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ATP! Presents: Cassadee's Corner (October 2012)

Our very own in-house guidance counselor Cassadee Pope is back, with her latest monthly installment of "Cassadee's Corner".

Each month, Cassadee will be answering questions and offering advice about school, relationships, breaking into name it! If you have anything on your mind that you would like to ask Cassadee, drop her an e-mail at with the subject title "Cassadee's Corner" and your question might be featured in next month's column!

Hey Cass! I love music more than anything, and my ultimate goal is to be a singer, whether it be in a band or solo or whatever happens! But if it doesn't, I wanna be a part of the music industry somehow, working behind the scenes as a producer or manager of some sort. What's your best advice for getting on the inside of the business? I love music so much and I can't imagine doing anything else with my life.

I would suggest interning at a recording studio, record label, management office, or even a venue. Once you experience things first hand, and are able to fully grasp all the ins and outs (there are more than you could imagine), you'll be able to move on to the next level. If people enjoy working with you and you can prove yourself to be a hard worker, things can progress and they might recommend you to someone else! It's crazy how small the industry really is, so make sure you leave a good impression on people. It will help you later on. Good luck!

After 10 years I moved back to my hometown and I'm having a tough time getting closer to family members whom I haven't seen during that time. I'm a shy person so i don't talk much, my younger brother who is 5 has no problem and everybody loves him and as foolish as it seems I'm pretty jealous. Everybody is just fascinated by him and I feel forgotten. They don't try to get close to me and I don't know what to do or say. Any advice?

I'm sure your family doesn't mean to make you feel excluded in any way. They are probably thinking you're just as thrilled as they are to have a new addition to the family (well somewhat new.) I would voice these concerns. If your family is like any other, they will do whatever they can to make you feel more loved. I do recommend trying to stay open minded though.

I've been having lots of problems lately. I get scolded for every little thing I do, whether or not it's right or wrong, by my mother. She's made me cut myself again. I stopped for four months but I gave in yesterday. I would like to ask you for some advice. Please tell me what I should do. I think I'm beginning to go into the next stage of depression.

I genuinely think you should seek professional help. I can't imagine how hard it would be to never see eye to eye with my mother. It would be heartbreaking. But no matter how much pain you self-inflict, your relationship with your mother won't get any better. I don't know how deep these issues lie, or what happened to make you two misunderstand each other. But again, I think some mother/ daughter therapy and personal therapy can help put things into perspective for you both.

Hey. My older brother and I have always been pretty close. We used to do lots of things together and some of his friends have become my friends. But ever since he's gotten a girlfriend, we've grown apart. His girlfriend is very nice and I like her, but I dislike the amount of space she's created between me and my brother. He puts her before his own family. He even puts her family before us. His birthday is coming up soon and he's already made plans to spend it with her, while my family has to wait until the next weekend to even be able to see him (he lives away from home). I'm worried if I confront him about my feelings he will still choose her. What do I do?

I think the reality is that he's a grown up now with a girlfriend he's extremely serious about. He might marry her someday, who knows. I understand he lives away from home, which naturally puts a strain on your friendship anyway. Maybe he didn't come home right on his birthday for travel reasons. You can't jump to conclusions like he's choosing her over you. At the end of the day, he's your brother. If you told him this is bothering you, I'm sure he'd be sympathetic and offer a solution. Just make sure you approach him in a loving way, not accusatory.

I used to be best friends with this guy and I had really strong feelings for him that he never returned. I got too attached and eventually he couldn't take it anymore, so we stopped being friends. We don't see each other much now and barely ever talk, but he still affects me so much and I don't know how to let go. He's the first person I've cared so deeply about as far as romantic feelings go and I just really need to move on, because we're both better off without each other. Do you have any advice on how I can do that? Also, I'm a huge fan of yours and you're just a really inspirational person.

I think trying to cut off all communication and interaction with him for a while is the answer. If it's hard for you to be around him or speak to him, you need to do neither. I've always felt the best way to get over someone is to forget. For some people, that happens by finding someone new. For me, no communication has worked. I know that's a hard thing to do, but trust me, it's a bulletproof plan.

Hey Cass! So, my problem is the following: my whole life I've been really thin/skinny (in a healthy way), but a few years ago on 7th grade for some reason I got a little chubby. Never was considered "fat" but you could tell I had gained some weight. It's been 3-4 years now and I lost a lot of it! The thing is, that all the weight I lost, it was just "by luck" (I mean, I didn't do anything to lose it, you know: no diets, nor workout; not anything). Right now I'm pretty thin and finally starting to get my figure back and I would like to loose the remaining kilos by actually doing 'something'. But my mom is really worried about this. She promises me that she will call a nutritionist so we can discuss this but she never finally does. I've had this issue since February. One time around June she told me with almost her voice 'breaking' that she was afraid I was going to go to "the other side" (meaning me turning anorexic or bulimic). I really want to lose the remaining kilos because they make me feel extremely insecure, I just wish my tummy was all flat and wasn't a sort of "raise" between it and it's end. You know how it feels to be a 15-16 year old and feel judged by this! Please tell me a way in which I can get my mom to trust me in this one. I know it's a very serious issue. I wouldn't ever do anything to harm myself but as she won't help me, I can't help but not to eat everything I'm given. I really hope you can reply this, your point of view would be of much help. Thank you, love you lots, take care!

You sound like a healthy girl who just wants a body to be proud of. Although I'm sure your body is already beautiful, I can understand where you're coming from. But just to warn you, you might be one of those people who are never satisfied with their looks. It's very common, and it's a burden. That's probably why your mom is worried. She sees this beautiful, skinny girl who wants to lose weight. She's probably afraid you won't know when to stop! If your mom won't help you to achieve your goals, I think you should start doing it yourself. Go to the store with her and pick out healthy foods and drinks. Ask her to cook chicken instead of steak. Or have fruit instead of chocolate for desert. Not only is this helping you feel better about yourself, it's just plain good for your health. Also, you're not going to get a flat tummy by just eating healthy. Do some crunches in your room before bed or before school. Jog around your neighborhood. Both of those things cost nothing!

I live at two different houses, my mom's house and my dad's house. My 2 brothers, sister, step-dad, and my mom live in 1 house. My 2 cousins, my grandma, and my dad live at my dad's house. My cousins are 12 and 17. I'm 16, me and my 17 year old cousin used to be really close, but not anymore. I just stopped listening to what she had to say, because I really didn't care. All she ever talked about was herself. We were walking down the road one day and I was talking about this guitar and she said "Yeah I know it cost $500" and then started talking about herself again. Then I really started to get into music and started to kind of avoid her. We don't talk at all anymore. My grandma gets upset that I don't talk to her anymore. When it first started My grandma asked me if the devil had taken over my soul. My cousin calls my mom sometimes and among other things, they talk about me. My mom tells me, and she asks why I don't talk to her. It's just really weird. We still live together and sometimes are the only 2 home. What should I do?

I think you and your cousin need to find a middle ground. She wants to talk about herself, and you want to talk about yourself. There has to be a compromise somewhere. Friendships often fall to the wayside because one or both people don't listen to one another. I think you both should sit down and be honest with each other. I'm sure you'll be surprised to find she probably feels the same way towards you. That's not to say either one of you is wrong. People can't always be on the same page. I'm sure with the right discussion, you guys will get back to where you were before things got tricky.

One of my guy friends is kind of sensitive about the littlest things. He's a cool guy but he can get sulky at any time. He can stop talking to me over some small things that I joke about. I just had 3 months of holidays and he wasn't talking to me when the holidays were about to start. But sometime later during the holidays, I did talk to him, we texted each other and all. We made up. Things were clear, no hard feelings. But when we see each other in person he just won't say a thing. He keeps avoiding me up until now. It seems like he hates me. He speaks to the others normally but me. He does talk to me but as little as possible (only when he really needs to talk to me) I tried to talk to him but he just kept avoiding me you know? :( We had a thing going on for like 5 months but he seemed to know that I'm not looking for anything between us and he just started drifting himself away from me. Do you think it may be the reason he keeps avoiding me? what should I do? I wanna stay friends you know. It feels like I'm losing a good friend. And I don't want to let that happen :'( What should I do to get it normal again? Thoughts?

It sounds like your friend may still have feelings for you and he's trying to push them aside. Maybe he's keeping his distance so he won't start liking you more than a friend again. Once you cross that line between friendship and romance, it's really hard to get back to friendship. Especially if it's not exactly mutual. I say give him his space and let him come to you. He's obviously going through some inner struggles and needs time. It won't be easy for you to step back but I think if you really care for him, you'll let him heal.

Hi Cassadee! I need some advice, and I hope you can help. I'm from a small town in Northern California where people are completely different than me. I always get hate for the way I dress, the music I listen to, and the fact that I DON'T do drugs/give in to peer pressure. I try to stay strong and believe in myself, but sometimes the weird looks and constant negativity gets really hard to deal with... What do you think is the best way to deal with these people?

These people sound like a close minded group. Someone should never be criticized by the music they listen to or the clothes they wear. You should pride yourself on the fact that you don't do drugs and give in to peer pressure. They probably know what they're doing is wrong, and are feeling guilty about it. So they take that out on you by making you feel like you're "weird" for not going with the crowd. I'm sure this isn't easy for you to deal with, but you have to stay strong. If you give in to peer pressure, who's to say they'll even accept you then? You have to stay true to what feels right, and stay away from what you know is wrong. Be thankful you know the difference. They're going to learn the hard way.

My name is Katey. And I like this guy, but he told me that he just wants to be friends. But he never said that we couldn't be more. But what I'm getting at is I don't know what more I can do to prove to him that I can be what he wants. But I seem to get really awkward around him, so Cassadee what should I do?? Help!!

I've always said everyone deserves to be with someone who wants them equally as much. If this guy said flat out that he doesn't want to be more than friends, then I think it's best for you to respect that. You may even find that by accepting a friendship and nothing more, you will become more comfortable around him. That might even change his mind about you, and ultimately give you exactly what you wanted in the first place. But chasing a guy who has been up front with you from the start is not the way to go. Put the idea of romance out of your head, if possible, and focus on yourself. The more comfortable and confident you are the more attractive you will become to him. Eventually things will fall into place. You'll either get this guy, or find another who wants to be with you right off the bat!

Everything is falling apart. Nothing is going right anymore. I'm trying so hard in school and I can't seem to get the right grades. My home life sucks. I'm trying hard to be everything my parents want and it's not happening. It's to the point where I've given up on my family life altogether. I'd love to leave but it's not possible right now.. It feels like everything in my life is going wrong. I'm trying so hard to look on the bright side of things, but I can't see a bright side. I keep trying to find something to hold onto until things get better, but everything I care about is leaving. It's hard for me right now.. Any advice on how to hold on until things get better? I've been throwing myself into music but it only works for a few minutes. I need things to be fine now because I cant wait anymore.. Oh and I watched the voice with my grandma and you killed it! great job. :)

I'm not sure about the specifics of your situation but it sounds like you might be in a bit of a depression. Music does help, but like you said it lasts for as long as you let it. Try spending more time outside. Sitting in the grass or taking long walks is more healing than you'd think. If there's a way to hike where you live, do that as well. Nature has a way of making you feel like your problems are much smaller in the grand scheme of things. I always feel amazing both physically and mentally after a workout. As you probably know, exercise produces endorphins. Those give you a sense of well-being. Try to be more active, and you will see the difference in your everyday outlook on life.

I feel a bit discouraged that I'll never reach my dream because there is some evidence that tells me that I'm not good/smart enough. I do have confidence that if I work hard, I'll get there, but it will take me some time. About how long is it too long to have been working on it, and at what point is it a better idea to just find a different career path?

The worst part about setting a goal for yourself is this invisible timeline we create. I used to say by the age of 18 I wanted to be a famous singer! Obviously that didn't happen. But I haven't given up, and my dreams have evolved into much more than being a "famous singer." You have to be ready for rejection and disappointments. Even when amazing things happen, there's almost always a few clouds lingering above. I can't give you an exact number of years in which it takes to become successful. For some, it takes half their life. But as long as you feel hungry for it, you should keep going. I think it's time to reevaluate your dream when working towards it becomes a chore. As long as your having fun and enjoying your journey, you shouldn't quit.

My question is about a friend of a friend. I moved in with girl #1 a few months ago, and met girl #2 shortly after. they've known each other for a long time, and i'm really trying to be friends with girl #2, but she's always very short with me, almost like she's angry, and i'm not sure why. sometimes she gets on the verge of being downright mean. i know some people maybe aren't meant to be friends, but i'm trying really hard and i'm not ready to give up on it just yet. any advice on what i could do?

I would talk to friend #1 about it. Maybe girl #2 feels threatened by your friendship with #1 since they've known each other for so long. The dynamic between girlfriends is ever-changing and when a new friend comes along, it creates a shift. The bottom line is she shouldn't be treating you that way if you never gave her a reason in which to do so.

Okay so my question is: I hope to be a songwriter and maybe a singer one day, but I was just wondering for some advice on how to get my feelings/thoughts down and onto paper and into a song? It's like amazing songwriters such as yourself, Alex Gaskarth and Hayley Williams for example write amazing lyrics! I know what I want to say in my head, it's just translating it onto the paper in more detailed/professional wording. Secondly, do you have any tips on how to improve my voice? Any foods or drinks which can help my voice or which I should stay away from? ANY ADVICE WOULD BE GREAT, THANK YOU AND LOVE YOU :D

First off, thank you so much for putting me in the same category as those amazing writers! Lyrics were always the second focus for me. The first is melodies. I usually write the melodies first, then fill them in with lyrics. Everyone is different though. Co-writing really helped me to evolve as a lyricist. Try bringing in a second brain during the writing process. You might find that they can open your mind to things you wouldn't have thought on your own. As for improving your voice, vocal exercises are the best things to build up your range. Make sure you warm up before singing and cool down after. Also, NO SCREAMING EVER. Drinking alcohol is bad for the vocal chords, try to stay away from dairy on the days you sing, give yourself a few hours to wake up before you start singing, and throat coat with lemon juice and honey is great to drink before and after singing.

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