Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Learning to Love My Inner Nerd
If you follow me on Pinterest (as a visual person it is one of my favorite forms of social media, right up there with Instagram) then you might have noticed that a board I pin to frequently is my Inner Nerd board.
My Inner Nerd is the place where I curate all the things that make the brainy, slightly socially awkward side of me happy, whether that is literature, science jokes, Whovian references, Meyers Briggs personality memes, or the type of cliche fashion choices that make the little girl in me who always wanted to grow up to be a librarian very, very happy. I pin it and put it on display for all who follow me to see, embracing my inner nerd once and for all!
It took me close to forty years to finally be comfortable with that part of me that isn't as "cool" as the other kids. But, I'm so glad that I embrace that part of myself now, or at least I try to. I used to feel a little bit shy about loving things that might get me made fun of in certain circles (the joys of handknit wool socks, for instance, or a new pen for crossword puzzles). But now I look at those things as a type of secret that only select individuals can appreciate.
You see, a funny thing happened to this awkward, skinny, freckle faced girl with the glasses: I grew up and one day found myself eking out a living writing web content as a blogger - a title and trendy job occupation which comes with its own stereotype and reputation (for truth or for ill). The thing is that because I'm a blogger I find myself facing my own worst social nightmares and getting judged on a regular basis, whether via email or blog comments or even occasionally in person, for my own taste (or parenting, or life choices, or how I compare to another blogger, or whatever).
And, while I'm not going to lie and say that sometimes very the mean things don't hurt my feelings, for the most part I've grown a thick skin. In fact, blogging and being somewhat public about certain aspects of my life has helped me accept and even embrace things about myself in a way that I might not have otherwise.
If nothing else, the internet (including Pinterest with its friendly push pins and hearts) has shown me that no matter how obscure or out of the mainstream or silly the thing I'm interested in is someone else will appreciate it, too. For an introvert like me, that is enough justification in the form of social approval. See? I can't be all that weird because eighty-three other people find this cool, too and at least four other people do this.
So, I don't care if the rest of the world thinks it is weird that I knit. Or drink green smoothies. Or read Harry Potter fan fiction. Or that I know that it is always Doctor and never Dr. Or that my idea of a perfect Friday night involves my pajamas, a stack of library books, and sharing a bottle of wine with my love. A weekend where I don't have to socialize or talk to people that I don't live with? Fantastic.
I'm just as okay with the part of me that likes black converse, Johnny Cash, leopard print, art journals, fancy party dresses and VW micro buses.
I have an inner rock star. I have an inner artist. I have an inner flower child. I even have an inner Audrey Hepburn. And, I have an inner nerd.
I'm learning to love all of those things about me for myself, but also because I hope that my kids grow up comfortable with the things that make them different and unique. I hope they grow up knowing that it is okay to love things that not everyone else appreciates, including things their mother isn't necessarily into.
In this carbon copy world, it is good to have dimension to our personalities. It is okay to be different, multifaceted, even if it seems like some parts of our selves are at odds with each other.
I know I'm not sharing anything new or deep here. We all want to be unique, to be comfortable in our own skin. But, sometimes that is so much easier said than done. And, as I look my fortieth birthday head on, I find that it might be even a tiny bit harder to do that now that nearly four decades of expectations (my own and others) have shaped my life.
Still, if ever there was a time to break the mold, to follow my true passions and interests, I think this is the time and this is the place.
I'm just me, sharing some things about myself and my life and fully embracing her inner nerd and all the rest of me, too.