Stay Gold, Ponyboy.
I was chatting with a friend recently about our teen years and the stories were the same. While I never had outright bullying, there was a lot of ugly teasing and mean girls. I grew up in an area and a time where everyone was supposed to be exactly the same. My friend talked about how, when he turned 14, all of his friends pretended that they didn't know him. These kids who used to walk down the street to pick him up on the way to school all of a sudden, they would just yell rude comments and keep on going. One of my worst memories from high school was when two best friends just didn't pick me up one night, and then pretended they never even knew me after that. Like we had not been friends for the past however many years. Like I hadn't slept over umpteen times. Like, what the hell just happened? So, yeah, as Dex entered middle school - that time when friends traditionally get judgey - I have been a little, let's say... twitchy. I try not to impose my past experiences too much, because not only is Dex an old soul - he is most definitely his own person. He has generally not really cared what anyone thought and has gone his own way. Part of it, I know, is all that diversity we fight for - one benefit seems to be (thus far) kids like to be different. Less pressure to wear exactly the same clothes and do exactly the same things. I am pretty sure we all owe Glee a huge debt of gratitude.