To the Young Ones – Being a Nerd Won’t Always Hurt Like It Does Today

While my son was away from his seat at the cafeteria today, another child thought that it would be hilarious to throw his lunch / lunch bag into the trash can. Apparently the kids had been hiding his backpack during lunch on other days, but this is the first time that one of the items actually made it into the garbage.

The obvious question seems to be, “Knowing this dynamic, why leave your stuff unattended around those creeps, and why sit there anyway?” Well the school is very funny about keeping tables to a specific number of children. The old “I put my stuff there first so it’s my seat” rule is law. Weird? I think so. The way it is? Yes. Also that happens to be where my son’s friends sit, and, understandably, he wants to sit by them.

Middle school lunch can be social quicksand. Despite being well aware of this dynamic, my heart felt raw as I listened to my son tell me about how he had to dig through the school trash can to fish his lunch out of it. My sadness turned to anger when he told me how it was soaking wet from the discarded food and drinks and how he had to carry the bag with him to all of his remaining classes. He handed me one of his final exam reviews that is due tomorrow. It reeked of garbage and was shredded from being soaked. Normally he would have had a backpack for his assignments, but backpacks aren’t allowed during finals week. Instead he kept it in his lunch bag because there was nothing in there that would have messed it up. Apparently the only crap that could cause damage was in fact sitting in seats adjacent to said bag.

I’m tired of the immature jackass behavior that is rife in schools today. I’m even more exasperated with a feckless school disciplinary system that does nothing to wake these jerks out of their collective cruel stupor. The bullies believe that their meanness is comical, and although I will bring up this nonsense with the school administration, there will be no real consequence. Hope you nerds enjoy your garbage-flavored lunches and shredded assignments compliments of the social lemmings!

Unfortunately, as the years go by, you will find that the jerks and bullies still manage to fly their creep flags in full color. The social drama and cliques that people should outgrow after middle and high school will continue to appear more often than you can fathom. Social media amongst adults is uglier than any kid you ever saw. Some people in your life will find ways to hurt you to a degree that you could never even imagine.

Nevertheless, it does get better. Once you get older, you get to choose. You choose your partners, your friends, your job. You decide where you will live, what you will wear, and how you spend your time. You realize thay sometimes you roll your eyes at the craziness of it all, walk away from the computer, and put your phone on silent. Athough you may not always like your range of choices, they are yours to make. You get to decide the kind of life you want to live and with whom you will spend that precious time.

You learn to own who you are, and you stop apologizing for being different. You realize that you don’t want to be the same as everyone else. In fact, you want to shine in your own unique way. You don’t need for every person who knows you to like you, and you realize that all the “perfect” and “popular” people around you have plenty of problems of their own.

You just have to get through this part now. And when something else comes along that delivers your spirit another kick, don’t give in then either. It always gets better if you can muster a shred of hope and give it a little more time.

Don’t allow anyone else to put out your spark, and don’t sacrifice your light to someone else who stumbles in a moment of darkness. Never ever forget that their unkind actions are a reflection of who they are, not who you are.

So often the outcasts of the world are the very people who change it for the better. The nerds shake up the status quo, shape our minds, and provide vision to us all. The ones who are different are the ones who make a difference.

As a parent, it scratches my core raw when my children hurt like this. It takes everything within me to maintain a cool emotional facade because all I want to do is cry. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, least of all my own darling children, and I know what it’s like to feel like you are watching the world from the outside. I understand being consumed by deep loneliness and feeling like you are being excluded. I don’t want this pain for my amazing family.

But taking a <a href=”http://retrospective“>retrospective look at my life also allows me to see that those same painful experiences have shaped me into a better person. While I still feel a heavy sadness at the memory of the cruelties I endured, I wouldn’t go back in time and change them. I developed strength, sass, and spitfire, and I will never allow anyone to take that away from me. It took me a long time to know it, but I can tell you this now – I am a serious bad ass. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet on your side, you are, too. You just have to own it.

You have been dealt this hand because you are strong enough to survive it and wise enough to learn from it. Treat others with the kindness you would want to receive. Be braver than those who can’t survive outside of the herd. Allow the light of your uniqueness to shine without shame even if others try to shut you down. And just in case the jerks are out and about, maybe wear pants with pockets so you can carry hand sanitizer and a snack. 😉

You may feel like people don’t see you now, but they will. You can’t hide light like that forever. So keep shining. Always

Love, light, sass, uniqueness, spitfire, wonder, and nerdiness to you – Jo

Retrospective

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. juliehcares
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 00:01:47

    Those kids are horrible and it’s not the bullies that get in trouble, it’s the kids that have finally had enough and stand up to them. It’s so sad

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 05, 2018 @ 05:20:14

      Our kids know that they will be toast if they ever pull crap like that with other children. We are fans of old school labor and embarrassment, and we will use both in abundance if they ever do that. I just hope that they wouldn’t. Being a dumb kid is one thing, but being unkind like that is something I just can’t comprehend. Why behave that way? What tells you that you should pull that kind of crap? The saddest part is that I’m sure those kids aren’t evil at all. They just feed off the way that they feel superior when they are bullying someone whom they don’t get. It makes me so sad, but it also makes me want to put them on trash duty like we had at my school growing up. Act like a jerk? Cool! Here’s your trash bag! Have fun picking up the cafeteria yourself!

      Reply

  2. José María López
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 00:22:01

    At my early years as a student my family moved a lot. I went to four elementary schools in different cities so I was always the new shy nerdy kid on the block. Being perceived as shy and alone is always a magnet for bullies.
    What I learned is that if you don´t want to be bullied stop being a magnet for bullies.
    I didn´t like sports but I kicked the soccer ball pretty hard and I was pretty good at basketball. They respected that. It only took a couple of years of karate lessons and two kicks to one guy for them to understand that I was not as harmless as I looked.
    The only thing my parents never forced me to do was to be more sociable. I wish they had; even though I am kind of a loner and love it I wish my parents had forced me to be more sociable, my life would have been much easier with stronger social skills.
    You don´t have to stop being different and authentic or become a complete jerk to get accepted by the “perfect” and “popular”, but you can always look more confident and competent. I think that is the best gift our parents can give us through education, to be competent at all life domains possible.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 05, 2018 @ 05:25:47

      We have tried to teach our son to act indifferent. My middle daughter was born a master of indifference. She can pretend like she doesn’t care all day long. My youngest is a tyrant, so I’m more worried for the rest of the world in her case. But my son is different. He wears his emotions openly and is the perfect kid to bully. He gets visibly frustrated and he stinks at comebacks (but he is starting to get much better at them!). I wish that there was a way to teach him not to care, but I absolutely agree that trying to get him involved with others is important. We have moved repeatedly, too, and it has had its ups and downs. I hope that he will find his core people and feel settled. I think that he is moving that direction. I just wish the bored mean kids would move another direction of their own.

      Reply

      • José María López
        Jun 05, 2018 @ 14:32:56

        You mention kindness, nerdiness and other stuff that I feel very personal and want to share with you because I think as a man now I have another perspective.
        I write this long paragraph because it is very personal to me and it has been fundamental for my well-being.
        I want you to see this quote from Carl Jung: “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” He said that virtue does not lie on being a good person, but lies on being dangerous but in control of it.
        I think it is all a matter of balancing our feminine and masculine traits. Bullies get their masculine traits usually from aggressive parents. Kids get a lot of feminine traits from being very close to their mothers. In my case, I´ve always been kind of a loner so most of my interactions were with my mother and my three sisters.
        Being kind sounds great, but believe me, as a male kid is a huge hit to your self-esteem, it is the least you want to be. Even as an adult I remember a mentor (woman) who once asked me if I was gay because I am too kind and well-mannered. As an adult you can handle it, even laugh at it, but as a kid is not funny at all. Now I still can be extremely kind with people I love but I can be a real jerk with people mean to me. And it feels good!!
        It is necessary to learn to use your dark side, otherwise you become naive and everybody takes advantage of you. Your kindness says yes to everybody, you need to be in touch with your dark side to say no. You need to be a jerk sometimes to get a promotion at your job; harmless and always nice people don´t get promotions most of the time (they don´t look like “leaders”). You need to be a jerk sometimes to attract the girl you like; it is not a matter of finding the love of your life, but a matter of the self-esteem boost you feel for winning from time to time.
        Assertiveness training is a huge chunk of psychotherapy and coaching. Without assertiveness we feel like losers, we grow resentful and lose the confidence to achieve success.
        We can say that nerds change the world, but not any kind of nerd. Zuckerberg, Musk, Gates, Buffett are all nerds but they are not “nice” guys. They are very aware of their dark side and take advantage of it all the time. They are pretty tough guys.
        Politeness and kindness work pretty well for women; you are more compassionate and know how to handle emotions better, but men have much more aggressiveness inside us and you don´t want to eat it all the time and grow resentful until it explodes. You don´t want to look like the easy prey.
        I do not say to become a jerk but I do say that we need manly stuff to do to channel out that agressiveness, to feel strong, to feel competent, to be admired. Women don´t need that much, but for men is paramount, it´s a very masculine trait.
        I wish I had understood this as a youngster and that my parents taught me to be more badass and less preoccupied to be gentle and well-mannered.
        It would be interesting to question your personal experience: Did you become a badass because of those experiences? or could you overcome those experiences and learn from them because you were already a badass just like your youngest seems to be?

      • Jo Price
        Jun 06, 2018 @ 00:18:45

        Well as always my friend you have my brain working in a frenzy in response to your comment. Per my parents, I wasn’t a difficult child, but per my memory, I was a pain in the rear the moment I left the hoo-hah. It wasn’t that I was a troublemaker by any means, but I was very resolute. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of person, and trust me, that is definitely not the best way to be.

        I have done well in business because I can be extremely tough when I need to be. I have been a jerk before, but frankly, I strongly disagree with the sentiment that you have to be a jerk to be successful. There are many examples of CEOs who have run companies with strength and with assertion without being jackasses. You do have to stand up for yourself but if you have to be a jerk to attract somebody, that’s probably not the healthiest relationship. If you have to be a jerk to do well in a company, what kind of people are surrounding you? How machiavellian is that environment? I agree that there are people who have done well by using those techniques, but again, I disagree that you have to do that to succeed. Keep in mind that there are many people who have worked with me and for me that will tell you that I can be a serious jerk at times, but the reality is that everybody can. I’m not justifying my bad behavior. I simply stating that it’s reality.

        I don’t think that we should aim for that kind of behavior, and we definitely shouldn’t encourage our children to be mean. There is enough meanness this in the world already. I’m firmly against allowing people to push you around, and I believe that you absolutely have to stand up for yourself. However that is not the same thing as bullying somebody.

        Don’t match another person’s cruelty and meanness. Protect yourself when necessary, meet them with indifference when you can, and find better people to surround yourself with as soon as you are able.

        I assure you that I am extremely aware of my shadow side, and it rears its head on a daily basis. But I don’t want to give it the reins to control my life either. That’s not the person I choose to be. ❤️

  3. cindy knoke
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 01:25:26

    “I’m tired of the immature jackass behavior that is rife in schools today. ”
    I so commiserate with how you feel.
    But is worse than that. Those immature jackasses are leading our country.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 05, 2018 @ 05:05:42

      It’s a huge problem in our society overall. The unchecked meanness is everywhere. It’s unbelievable to me to see how the kids behave, but it’s even worse to see the adults.

      Reply

  4. foodzesty
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 01:45:35

    🙂

    Reply

  5. mommylion
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 07:18:27

    My heart hurts for your son. Middle school is the worst.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 05, 2018 @ 08:08:35

      It’s so so is! Every now and then my husband will say to me how he would love to be young again, and all I can do is stare at him with total disbelief. Is he insane? There isn’t enough money in the world to pay me to go through that nonsense again. Ironically I find that I’m going through it again anyway via my kids. Didn’t see that one coming! I love your screen name by the way. Every kid needs a good mommy lion. ❤️

      Reply

  6. I tripped over a stone.
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 12:50:40

    I don’t envy you having to raise kids in today’s world. I never was on the receiving end of bullying… I did go through being teased (I was a chubby little girl.) I fought many battles when my brother was bullied for being ‘Korean’. (My adopted little brother who I saw as my own flesh always.) But the fights and yelling and carrying on never did any good. I tried to teach him comebacks and indifference… man, I just know how absolutely hurtful some kids can be. I do know that the bullies often were mimicking their parent’s behavior. I was on the receiving end of adult acting like real assholes to my father who was mayor for over 10 years. I don’t know when as adults we decided we could make up our own rules and not suffer the consequences? But some do. May your son realize he has one heck of a mom! And what a treasure he must be!!! xo. ~Kim

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 05, 2018 @ 12:59:21

      I know that it’s not true in every single circumstance out there, but so often the apple really does not fall far from the tree. It’s extremely frustrating because the problems that we see are being validated by parents who are afraid to do anything or unwilling to see that their kids can do these kinds of things. I learned a long time ago to remove the phrase “my kid would never do that” from my vocabulary. Kids can do anything. They’re young. They’re goofballs. They make poor choices. We all do. But as parents, we have to enforce better behavior standards for them. It’s very frustrating. I just have to hope that my son will be a better person for surviving all of this nonsense and learning that being mean is never the way to go in life.

      Reply

  7. snakesinthegrass2014
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 18:27:14

    I’m so sorry. I was a victim of bullying through junior high… it’s horrible. It does get better eventually. Hang in there… – Marty

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 25, 2018 @ 14:09:38

      It does but man it stinks while you are in it! I do believe that it forces us and makes us better though. Look at the rockstars are now! 😉 Big hugs to you! Jo ❤️

      Reply

  8. bone&silver
    Jun 05, 2018 @ 20:41:07

    Kids SUCK sometimes. I felt so sad for your boy… and angry too. Just keep supporting him; is there a school counsellor to keep an eye on him too? Bullying is rife on social media, so make sure he doesn’t get targeted there too

    Reply

  9. José María López
    Jun 06, 2018 @ 07:34:54

    We are talking about the same. It is all a matter of balance. When I say jerk I do not mean to be an obnoxious person, I mean a person who is not afraid to be a jerk sometimes if that is required to stand up for himself, who can be tough when it is necessary, who does not allow to be pushed around by others.
    As for attraction, I mean the same, women prefer secure men who can stand up for themselves. There is always the potential for a jerk to appear (and will appear) for a moment but that is even better than the idea of being around a weak man even if he is the perfect gentleman all the time.

    I do not encourage to raise a kid as someone mean; that is not who I am, but I do encourage to teach them not to be afraid to be jerks for a second if that is what it takes to stand up for himself. That is what I understand Carl Jung meant; to be enlightened does not mean to be light all the time, but to accept your dark side too. If you are afraid of your dark side you get obsessed with being always nice, being good all the time, then you become an insecure person who is abused by others, then you become resentful and at that moment your dark side starts taking over.

    As everything in life, it is just a matter of balance. ❤

    Reply

  10. Lori_Lounge
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 09:21:04

    Me and my partner joke around with our son saying he is our Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. My son loves it because he is really smart, got into gifted classes and continue to blossom. But at the end of the day he gets bullied a lot and tried to be friends with everyone, even when they are not being friendly. So I will say this I am sorry your son had to go through that. As a mother it pisses me off that kids can be so cruel. I know one of my siblings thought it would be cute to bully someone and when I say my mother is “old school.” She showed up at our school with her rob and her hair looking a mess. She really did. 😦 My mother sat with my daughter for a week while she had silent lunch. My sister was too embarrassed to bully another child. lol

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 07, 2018 @ 10:19:28

      As a mother, I feel like embarrassment is my #1 tool to put crappy kid behavior in check. The last thing they want is to look like a dork in front of their peers, and there are so many reasonable things that can be done that wouldn’t scar them for life but would remind them what it feels like to have to do something that is embarrassing. It helps to have our perspective refreshed – especially kids who are probably good people but are acting like creeps! Your mama so sounds like my kind of people. I LOVE IT! And if you and your love ever decide to bust out old schools ways, TAKE PICS because I would love to see it!!! Lol

      Reply

  11. overthehillontheyellowbrickroad
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 12:31:07

    I can add, as a writer, rejections have made me stronger. 🙂

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 19, 2018 @ 07:11:34

      I agree. I know that they are an important part of the self-developmwnt process. I just seriously missed reality when I thought that I had graduated from school and left all that behind. It stinks to go through it again via the babies! 😉

      Reply

  12. Shania
    Jun 26, 2018 @ 18:38:38

    This is heartbreaking but well written. I too have seen things like this happen. It even happens when people see you as different, or you like something they don’t. I want there to be a way or some type of community where all types of people can come together and know it’s ok to like what they want and revel in the fact that there are people who are like them. Heh, I guess that’s why I became a writer if I think about it.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Jun 26, 2018 @ 21:41:10

      First of all – I adore anyone who goes by The Social Hobbit. I would even adore you if you were an anti-social hobbit. 😉 And I agree with you completely. There was a boy at a theater the other day who was taking tickets. He had on lovely jewelry and amazing makeup. He was truly beautiful. When I saw him, I felt a huge rush of emotions. All I could think was how beautiful he was (or maybe she depending on how he or she identifies), but I know how unkind people can be. I loved that he/she was just owning that sense of self and rocking it like a model. I pray that people stop worrying about the difference that others show and instead start celebrating them. I’m thankful that you chose writing, too, dear hobbit. I so look forward to reading all about the Shire I know you must be rocking, too. ❤️😘❤️

      Reply

      • Shania
        Jun 26, 2018 @ 23:14:43

        Thank you! And wow, I love when people can be confident enough to do that. It takes courage, and I will always give my utter respect to them. People in this world need to see that weird is a good thing. It’s what makes everyone special. And thank you, the Shire is quite rocking indeed XD 🙂

  13. Jo Price
    Jun 26, 2018 @ 22:02:59

    Reblogged this on Life in the Spectrum.

    Reply

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