Coming Out Nerd
By Mackenzie, age 18, Michigan
Ever since the beginning of middle school, I've never exactly been able to fall into the "cool crowd." I think walking around wearing a store's name embossed across my chest is a waste of $30. I didn't know the difference between eyeliner and mascara until my junior year. The most I ever do with my hair is brush it.
That's not to say I didn't try to make my way into the cool crowd, because I did. It turned out, however, that sitting around obsessing about boys or celebrities, two of the most popular activities in middle school, always ended up bringing my nerdiness to light, not masking it. They wanted to talk about Brad Pitt or Cody Linley; all I cared about were the actors from Harry Potter and Wicked.
During freshman year, my past experiences made me terrified to tell people that I watched Star Trek: Enterprise every Monday night or wrote Harry Potter fan fiction in my spare time. I was largely timid, nervous, and had a really hard time making friends. I played in my school's marching band, but was embarrassed by it. I was a nerd in denial, and I hated every minute of it.
I don't know exactly when I decided that hiding my nerdiness was pointless and responsible for a lot of my self-esteem problems. Maybe it was when my best friend first read the Harry Potter series and fell in love with it. Or when I started hanging out with my nerdy group of guy friends. Or when I joined Plurk, a social networking site a lot like Twitter, where I made a ton of friends who are the biggest nerds I know. Whatever the case, I made the leap and never looked back.
Now, I'm about two months away from graduating from high school, and I'm so glad that I "came out nerd" before it was too late. I wear my nerdy t-shirts down the halls with pride. I post pictures from the wizard rock concerts and Harry Potter conventions I attend on my Facebook, with tags and all. My friend and I even recorded a parody of the song "I Kissed a Girl" called "I Kissed a Nerd" that has received over 10,000 views on YouTube.
This year especially, my nerdy activities have abounded, and any embarrassment I had about them is gone. I played flute in my school's marching, concert and jazz bands. I sang Spider Pig" with the school choir. I competed with the quiz bowl team. I spent 12 hours scouting other robots at a regional robotics competition and danced on the sidelines. I was in my school's production of Godspell and wore huge glasses. I was the managing editor for my school newspaper.
But beyond that, I've surrounded myself with people who get it and accept me for who I am, nerdy obsessions and all. My best friend and I spent the last three months of our lives watching the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my basement. My friend Danny is currently working on catching all of the Pokemon in existence and loves playing Magic and World of Warcraft. Kris spends his free time making robots and could argue with you for hours about why Macs are better than PC's. Katrina writes historical fiction and is working her butt off to get into an Ivy League school. They're my inspiration to keep going and not to sweat it when a group of jocks laughs at me.
So please, if you're one of those nerds who is still in the closet, believe me when I tell you that it's worth it to come out. Don't be afraid to read your graphic novels in class or talk about anime in your Facebook status. Don that Star Wars t-shirt, young Padawan.
It may be rough at first. If you earn the scorn of the uneducated masses, don't let the Muggles get you down. Coming out here and now is the best way to make friends who will respect you for who you truly are.
Nerds unite! Live long and prosper.