Tough Stuff

My private photo went way public. What now?


Dear Carol,
I’ve done something really bad. I’m 15, and I sent a naked picture to a guy who promised he wouldn’t show anyone. His friends got on his phone and, long story short, it got posted on Instagram for my entire school to see. I’ve already told my mom, but it’s been three months and I still feel awful. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for doing something so humiliating and immature. I wish I could take the whole thing back, but I can’t, and every time I look at my mother, I feel like dying.
–Naked Picture Mistake 

Dear Naked Picture Mistake,
Agreed, that was not your finest hour, but it’s in the past. You learned from it, and you can’t take it back, so no point beating yourself up forever. This happened months ago. Now, hold your head high and be the smartest, nicest person you can be, and don’t punish yourself any more, OK? If necessary, say to your mom or a therapist, “I’m having a hard time forgiving myself,” and see if they can help. I’m sorry you learned about sexting the hard way, but perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that next time you are feeling impulsive, you’ll know to put on the brakes. Meantime, you know what? Every person on the planet is naked under his or her clothes. Spring is coming, and soon this will all just be water under the bridge. 

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by Viviana Santini | 1/5/2018
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