Speaking in public is a terrifying and rewarding experience that becomes less terrifying and more rewarding each time you do it. As a young person, opportunities to speak might include class presentations, accepting awards, running for school or club offices, or speaking to administrators about your needs and views.
There are countless websites and groups, like Toastmasters, dedicated to teaching you how to speak in public, so I won't go into detail here. Instead, I will encourage you to look at public speaking opportunities as a gift that you should take, and not a chore to avoid.
We can't control people's words or actions, but we can control our responses.
If you think about it, you have probably encountered hundreds of offensive things in your life. Some people are jerks, some people don't think about what they say, some people are ignorant and just don't understand the impact of what they say or what they do.
And, I'm willing to be that your reactions to offensive things is not consistent. If you're in a great mood, an offensive statement probably didn't bring you down. If you're in a foul mood, something that doesn't usually bother you might really get under your skin. This inconsistency tells us that how we react is a choice!
Just like most things in life, the more we practice choosing our reactions, the better we get at it. So, next time you're offended by something, stop and take a deep breath. When you let that breath out, choose how you'll react. Sometimes you'll choose to be offended (which, can be kind of fun). Other time, you'll choose to let it roll off you. Either way -- you're the one making the choice -- and that gives YOU the power in any situation.
Our breath is one of the few things that will always be with us. It can have a controlled pace, or it can be ragged and rushed. But, usually, it follows a strong even rhythm.
There are hundreds of bits of advice on how to breathe properly. They'll tell you to breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. They'll tell you to fill your belly before your chest. Or, they'll tell you the exact opposite.
I'm not sure how we breathe really matters. The key is that we start to focus on something other than the chatter in our head. By noticing our breath, we get an opportunity to slow down for a second and go back to the primal part of our brain that isn't worried about what's just happened, or what's going to happen. It lets us focus on the now -- and if we can take time to breathe in the now, then everything will turn out alright.
Even if you don't have a car, or even drive, knowing how to change a tire is an important life skill. You could be on a drive with friends, or maybe somebody you know will need a little help. And, fair or not, if you're the only guy on the trip, chances are good that everybody will expect you to figure it out because you're a guy.
I was going to type out a step-by-step guide, but there are some really great guides on the Internet already. One with a lot of detail, and some great pictures, is on Popular Mechanics. It's pretty detailed, so if you want something a little simpler, check out "How to Change a Tire for Dummies".
If you're still not sure, or are the kind of person who learns with a little hands on experience, call a local tire or auto parts store. Most of the guys working there could change a tire in their sleep, and you may find somebody who would be happy to walk you through it.
I'm a gay father with gay sons. My mission is to work with the community to prepare them -- and other young gay men -- for a happy and successful life.