Dear GiGi, 
Recently, I had to deal with a serious bully. I’m in musical theatre, and this particular girl kept telling me that I was totally tone-deaf and the worst singer she’d ever heard. I know you’re not supposed to listen to bullies, but this girl found the one thing I had just gotten comfortable with and started picking at it. She left theatre last year, but now I feel really self-conscious every time I get up to sing, even though people keep telling me I have a good voice. What do I do? 

Confidence Lost 

Dear Confidence Lost, 
Bullies have a nasty way of finding that one thing that you are insecure about and picking at it over and over. When they keep tweaking it, eventually you start to believe what they’re saying and your confidence takes a serious hit that can be hard to overcome. 
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to restore that confidence; in my experience, you just have to keep doing the thing that makes you feel self-conscious until it doesn’t make you self-conscious anymore.  
You’re already part of the way there; you stuck with musical theatre. That’s really good! Now you have to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Change up the harmonies you sing, audition for bigger parts, try out for the solo that’s up for grabs—find something that you don’t normally do and try it. Eventually, you’ll get more confident and start stepping out of your comfort zone even more, and that self-consciousness will disappear. 
Good luck! Break a leg! 
Dear GiGi, 
I’m going to be honest: I don’t like reading. I’m a really slow reader, I sometimes have trouble retaining what I read, and many books are just so boring, which makes both problems worse! I really want to like reading, but it seems impossible! Help! 
Read-y to Quit 

Dear Read-y to Quit, 
It’s okay to not like reading! Some people just don’t enjoy books, and that’s completely okay. But that can make school difficult, so good for you for wanting to like doing it more. I have a few suggestions that might make it easier. 
My first suggestion is to try listening to an audiobook. If you’re a slow reader, listening to an audiobook can speed things up and make stories a lot more fun. Listen to the audiobook while you’re getting ready for school in the morning, or while you’re tidying up your room; you’d be surprised how much time you can spend listening to a story. It also helps make boring books go by a little faster. 
My second suggestion is to find a book on your own time on at topic that you enjoy and read it. If all you are reading is what you’re required to read, it’s not going to be super fun. So if you can find a book that you really like and can read in your free time, it might help. 
My third suggestion is to divide reading up into more manageable chunks so you’re not reading an entire 400-page novel in a day. This means you’re going to have to start reading earlier if you have a deadline, but you might enjoy the book more if you’re not cramming.  
Find a cozy space to curl up and read your book, even if it’s just for five minutes. Then put the book down and do something else for the same amount of time, and just keep doing it back and forth until you’ve finished the story. 
I hope one of my suggestions helps you out; there’s a whole world waiting for you under that cover! 

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