you mean I’m not the only one?
It’s a lesson I’ve been learning lately: there’s always someone nerdier than you.
A tough lesson- for me, anyway- and it’s been a long time coming.
Because growing up, reading alone on the school steps at recess, it sure didn’t seem that way.
I remember having to tape my glasses together in a junior high science class before Harry Potter dreamed of making it cool.1 I devoured Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was thirteen and lamented not having any peers to gush over it with. (Although, in retrospect, this turned out okay; it led to my discovery of message boards and fanfiction, and I enjoyed them both as much as our dial-up would allow.)
I read all the time- sometimes unsuccessfully, tripping on stairs or bumping into walls and chairs as I tried to walk, but then I’ve never been very good at doing two things at once. And I obsessed. Oh, I obsessed. Not that that has changed much (or any). Only now that I’m grown, it’s expected. It’s just me. And I don’t have to worry that my mother is fretting over an awkward and withdrawn teenage daughter having trouble fitting in.
Because I know who I am now. I’m a nerd. And I’m dang proud of it.
Once I came to accept this- and found the freedom of fearless expression that owning oneself can bring- life became better. Much better.
And so my office is is filled with Doctor Who posters. I walked down the aisle to Howard Shore’s Concerning Hobbits at my wedding. I design fonts for a living. My favorite animal is a dragon and I sometimes sing Soft Kitty to my children at bedtime. I love office supplies and good wifi; I wish daily for transporters and holodecks, and have a dream of going to Comic Con someday.
So yeah, I’m proud of it; only, perhaps, I’m too proud of it.
You see, I have nerdy friends now. (It’s the best!) But as I’ve gotten to know them, I’ve developed a new sense of insecurity. I’d come to define myself too much by the books on my shelf and the posters on my wall. Because I’m not the nerdiest person in the room, anymore.
There, I said it.
But it’s true! Sure, I know the difference between Quenya and Sindarin, but I’m not fluent in either.
My husband can fix a computer with a screwdriver and some duct tape.2 He reads Plato and Josephus and has killed so many undead nazis, I’m not even afraid of the zombie apocalypse.
I have one friend who is a bigger Jane Austen fan that I am, one who knows more about the Star Wars universe than I ever could have imagined existed, and another who always knows just the right book to recommend next.
The truth is, there will always be someone nerdier than you.3
But that’s okay. Our differences are what make us a community. We work together; we learn from each other. By being- each one of us- incomplete, we find that life is full of roads (as yet) untraveled. It gives us something to aspire to. We can refuse to be static. There are always new things to learn and more ways to grow. I, for one, intend to accept that challenge. I want to be the best nerd I can be. No, it’s more than that. I want to be the best person I can be. Sometimes that will mean having a little humility, but also an open attitude and willingness to try new things. Sometimes that will mean exposing myself to different ideas and perspectives. Heck, sometimes that might even mean Netflix binging on a new show (we can only hope!) Most always, it will be full of surprise and discovery.
Here’s looking forward to making new friends and great memories along the way!
mostly britts, sometimes aislinn
1Harry Potter the phenomenon, not Harry Potter the individual. I imagine Harry himself would hardly have dreamt such a thing was possible, let alone that the look would become standard costume fare among fans worldwide.
2He doesn’t really use duct-tape- not on computers, anyway. But he can go into DOS mode and work miracles.
3Especially on the internet. And that’s where we tend to congregate, isn’t it, we hermits united? It’s good fun.4
4See what I did there?5
5If you didn’t, go watch Doctor Who Series 3, Episode 11 (‘Utopia’) now!6
6Or just watch this clip.7
7Footnotes are fun.