Hello Chicago! For those of you who don’t know me yet, my name is Summer—and I’m a nerd. I wanted to write you a lighthearted introductory post about how I came to accept my nerd-side, but recently I’ve been thinking a lot deeper about what classifying as a nerd means to me. So while I’ll try not to be as brooding as Christian Bale Batman, I can’t be as whimsical as Adam West Batman: let’s thematically aim for Michael Keaton Batman… Hopefully I will tell my story with charm and wit, because first impressions are super important to me, and I’d like you to understand why having a community of fellow nerds is special to me.
I hate to admit that for years I kept my nerdiness secret out of shame and embarrassment. Growing up in a society that favored athletes over book worms, throwing the word “nerd” at someone was a particularly damning label to have hanging over your head. And it’s still a hard culture for many folks to embrace. Not until about seven years ago when I met my nerdy future husband and a community of like-minded nerdy people did I began find acceptance of myself through socializing as a nerd.
And being proud of who I am is most important. I label myself a nerd because I know that is where my heart lies. Through community I found friends, and through friends I found more fandoms. As we let our loves intertwine, I’ve been exposed to new and exciting worlds I’d never thought to explore. During our engagement, my husband pushed me into the final frontier by challenging me to log 30 hours of Star Trek before our wedding—I’m an overachiever: the goal was far surpassed.
But if you want to little bit more about me and what I like/dislike, just ask. I’m always thrilled by conversations about things I love with people who are as passionate about them. What I love most about my favorite characters is their bravery and fearlessness, qualities I strive for in myself. When I spent my years as a secret nerd, it was because I was afraid of the social rejection I feared I would face for admitting I loved watching certain TV shows or reading certain books. Now I have the confidence to proudly admit to the world that I am a huge Who fan. In high school I used to stay up till wee hours of the morning to watch old episodes on my local PBS station, but I only had one other friend who also watched. I was so thrilled when they announced the new series, but also sad that I had no one to share my joy with. I’m sure now most of you can also imagine the sadness I felt when I learned that Doctor Who would be returning to TV, and the new Who premier with Christopher Eccleston…
…was ONE HOUR after my plane left Heathrow to return to Chicago back in 2005. You’ve never seen a sadder girl boarding an airplane.
Learning to be open as the nerd I am gave me the confidence to be a much happier and more social person. The community of fellow nerdy friends I’ve found changed my life. Not only are they there to listen to me rant about fandom theories and attend nerdy events with me, but their acceptance and understanding of who I am provides me with a strong support team of caring and amazing friends.
But what about you? How do you balance being a nerd in modern society on a daily basis? Do you have a reserved alter ego you wear to work each day, or do you let your nerd flag fly high for all to see?
Or is it all in the small touches? Have an awesomely nerdy cell phone ringtone? A lower back tattoo that reads “mischief managed”? A TARDIS rice krispie treat “cake” at your wedding?
Oh wait! That was me! (It tasted delicious!)