An Open Letter To Adolescents Who Are Seen As So-Called “Losers”

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Ezra Miller and Emma Watson from “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” (2012); I SO wish I had friends like these in high school, the way their characters, Patrick and Sam, accepted and befriended Charlie, played by Logan Lerman. Photo courtesy of musingsofabookshopgirl.blogspot.com

 

THIS IS A REVISED VERSION OF AN ARTICLE I DID ON THE SITE HUBPAGES.COM IN 2010.

AS I FEEL THE SUBJECT MATTER IS RELEVANT TODAY AND ALWAYS WILL BE, IN LIGHT OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR STARTING I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO PLACE THIS ON THIS BLOG.

 

If you are a tween or a teenager who isn’t seen by others as popular or “cool”, read on…

Greetings Young People,

Assuming that my calculations are correct, you have started a new school year after a summer that I’m sure seemed to fly by.

I’m also fairly positive that many of you, if not most of you, have been dreading the start of school like the plague because you’re seen by far too many of your classmates as different in the way you look, behave, or in the way you march to the “beat of a different drummer”.

And I imagine those differences have led to some bad times.

You have probably spent years being called a “dork”, a “geek”, a “loser”, or a combination of those names.

Kids may have done some blatant harm to you such as push you into lockers or throw things at you,

The opposite gender shudders at the thought of standing anywhere near you,

And I wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting all by your lonesome at lunch, or with other so-called “geeks”.

 

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Something that broke my heart every time I saw it, which was quite a bit during my time working in the education field. Photo courtesy of heraldsun.com.au

 

Or perhaps you’ve been the victim of cyber-bullying, where people have called you all sorts of vile things on the Internet for all to see, which seems to be a popular thing to do these days.

Most likely, you’re probably like I was at your age, mostly alone and lonely because you’re seen as strange; hardly anybody wants to hang with you, and the ones who do pay attention to you do so in ways that induces feelings of inferiority and other negative feelings.

Believe me when I say that during the bulk of the seven years I spent from sixth grade through my senior year of high school, I was a lot like you as for quite a bit of my first month of 10th grade I stayed home in bed because I didn’t want to be shunned or abused, which is how I felt many of my fellow students interacted with me in calling me stupid, ditching me, and letting me know in no uncertain terms that they had no desire to even get to know me, let alone become friends with me.

I know how it is to be bullied and disrespected, causing strong feelings of inferiority and depression as a result.

I would also like to let you in on something…

 

YOU ARE NOT INFERIOR IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM WHATSOEVER.

YOU ARE NOT A DWEEB, A LOSER, OR ANY OF THOSE NASTY ADJECTIVES.

YOU ARE A WORTHY HUMAN BEING WHO DESERVES LOVE, RESPECT, AND ACCEPTANCE FOR THE PERSON YOU ARE.

 

Just because you don’t look or act “cool” does not mean there’s anything wrong with you.

I remember when I was a P.E. teacher, there was this ten-year old girl who was made fun of regularly and considered by her classmates as a so-called “geek”. I went up to this girl one day before class after someone had dissed her and said,

“Don’t worry, they’ll be working for you some day.”

Which is often the case as the ones who were so-called “nerds” in school are oftentimes the ones accomplishing great things as adults with their seven and eight figure bank accounts, going to their class reunions in stretch hummer limousines.

 

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I think it should go without saying that the world would be a better place a million times over if every young person was accepted and liked by everyone else like these young folks seemingly are. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

If you don’t believe me, try googling the name Bill Gates sometime.

What I’m trying to say is although you may be having a rough time socially in school and your world in general, know that there are people who care about you.

And not just your mom and dad, either.

Regardless of how bad things may get, please don’t do anything stupid to be “accepted” by changing your behavior to fit in with those so-called “cool kids”; trust me when I say it’s just not worth it because you’ll lose yourself and feel like a phony deep down.

Always be yourself and find friends who’ll accept you just the way you are, warts and all as believe it or not, they really do exist.

Coming from someone who was seen by too many of his peers as a so-called “dork”,  please believe me when I tell you this:

 

YOU ARE PERFECTLY FINE AND DANDY JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

 

I don’t know how I can make that sentiment any clearer.

So even though life may continue to be socially difficult at times, please do your best to hang in there and stay strong.

Find somebody to talk to anytime you feel desperate or mistreated, anyone who will listen; an adult is an ideal option.

And always keep in mind that you are worthy and you matter, regardless of what those arrogant jerks and mean girls may say or do to you.

Suffice it to say, I wish you nothing but the best for this school year – and beyond!

 

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I like this picture, an image of how things should be. Photo courtesy of scattergood.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Report on the Progress of My Book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”

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A good illustration of the different phases of Autism Spectrum Disorder, from high to low functioning. Image courtesy of outlooksw.co.uk

 

With my self-imposed deadline of (self) publishing the book I’ve been working on for a few years, describing the struggles I’ve had being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder in a neurotypical world throughout my life, just around the corner – June 1st to be precise,

Which by the way will be just in time for my 50th birthday later that month,

I wanted to give a brief update on how things were going with the editing and rewriting of “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

To put it in four words:

It’s going pretty well.

Particularly since I’ve been diligent in doing the work, making sure to set aside at least one day a week to rewrite and edit.

 

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What much of my social experiences in school and beyond have been like – not from everyone, but from too many people. Photo courtesy of autism.lovetoknow.com

 

In fact, I’m planning on chapter three, which describes the bullying I took during my youth from quite a few of my peers – one in particular who won’t be named – being finished this week with chapter four, which will describe the alienation I have felt and most unfortunately still feel at times from my fellow African-Americans and that community because of my aspieness and the perception of many (not all, but enough to cause lasting trauma) of my fellow blacks of me being a so-called “Goofy Mark” resulting from that, being started on next week.

And hopefully finished by Labor Day.

Which will keep me on schedule as if I approach the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with at least two-thirds if not three-fourths of the book done, I’ll be quite pleased.

Being that I’m working on WALKING ON EGGSHELLS at least once a week and sometimes twice, I’m confident that will be the case.

Especially since I’ve been making cuts in the chapters, and plan to eliminate a certain chapter all together to make the book more precise.

I’ll have another update on my editing and rewriting progress, as I believe this will be my fourth rewrite, in a few weeks.

As well as explain why I’m taking on this endeavor; I think I owe everyone that.

 

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Lonely girl next to group of children – This is what I’ve experienced and how I  have felt for much of my life, even as an adult. Photo courtesy of followme.org

 

 

PERSONAL OLYMPIC MEMORIES

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The Coliseum peristyle on July 28th, 1984; note the newly lit torch burning to signify the start of the Los Angeles Olympics. Photo courtesy of experiencingla.com

 

IN LIGHT OF THE 31st SUMMER OLYMPICS BEGINNING, HERE ARE A FEW RECOLLECTIONS OF MY EXPERIENCES REGARDING THE GAMES

 

As this latest rendition of the Olympic Games are a bit more than 24 hours away from the Opening Ceremonies and the torch being lit (as of this writing),

Amid all the issues and troubles that have been dogging the host city, Rio De Janeiro – ranging from garbage in the water where the sailing and other events are scheduled, to people losing their homes to make room for venues, to the mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus that has driven a good number of Olympians away…

Memories of one particular Olympics have popped up in my head: the 23rd Summer Games that were held in my city, Los Angeles, California, in 1984.

I was 17 and on the verge of my senior year in high school when Rafer Johnson lit that torch in the Coliseum that July 28th; I remember attending a funeral that day and coming back to the deceased’s house, turning on the TV, and watching the parade of athletes march down the track.

Like pretty much everyone else in L.A., I was into the Olympics as this was an obviously once in a lifetime event.

It didn’t even matter to us that Russia and other communist countries (except for Romania and China, much to their credit) boycotted to get back at the U.S. for skipping the Moscow games four years before; nobody seemed to care once things got underway.

I recall my female schoolmates having crushes on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team, Mitch Gaylord in particular as he was seemingly everybody’s honey.

As for me, though I thought Mary Lou Retton was cute, the Los Angeles Times’ columnist Jim Murray calling the women’s gymnastics all-around gold medal winner “Charlie Hustle in a leotard”,  I was more into a synchronized swimmer named Tracie Ruiz.

 

1984:  Mary Lou Retton of the United States in action during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Steve Powell  /Allsport

1984: Mary Lou Retton of the United States in action during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Steve Powell /Allsport This young lady more than earned the title “Darling of the 1984 Olympics” with that all-around gold that she won. Photo courtesy of snipview.com

 

I remember my mom’s old boyfriend from college coming down from Oregon for the Games, which was cool as I specifically recall him knocking on my bedroom door to let me know that baseball, which was a demonstration sport and featured future Hall-of-Fame level talent like Mark McGwire on the U.S. team, was on TV.

The biggest recollection of those Olympics for me was the marathon, traditionally held on the last day, for the simple reason that the start of that race was about a half block from my house at Santa Monica College.

I stood on top of a parking structure overlooking the small football stadium on SMC’s campus among – as you would imagine – a huge crowd as after the starting gun went off, the runners went around the track a few times before heading north on 17th Street, right through my neighborhood.

There’s a picture of my mom and my then-two and a half-year old brother watching the runners go by that I thought was cute.

To be able to say that I saw an actual Olympic event was, to risk a cliché, pretty special.

Although I would meet 1996 Magnificent Seven Olympic hero Kerri Strug 16 years later, those 1984 games provided some good memories for me.

And despite all the problems that have plagued Rio, I’m sure that when the torch is lit, the athletes start to do their thing and the medals are given out, people will put the bad issues on the back burner.

At least for a while.

At the risk of sounding corny, let the Games begin!

 

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Carl Lewis competing in one of his four track and field events on the way to matching Jesse Owens’ four gold medals. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com