September 30, 2015 I’m Super Nervous About A Gymnastic Party! Dear Nikki, OMG!! NOOOO!!!!! I have to go to my friend Alyssa’s birthday party and it’s at a place called “The Gymnast’s Elite” and I’m sorta…well…FAT. I’m really excited, don’t get me wrong! BUT I NEED SERIOUS HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Your Friend, Emily the Sorta Gymnast My Advice: Hi Emily! How exciting that Alyssa is having a different sort of birthday party, but I can totally understand how you feel about it. For one thing, you might be wondering what a gymnastics birthday party is. I know I am! Will you have to do backflips to get a slice of cake? LOL. (I’m sure you won’t!) Since you mentioned insecurity about your weight, I’m guessing your concern might be about what you’ll wear. If you have to wear a leotard, you’ll probably feel like I did at my cousin’s birthday party this summer. I cannonballed into the pool and stayed there until I was pruney! But first of all, I think you’ll be wearing your normal clothes. I was curious about gymnastics parties, so I looked them up on line and I saw kids wearing their normal clothes, using cool gymnastics equipment at a gym. To put your mind at ease, you could ask Alyssa, “Do I need to wear anything special?” I bet she’ll say you can wear whatever you want. If it turns out you do have to wear a leotard, just bring your favorite t-shirt or shorts (or both!) to wear over the top. It’s a birthday party—they’re going to want everyone to feel comfortable and have fun. (If you were training for the next Olympics, that would be a different story. But you’re not hoping to get a gold medal—just a goody bag.) In that case, you should wear something that makes you feel fantastic. I’m guessing you have at least one outfit or piece of jewelry or nail polish that makes you feel especially confident, maybe because it’s your favorite color, or the last time you wore it you aced a test or got up the courage to talk to your crush. Whatever it is, wear something that makes you feel good. It might also help to arrive with someone you trust, who makes you laugh and knows you’re awesome and would never make you feel badly about yourself. If you have a friend like this and she’s also invited, see if you can carpool and arrive as a united force, ready to be the best birthday-gymnasts that gym has ever seen! If you can carpool with someone—or even buddy up with someone as soon as you get there—I bet they’ll be grateful too. New situations can be stressful for everyone – even kids who seem the most confident. I guarantee you’re not the only one nervous about this party. If all else fails, try the Wonder Woman pose. I’M NOT KIDDING! There is actual science that says if you stand for a minute with your legs wide and your hands on your hips, chest thrust out and chin up, it boosts your confidence! For real! You can look this up! So if you need to, duck into a bathroom and summon your inner Wonder Woman before heading into the party. (This works before tests or public speaking or any time you might feel insecure.) We put so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way, but the main thing is to be active and healthy and recognize all the things that make us awesome. The fact that you’re excited about this party, even though there are parts of it that make you nervous, shows me you’re an awesome friend. I wonder what else is awesome about you—I bet there’s a long list. What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Emily?