On Being A Nerd
Cast your mind back to the late 1980’s, when Star Trek: The Next Generation began. An actor named Wil Wheaton played a character on the show named Wesley Crusher. It’s an interesting phenomenon to me that I usually begin to like an actor by the characters they play on TV, and then I begin to dislike them as I learn more about the person they are. It’s not always the case, but sadly it has happened. With Wil Wheaton I had the exact opposite experience. I wasn’t always a fan of Wesley Crusher, probably cause I was jealous and wanted to be him (The guy flying around on the enterprise, not the actor). But in the late 90’s I came across his blog and the more I learned about his real life, the more I appreciated him. He even introduced me to one of my favorite bands, Soul Coughing.
This week he’s reached out to me once more through a viral video. What I really appreciate is that he was the right person, in the right place at the right time to help the person that asked the question. And that we live in a world that can appreciate these moments.
Take a few minutes and watch this video if you can. link.
The summary is that he highlights that the girl being called nerd is going to be okay. I have a hard time summarizing what he says to her because he makes so many good points, and it’s still a painful topic.
Nerd is an interesting title.
In childhood, it was a label of oppression. A label of difference. A mark of shame.
I’ve heard it said that “Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but words hurt more than anything.” I have had many physical injuries over the year. But bruises and scratches heal. Sometimes they leave a scar, but I can press on it and it doesn’t hurt. However when I think back to some moments in my childhood involving teasing, I can still find myself wincing in pain.
But as time went on, quite a bit of time, and I came to realize that the title ‘nerd’ was applied to me for all the things I loved about myself, it shifted. It has taken years of healing, and I’m still working on it, but I now proudly wear the title nerd. It’s even highlighted on one of my favorite t-shirts.
The very things that make me stand out and called attention in my youth, make me outstanding and call attention in my adulthood. I’ve just had to find the right people who appreciate them, and me.
We have not been brought here to be everything to everyone. We are simply tasked with being the best us that we can be. Or put into less plurality, I am tasked with being the best Me I can be. And being the best I can be involves accepting me and loving me as I am.
In the words of Wil Wheaton, “It does get easier”.