I’ve always been a nerd. From the time I was able to read on my own (which I insisted upon doing at an early age), I’ve been reading books that transported me to other places, made me other people. I lost myself in shows such as David the Gnome, My Little Pony, and Gummy Bears. Belle from Beauty and the Beast was my spirit person, before there was ever such a term (ah, the wonders of the internet). But this was pretty standard: I think many of the kids I knew were much the same. At some point, however, these interests became less of a shared phenomenon, and more of a defining characteristic.
Let me be clear: I’ve never, in all of my 27 years, been antagonized for my interests. Never bullied, never teased. Ok, maybe teased, but in a loving way. However, at this point in my life, I feel like I am embracing my nerdery as I never have before; perhaps, in part, because I never actually considered myself a nerd until now (thanks, tumblr). Until the internet made shared passions easily accessible, I thought I was my own, uniquely quirky person. But, there are a lot of people out there like me! So, here goes: I am owning it. After all, why shouldn’t I?
What has being a nerd brought me? Lots of things. Most importantly, lasting friendships. One of my longest-standing friends and I bonded over Tamora Pierce: she saw me reading one of Pierce’s books before a swimming class, and we were off and running. Every summer, we had one annual “book day” during which we’d spend all day at the bookstore, confined to the science fiction and fantasy section. In 2011, I made two friends while standing in line for a Doctor Who DVD signing in NYC. Now, we communicate often through twitter, as one lives in a different state, and the other lives overseas. Even though we only waited in line together for five hours, we felt like we’d known one another for quite some time. When you’re a nerd, and you meet another nerd, you feel like you’ve known each other a lifetime, all within the span of a few minutes.
Being a nerd, I easily open up about my likes. I am so, so extremely excited to be interested in things that I can’t help but talk about them. Friends ask for book recommendations, and actually consider watching such programs as Doctor Who because I am constantly gushing about it (honestly, if you’re reading this and not watching Doctor Who, do yourself a favor and check it out). People may just tolerate my nerdiness, but, to an extent, I know they enjoy it. Because, let’s face it: there’s a little bit of a nerd in all of us. It’s just a matter of degree. I’m climbing the ladder, and I’m enjoying debating the way to best survive the zombie apocalypse with the people who have already reached those rungs (and will therefore be safe when the zombies invade. Ba dum tush.)