My nerdiness cannot be denied. Now, as an adult, it’s not really a bad category, but as a kid, there were a lot of red flags indicating my nerd status:
- I absolutely LOVED to read. All the time, every spare minute was spent reading. I particularly gravitated toward series like The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and the Emily of New Moon trilogy. The weeks when the school book fair was happening were like Christmas for me. I couldn’t wait to pick out my new books and take them home and keep them in perfectly pristine condition no matter how many times I reread them. My best friend and I would spend hours at the bookstores perusing our options and debating how best to use the money allotted for books from our parents. Pages for All Ages was the best place to shop, as far as I was concerned.
- I wore glasses from first grade on through sixth or seventh (whenever I was finally able to get contacts). My prescription has always been pretty strong, so my lenses were extra-thick and had to be supported by extra-sturdy frames.
- I did not wear jeans, ever, until I was probably in the eighth grade. Nope, my fashion choice was stirrup pants, those lovely leggings with the elastic strap that went over your feet. Pretty stylin’.
- Obedience to my parents was almost 100%. I had a few slip-ups, of course, but I only remember being grounded once in my life–when I stayed out with a boy I liked for maybe an extra hour later than allowed. To be fair, I hadn’t really thought my dad meant I had to come home by the prescribed time, because I had so rarely needed any curfew guidelines in the first place.
- I did not possess the right “look”. I never felt like I quite fit in or kept up with the trends. I did get a perm in the fifth grade, around the time it seemed pretty popular, but it was not a wise move on my part. My ears weren’t pierced until way after every other girl in my class had them done. I often borrowed oversized tees and sweatshirts from my older brothers. I suppose I believed that was cool because my brothers were really cool, but I forgot the important fact that their clothes were not made for me, a girl who was three and five years younger than they were, respectively.
- I played the flute in the marching band. Enough said?
- I never donned a cheerleading skirt. I tried out for the squad one year, maybe twice. Cross-country was much more my style. Very little coordination required. All you had to do was run and not fall down.
- I was drug- and alcohol-free throughout high school and even college. Granted, there was a strong group of kids I went to school with who also abstained from drugs, but they were already cool to begin with and didn’t care what people thought, so they maintained their “cool” status even without joining in with the partying.
- I was an exemplary student. Turning in homework on time and paying attention in class were not optional. I admit I copped a little attitude once in awhile, especially if I thought I was right and the teacher was wrong, but overall, I did what was expected of me.
- I became a high school teacher. I love grammar and language nuances. I enjoy making up verb conjugation songs and have even been known to dance and sing on class videos. I still believe wholeheartedly that reading is one of the best ways to spend your time.
Some of these things did present a few challenges while growing up, to be sure. There were plenty of times when I felt left out or unwanted in a certain group. However, I now recognize that a lot of the girls I aspired to be like struggled with very similar insecurities. Almost no one makes it through the middle-school and high-school years completely unscathed.
I can’t really complain about my growing-up years. I had great friends and we had a blast together. I got to go to Disney World and London with my choir and band groups. I never once regretted not being wild and partying with “those” kids. My love for reading and learning made college a heck of a lot easier. I owe a debt of gratitude to my sister-in-law for helping me find a sense of style, even though it took until my mid-20s to start getting there.
Every experience, whether good or bad, whether easy or challenging, helped get me where I needed to be. I’m still pretty nerdy–after all, I am a teacher. I embrace those nerdy ways.