theme' your box either: bubble bath for two (champagne glasses, bath oil, candles), night out on the town (tickets to a show along with a homemade scarf or sweater), or dinner and a movie (gift certificate, DVD, chocolate kiss). Make sure to include a note that says something along the lines of, "Wear this item enclosed or snuggle with a blanket while using the items in box, pretending as if I was right there beside you."

Long Distance Lesbian

Whether you met her online and she lives a thousand miles away, or if you were in a relationship together and one of you had to move, maintaining a long distance lesbian relationship can be challenging. This article will offer you advice on how to keep the love alive in a long distance lesbian relationship.
The best way to ensure a long distance relationship is going to work is if you have a strong foundation to begin with. If you're both committed to making it work and understand the challenges inherent in a long distance relationship, you're well on your way. If your relationship is rocky to begin with, staying together while miles apart is going to be much harder.

Know the Rules

Before you enter a long distance relationship, it's best to spell out the rules around monogamy. Even if you were in a committed monogamous relationship when you lived in the same town, don't assume the same rules are going to apply. Even if the topic is uncomfortable, it's important that you bring it up and that both understand what you expect from the other.

Stay in Touch

With email, instant messaging and free long distance plans staying in touch is easier than ever. Take advantage of the technology and let her know she's often on your mind. Text her. Sign up for Skype or another video conferencing service and you can see each other when you talk.

Know When it's Going to End

Most couples see the long-distance thing as a temporary condition. Eventually they want to be in a place where each can live together. Maybe you're apart while she's in school or in the military. Have a plan and discuss what is going to happen at the end of that commitment. If one of you has to move for a job, decide in advance how long you will live apart--one year, six months--compromise and come up with a solution that works for both of you. If you don't have a definite plan, one of you may feel that the other has the control over your relationship.

Bi-National Couples

Bi-national couples are the exception here, of course. In the United States and other countries who do not have welcoming immigration laws for gays and lesbians maintaining a bi-national relationship is difficult. Even though you may not have a plan for when you can be together permanently, these other tips can help your relationship too.

Have your own interests

Being in a long distance relationship you are in a unique situation where you have a lot of freedom that other couples may not have. Sure, sometimes you may hate that you have so much, but make the most of it. Get involved in your life. Take part in activities that interest you, start your own business or take up a new hobby. The time you spend will not only help the days go by faster, it will enrich you as a person and make you a more interesting partner. If you're in a bi-national couple, throw yourself in the politics of changing immigration laws to be more gay-friendly.

Curb Jealousy

Jealousy usually doesn't do much for a partnership, and it's especially true for a long distance relationship. If you can't trust your partner, then this thing is not going to work. If you're always worrying about who she's with and if she's being faithful, you're not only going to drive yourself crazy, you're going to drive her away. If you can't get a handle on jealousy, either end the relationship, or seek help for yourself.

Be Accountable

Be trustworthy. If she says she's going to call at three, be there at three to get her call. If you normally talk everyday at the same time and you know you're going to be bowling one night, be sure to tell her so she's not inventing all kinds of stories in her head.

Have dates

Even if you can't see each other as often as you wish, take the time to have phone dates. Watch a TV show together or have phone sex. Share a bowl of ice cream on the web cam or read the same book. It's important to stay connected in any way you can.

Be Romantic

Send care packages, photos of the cat and sweet love text messages. Email is good, but hand written letters are better. Get creative and send her little things from your day: a napkin from your favorite deli, a jar of jam from the country market or t-shirt that you slept in. Make her a mixed CD or write her a poem. Any little thing to let her know you're thinking of her.

Be Honest

When things get hard, talk about it. If you're having doubts, talk about it. Don't let the distance keep you from bringing up the hard stuff. You're in a relationship, your relationship is not "on hold." Deal with the issues as they come up or they will fester and get worse.

See Each Other

For goodness sake, make plans to see each other as often as you feasibly can. If you're two hours away, that might be every week or so. If you're thousands of miles away it may only be once or twice a year. There's nothing like being in the same room with the one you love, so make sure you put an effort into getting there. Plan in advance who will travel where, how often you plan to see each other and how long the visits will be. Share the load. Don't make one person travel all the time, unless that is the way you BOTH want it.

The Four Basics

Like any relationship, the keys are communication, trust, respect and love. Keep all of these alive and your long distance love has a strong chance of surviving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tammy Lynn Michaels

Tammy Lynn Michaels was born Tammy Lynn Doring in Lafayette, Indiana on November 26, 1974.
Sun Sign:
She is a Sagittarius, known to be freedom-loving, optimistic and carefree.
Humble Beginnings:
Tammy was raised by a single mother and as a child wanted to be an actor. She acted in the summers during high school.
NYC or Bust:
Tammy's mom drove her to New York City after high school graduation where she had hopes of attending an acting conservatory. When those plans fell through, she worked as a nanny and as a waitress.
The Big Break:
While working at a restaurant in New York, she was approached by an acting scout. She landed a few jobs in commercials and within a week of moving to Los Angeles, she was cast as Nicole Julian on Popular.
Ice Princess:
Michaels played Nicole Julian on the WB's series Popular from 1999-2001. Her character was the quintessential popular girl who persecutes those who don't live up to her code.
I want to Be in Love:
After the show was cancelled, Michaels was out at a gay bar with some friends. Melissa Etheridge was there. On a dare, Tammy Lynn approached Melissa and asked her out to dinner. Turns out, the two had a lot in common and hit it off immediately.
Outed by People:
Tammy Lynn Michaels was outed when People Magazine reported on her relationship with Melissa Etheridge.
Wedding Day:
Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels were wed September 22, 2003 in Los Angeles to celebrate California's historic domestic partnership ruling. On October 17, 2006 Tammy gave birth to twins: a girl nammed Johnnie Rose and a boy named Miller Steven.
The L Word and Beyond:
Prior to her relationship with Melissa Etheridge, Tammy Lynn Michaels identified as a lesbian, but was not out. She admits she was afraid of the effect it would have on her career. "When I was closeted, it wasn't just hypocritical and un-PC, it was also killing me," Michaels said in an interview with Television without Pity.
Michaels credits Etheridge's comfort in her sexuality with her newfound willingness to be out.
Michaels appears in a few episodes of Showtime's The L Word. She acts as one of playgirl Shane's spurned lovers.

Michaels also appeared in the short film D.E.B.S., but was not cast in the full-length version of the film.