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Young & Isolated — With Shirley Manson

Feeling like an outsider is one of the hallmarks of adolescence, but in today’s episode we hear from two 16-year-olds who have cause to feel especially isolated. One girl is home-schooled and rarely leaves the house. When she does get out, she’s crippled by social anxiety. A second girl feels disconnected from her best friend, who has suddenly become popular at school. Both letter writers wonder if they’ll ever feel comfortable in their own skin.

Shirley Manson, the lead singer of the alternative rock band Garbage, joins the Sugars to discuss her own journey as an outsider. She assures the letter writers that though they may feel like outcasts, they are not alone — most teenagers at some point feel inferior to their peers.

“When you’re young you’re taught to compare yourself against others,” she says. “And of course, as you get older and older, you realize how futile that practice is.”

Garbage’s 1998 album, “Version 2.0,” topped charts all over the world and garnered multiple Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year. The band went on to release four more albums: “Beautiful Garbage,” “Bleed Like Me,” “Not Your Kind of People” and “Strange Little Birds.” Garbage has sold over 17 million albums worldwide and performed in over 35 countries.

Today’s episode features the song “Beloved Freak” from Garbage’s 2012 album, “Not Your Kind of People.”

The Sugars Recommend

“Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Brontë
“The Liars’ Club,” “Cherry” and “LIT: A Memoir,” by Mary Karr
“The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls
“Educated: A Memoir,” by Tara Westover


New episodes of Dear Sugars are released weekly. Do you have a question for the Sugars? Email dearsugars@nytimes.com.

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