“Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff’. Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” -John Green
I have spent my entire life as “the nerd”, especially when it comes to my family. This continued label that has stuck to me my entire life can be pinned to a few things.
- I have been wearing glasses since I was four years old. I know this is a lame reason to be called a nerd, but that’s how it all started. Put dorky, wire rimmed glasses of a four year old and you’re sure to get a few laughs. (I must add that sixteen years later, I now rock the hipster glasses with no shame. I never got into the whole contacts thing. Maybe that makes me more of a nerd. Or more of a hipster, but that’s a different topic.)
- Basically my favorite thing in the world to do is read. This last Christmas I got this super cool book that I had been dying to read. I told by aunt I would possibly pee my pants from excitement if she got it for me. This didn’t actually happen, but I was so ecstatic when I opened it. I spent the rest of the night looking through it and protecting it from being ruined by curious family members. “Only Sam would be this excited over a book”, my younger cousin said laughing. That one sentence accurately describes the rest of my families feelings towards reading. None of my cousins or siblings like reading at all, let alone know the magic that can come from exploring the pages of a well written masterpiece. This helped me gain the label nerd early on.
- I’m not as social as my other family members. I happen to be the only introvert smack in the middle of a family of extroverts. I am perfectly ok having one or two close friends. And I don’t have to spend every minute with a friend by my side. Unlike my cousins who will basically die if they aren’t near their friends and don’t know how to be alone. When I spend too much time with people without a break to breathe I get a little grumpy. This is a trait my family doesn’t fully comprehend. They get really offended when I just want to be alone. One time I had to flat out tell them I was grumpy because I had been spending too much time with people. This really offended them. In my family introvert and nerd are interchangeable.
- I enjoy school! I don’t think this one needs further explanation.
Looking back the real reason I earned the title nerd is because I am different. For a while I resented this. I wished I could be cool and fun and rebellious and wild like my cousins. But, deep down I knew that wasn’t me. I would never be like them. As I grow up I realize that is perfectly ok. Actually, it’s better than ok. Because if I’m not trying be them then I am focusing on being me.
Back in the day I would get defensive when anyone called me a nerd. Now when someone laughs and throws it my way. I shrug my shoulders and reply with a simple, “Yeah I know. I like it that way.”