Thoughts on this by azurelunatic, who I got this link from.
As Azz says, there are lots of good points here; I'd encourage you to read this article yourself.
As for how nerds grow up... well, who here wasn't/isn't a nerd? And at a certain point, whether during or after high school, we learn to be proud of our nerdiness. We realize how freakin' stupid the kids who concentrated only on clothes and popularity were.
But in the meantime, yeah, it's pretty hellish. I have a temper, so it wasn't as bad for me as for, say, bahtswana, who was shyer and more fragile and got beat up. Hiding was his defense mechanism. Aggression was mine.
Of course, when you're in school, you don't realize this sort of thing. You're so mired in the suckitude of the ostracization that you can't really see your way out of it.
But once you get out into the real world... you find other nerds. You find people with whom you fit. If you're lucky, you find a partner like yendi with whom you can trade comic book quips and sci-fi quotes all the livelong day. Even if you don't have a partner...
You have LJ.
I mean, c'mon. You're posting your thoughts on the internet. The "cool kids" from high school? They're on AOL. They don't know shit. You guys are on a site that intrinsically attracts other nerds. Where you can click on a link and find other people who are interested in Blake's 7 or Golden-Age sci-fi or certain indie comics or cult B-movies. You can "meet" these people, read each other, develop online friendships, even, if they're local, develop offline friendships as well.
Now that we're "grown up", we're able, online and offline, to stop dealing with the Cool Kids altogether. To be in groups where there's pride in our geekitude (witness shawnj's trivia challenge).
"We may not be the prettiest, or the smartest, or the most powerful. But we don't exist for the beautiful people of the world! We're there for the oddball, the rebel, the outcast, the geek!"
I'd be interested in other thoughts (I know mine are scattershot; I kept getting interrupted). theferrett, I'm lookin' at you.