On mortality, babies, and pills.

Dear Coquette,

I recently had an extra piece of gums removed from my mouth. I thought it was no big deal and didn’t worry about it. The biopsy came back, and it turns out it was a low-grade tumor. They removed all of it, I’ll be fine, but it still scares the crap out of me. I’m probably a huge baby for being so freaked out because there’s almost no health risk, but I’m 13 and have never had something like this happen before. Advice? Why am I so scared? 

You’re scared because you’ve caught a glimpse of your own mortality at an early age. It’s not about any actual health risk. It’s about where your mind takes you when you start pondering worst-case scenarios. Sure, you know that one day you’re gonna die, but that’s still an unexplored and fairly abstract concept for someone who’s barely a teenager.

Being smacked in the face with something like this brings into sharp focus the fleeting and fragile nature of the human condition, and getting a little freaked out is perfectly understandable.

Don’t worry. The pangs of anxiety fade rather quickly. In a few months, you won’t even remember what they felt like.

I don’t want kids. I feel like that’s an important thing for guys who are interested in me to know, because if we’re not on the same page about it, there’s no sense in wasting each other’s time, right? It’s pretty much a deal breaker. I’m not going to change my mind, and I’d never expect someone who wants to be a father to give that up for me.

The problem, when it comes to dating, is when the hell do I bring this up? If I mention it too soon, that’s just awkward, but if I leave it for too long, things could get really messy. Any advice on when (and how) to broach this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Ugh. I hate when people say, “there’s no sense in wasting each other’s time” when it comes to dating. You’re treating it like some sport with a big countdown clock, as if you’ll end up with a higher score the sooner you couple off with a dude you can tolerate. Don’t be so goal-oriented with your romantic life. If someone is a good person, getting to know him is never a waste of time.

Besides, these kinds of topics come up naturally in the course of figuring each other out, and it doesn’t matter all that much when you bring it up. What matters is that you’re both emotionally honest enough to act accordingly if there’s a legitimate deal breaker on the table.

I’m tired of defeating myself. I just want to give in and take a pill and hope that colors become a little brighter. But I don’t want to lose a part of myself in the process. Do you think that anti-whatever pills are OK?

Psychopharmaceuticals aren’t magic beans. They won’t make the world a better place, nor will they steal your soul. They just modify your brain chemistry a bit, the result of which many find to be a benefit. If the pills work for you, great. If not, no big deal, and it doesn’t matter whether anyone else thinks they’re OK. It only matters what you think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *