Anne: "Just completely give in to peer pressure."
Jacob: "No. Understand that peer pressure doesn't exist. Everybody has the right to feel less alone. Those people are out there and you have to find them. What works for therapy also works for real life, meaning that you have to tell the secrets before they can stop hurting you, or paralyzing you, and the biggest secret of all is your loneliness."
Anne: "Sounds like selling out, possibly."
Jacob: "Absolutely it is selling out. But you're making deals every day of your life. If you don't like the terms, change them. If that's selling out, you have to ask yourself who you're trying to impress."
Anne: "But kids should be allowed to be themselves."
Jacob: "Heck yeah they should. But they're not. And they won't ever be. And that won't change, no matter how old you get, and at some point you'll understand that 'yourself' doesn't change, regardless of the deals you make. The stuff you're getting harassed about is not essential to who you are. Bullies are educating you about the parts of yourself that don't fit into the herd, they're like the immune system for normality. But a virus doesn't roll over and die, it mutates. It evolves."
Anne: "Sounds like you had it pretty easy."
Jacob: "Yeah, being the fat gay kid at a small-town Southern high school that was literally named for a Confederate General, that was a real fucking blast."
Anne: "So you had it hard?"
Jacob: "Not really. I realized that high school is a fucking joke, that It Gets Better pretty quickly after that, and that my best defense was not asking for it. Not cosigning their bad trip. I think in some ways being gay made it easier to cut through the bullshit, because I'd found one true thing about myself that I could stand on, get my head above water, finally look around and see how silly and stupid everything else was."
Anne: "You opted out."
Jacob: "No, I made a deal. It cost me a lot. In other, better ways, I got a lot more in return. But yeah, once you're on the outside of a game, the rules of the game make a whole lot more sense. It doesn't get better. You get better. It was never in charge, and sitting back waiting for It to get better means It's going to suck as long as it possibly can, because It has no reason to change. It is doing fine no matter how miserable it's making you."