I am a hopeless awkward nerd.
I was when I was younger, I am now and I imagine I will always be that way. But let me explain how I've come to this statement.
What it doesn't talk about is the kids that couldn't overcome, like a 80's teen movie. Kids who never "got the girl", who showed the bully up or sang on a parade float. For every kid that thrived, there are 30 more who never got to shine. They couldn't break free of their station, couldn't escape the bullying, couldn't make new friends and didn't end the book, I mean high school, with an up-beat final thought. And because sometimes, the "real world" is just as cliquey, cruel and bullyish as high school. (Hello corporate America!) But that's a whole other blog...
I know I ran out the front doors screaming "FREEEEEDOOOOOM" on my last day. The blue face paint and kilt were probably overkill but what can I say? I was young and impulsive. Part of me (the selfish 16 year old me) wanted to yell at this book, "What about me?! I was tortured and bullied and hated life! Where's my Quirk Theory?!"
"Dear Me: A Letter to my 16 Year Old Self" by Joseph Galliano offers that opportunity to offer advice to my high school self. Or my injured inner teen. Or maybe actual kids out there. I won't get too personal but I would do things differently. You can survive without these "friends" who aren't really your friends. You can have a real life that has nothing to do with school. You can be free. School is just a place to get you to the next step, something more important.
In the end, the non-thriving geek was not really what the book was about. I'd love to read one that was. I wish I could do it again. At the very least, I wish I could tell kids that the 4-7 years of hell you have to endure feels like a lifetime but trust me, there's so much more. Even the time outside of school, after school, weekends, vacations, that is your real life. The moments when you are thrust into this twisted sociological experiment called high school isn't the only time you exist. Your social and academic life in high school don't validate your existence. The more you live outside school, the more you are you and there is opportunity to be happy and fulfilled.
Trust me. I survived and so can you.
Check out this great and humorous article about one girl's fight with her bully: