Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Geek Love

By Alice Anders
From Wendy Lyn Watson's Mysteries a la Mode

My mom and my Aunt Tally always say that I can do anything if I just put my mind to it. But they're wrong. There are three things I absolutely cannot do (and believe me, I've tried):
  1. I can't make my boobs any bigger.
  2. I can't make my mom less crazy.
  3. I can't be cool.
I'm still struggling to accept the small boobs and the crazy mom (whose boobs are HUGE, by the way .... how unfair is that?). The uncool thing, though, I can live with.

I'm a geek, and I'm proud of it.

It isn't always easy. A skinny, flat-chested, braniac who couldn't drive until after she graduated from high school and wears clothes from the thrift store? I may as well have had a target on my back. I got used to the teasing, but then, my senior year, this cute boy named Mike Hardigan needed help with his algebra homework ... and his girlfriend, Missy Parker, did not take kindly to our tutoring sessions.

Geez. Like Mike Hardigan ever in a million years would have made a pass at me. Or like I would ever fall for a meathead who could barely add. But Missy Parker and her gaggle of empty-headed minions declared me Public Enemy #1. They started calling me a slut, taping pancakes to my locker (a clever jibe at my physique) ... they even created an online slam book on a social networking site and posted all sorts of messages about the guys I supposedly slept with.

Awesome, right?

I cried a lot, and I got sick to my stomach just about every day. Being bullied feels like someone kicking you in the gut over and over and over again. You can't get away; you can't defend yourself; and it feels like it's never going to end.

Me, I was lucky. I had my mom and my Aunt Tally to stand by me (mom's crazy, but she's not all bad). And I got to get out of high school a little early, head to college. Suddenly all the things that made me dorky--the things Missy Parker made fun of--made me edgy. Not cool, really. But geek chic. I can live with that.

Not everyone is so lucky. Some kids get bullied and they don't feel like they can turn to anyone. Or they get to college, and it's just not any better. So if you see someone who's getting picked on, don't wait for them to ask for help. Offer it.

Were you picked on or teased in school? How did you handle it? Any advice for kids who are being bullied?

You can read about Alice's geek chic life in the Mysteries a la Mode: I Scream, You Scream and Scoop to Kill. And you can visit Wendy on her website or on Facebook.


  1. Alice, you are a smart, brave young woman, and I look forward to reading more of the adventures of the ladies from the ice cream shop!

    Oh yeah, I got bullied. I was brainy AND painfully shy--and to cap it off, I had curly hair and big boobs in a time when everyone else had the opposite. I was a target too. Girls thought I was stuck up and a show-off, and guys saw no further than the boobs and thought I must be as hot-to-trot as the boobs implied. How did I deal with it? Well, mostly I hid! But then, just like you, I left school early, started to grow up, and discovered that most of the things that made school hell for me made life easier and more fun. That sort of took care of the shyness, too.

    So when I see adults tell teens, "These are the best years of your life," and see the oh-god-you-mean-it-doesn't-get-any-better-than-THIS? looks on their faces, I take them aside and say "Don't you believe it. Life most certainly does get better, and you're going to be just fine!"

  2. Great post, Alice. I wish I could grab every young, bullied kid out there and assure them that it does truly get better. Not only that, but so many of us who were bullied (for me it was 7th and 8th grade that stunk), turned out much better than our tormentors did.

  3. I wish I could protect every bullied kid. Hate, hate, hate that any kid would ever feel attacked. Just not right. No way, no how.

    Love the term "geek chic!" Am adding that to my vocab.

  4. I was teased and picked on and I hid in my room. I thank the stars that I had books to escape in.

    Julie's right, some of my tormentors have not lead a "good" life.

  5. Books are the best, right? No judgment.

    I'm glad to see I'm in such great company ... all of you who were picked on, you turned out great. I should be so lucky. :)

  6. Hi Alice,

    I am so sorry you were bullied in high school. As a school psychologist, I make it my mission to keep an eye out for bullies and make sure that they know they can't get away with that sort of behavior in my school!


  7. Alice, congratulations for growing above the bullying. You're lucky you had understanding adults around you. Some kids don't. I hope they can find kids' help lines to call. No one should have to put up with bullying.

  8. I'm with Laine here. I hate when I hear someone say that to a bullied kid; it makes them think it won't get any better...and believe me, the kids are truly going through hades. Sixth grade on up was sheer torture for me. I hated every minute of it. I used to pray every morning for them to just leave me alone for that one day. It never happened. I loved learning, but hated any social interaction.
    Ironically enough - some of the worst offenders are now on my Facebook (they added ME, not the other way around), and actually do leave positive comments. I have to wonder if they finally grew up, or just forgot, or have turned into really big hypocrites.

  9. {{HUGS}} I can empathize. I was teased all through school. Mine because I was always the new kid due to my dad being in the Air Force and I was overweight. I became more shy and chose my friends wisely, also realized I loved my own company over others. I developed a sense of humor,too, eventually.

  10. I don't think there is anything much scarier for a kid than becoming the focus of a bully. I encountered some as a kid but managed to mostly avoid them.

  11. Yes I was bullied. By a senior and I was a freshman. Finally one day she followed me to my bus and tried to grab me. Let my right leg fly backwards as hard as I could. Must have hit her in the stomach because as she sat on the dirt she could hardly breath. Funny thing...she stayed away from me. Now,know this,I'm 60 yrs old and I can still remember it this clearly. Please don't let this ever happen to any child you know. The memory never goes away :(