Coming to terms with my nerdiness
I am not going to say I had a rough childhood. There were all sorts of awesome things like stacks of books (comics, novels, classics, picture books, you name it - I read it. I was even a volunteer librarian for a while) every week from the library, lots of games of cops and robbers, hikes in the forest behind my house, swimming trips down the river to the covered bridge, and wonderful family.
But I digress. For a certain period of my childhood, say from age 9 to age 14 I was, well, pretty chubby. What can I say? I loved chocolate chips. And cheese. Not together. I had a haircut that was bad even for eighties/early nineties standards. My sense of style was atrocious even for rural Maine (and that is really saying something!). I was, and always will be, a nerd. I have always loved to use big words, because they make me feel smart and they sound cool. Who wouldn't like the way it feels as "Pulchritudinous"* rolled off their tongue? Alas, I grew up in Windham, Maine not Oxford. A vocabulary as plump as I was it made it difficult for me to relate to many of my fellow students who were just barely emerging from the Sega/Nintendo-induced coma they brought upon themselves from the day before. But we didn't have Nintendo. We had Portrait of Dorian Gray and Treasure Island and Oliver Twist.
I love answering questions in class. I love just knowing things. I love telling people all the stuff I just learned. But so what? Why bring it up? There are plenty of nerds out there. Well, back then the fact that I was who I was made me feel inferior in some way. The fact that I couldn't derive the same pleasure out of goofing off in the back of class (unless it was math - I'm not proud of it but there it is) in addition to my portliness made me feel like a second class citizen and the only one at that. The fact that I was who I was seemed to not be enough. For anyone. Somewhere somehow even after loosing the weight, mastering the art of conversation, giving up the spiral perm and never making a substantial clothing purchase without asking someone's opinion first, that belief that being who I was wasn't enough crops up every once in a while.
Enter the fact that I'm in my thirties. I am excited about being in my thirties for several reasons. First off, I have started to care way less about what other people think of me. Second, there is a whole lot more clarity when it comes to why I do the things I do and I am beginning to change the things I don't like which is exciting. And so I conclude this post with a word of encouragement to myself and anyone out there who has ever felt different and out of place at any time in their life: Don't be ashamed of who you are. You only need to be your best self and that is enough. There is no normal, stop trying to find it, stop forcing yourself to act in a way that doesn't match your true self. Let go of the past. Now that you've grown up, embrace the best part of being a grown up: you can recreate who you want to be every day. Let go of any feelings of inferiority. Chances are, if you could see who you really were ten, twenty years ago you'd probably be amazed at all the things you did right. And finally, happiness is not a far off goal, it is as simple as changing your mind.
*it means beautiful