Hello people of the Universe !
Today, I come back to speak about something I didn’t want to admit so far : I am a nerd.
The French word for nerd is intello and it was my nickname during all the years I spent in highschool and before, in elementary school. I received it from friends, from classmates, from other students and strangers, and certainly from some teachers. At least, it was my nickname when I was not called “the brown-noser” or “the do-you-have-a-life girl”. I can’t tell you I was happy, I knew those names were very pejorative, but I acted like nothing could touch me. It was a time when I needed to be surrounded by adults that could follow and build my thoughts, and not teenagers that only cared about drinking and partying. I remember when a student’s dad was shocked that I hadn’t a boyfriend like any other teenager and then said “studies don’t have to be your everything !” But not every teenager needs or wants a partner, and there is nothing wrong with getting your curiosity aroused. Studies have always had a huge place in my heart. Through them, I don’t only see me learning my lessons or writing commentaries; I see me looking for testimonies, trying to understand why governments took that special decision, crying while reading Romance de la luna, luna by García Lorca. I see me groking the world and there is nothing more beautiful to me.
I tend not to like labels. I don’t want people to see in me someone I am not just because I respect a stereotype. But calling me a nerd is important. I think it is a way to help. It helps my own person and it can help other people. I am the one who can tell you it gets better because I know it does. I am the one who can tell you if you love studying, if you love learning, pursue. I am the one who will never let you become what you don’t want to be. Of course, I will not always understand you. Even among nerds we are different. One of my friend is a nerd and a geek and he is so much in his world that I barely can enter it. I love being with him, he is very kind, honest and fine with who he is. I enjoy his difference, his nerdiness. When I speak about feelings, he speaks about rationality. When I say politics is all about appearance, he tells me about the power of mathematics in this domain. Our conversations cross and I kind of like the way they meet. I am the one who listens when people don’t even hear your voice.
I am not sure to respect all clichés of nerds but I know I will relate if you tell me you are one of us. I already told you about my problem with Science and how it destroyed my dreams as a teenager, so I won’t tell you that a nerd only cares about Science. To me, a nerd is simply passionate. Passionate by something that is not shared by everybody. It can’t be explained, it comes from your heart and soul (ça vient des tripes, as I would add in French!). You create your world around it and by doing that, yes, some people are left apart. But it doesn’t make you a weirdo or whatever negative connotations you are called. It makes you different from a majority that can’t or doesn’t try to understand. Science is coming back in my life, slowly but surely. It is very hard to let the door open to it when you tried to avoid it for years. I try not to see Science as school told me it was: the most powerful subject, the unique one that matters. I try to find magic in Science, and don’t tell me there is not. During all these years I spent far away from it, I developed a love stronger than ever for Literature. I read almost every day, I feed my heart and my brain with it. There is always a book in my bag. Literature is an escape as Science is for other nerds. Thanks to it, I have access to thousands of brand new worlds and I learn a lot about friendship, love, sex, humanity, honesty, anger, revenge, etc. I remember when a girl asked me what I got for Christmas — boooooks — and she made that face, you know, the one telling she feels bad for you because you are so unlucky. Well, in my head I was more like “Oh, gurl. You don’t know what you are missing.”
I also want to speak about relationships very quickly. I think it is kind of usual among nerds that we don’t really like to be surrounded by a lot of people — read more than 5 or 6 here, and that’s already too much. If I had to concentrate on how I live, I would even tell you that I have to fight against a beginning of agoraphobia, meaning that I find more and more complicated to go outside without being afraid of what could happen to me. By the way, if you relate to what I live, don’t give up. Keep going outside even if it is tough, otherwise you will end up staying home forever and it will be even more tough to heal your fear. If you don’t know how to protect yourself against that feeling, don’t hesitate to speak about it to your family or contact a psychologist. Help is always given to those who ask for it. (Dumbledore was a genius, rip). So yes, relationships for nerds are not the simplest problem to solve.
Some people tend to say that they have a “favorite” nerd or geek, someone that influences their life by assuming being a nerd or a geek. Well, I can’t answer the same thing. I don’t really care if you are called a nerd, if you call yourself a nerd or if you act like a nerd. I am influenced by people who believe in humanity and want society to be sweet, kind, honest, helpful and above all, equal. I know it can sound idealistic but who said kindness was a synonym for weakness? I am influenced by people that are different from me and people that are very similar. I can’t make an exhaustive list, but Katherine Pancol’s writing makes me fall in love every time I read her books; Laurent Gounelle and Bernard Werber are magicians; Meryl Streep, Mayim Bialik and Emma Watson can’t represent better the defense of equality in three generations. See, I love people when I am not afraid of them. ☺
I would like to conclude with what it means to be a nerd today. I think you know it was very negative but being a nerd nowadays seems pretty cool. There are even parties where you have to dress like a nerd. Yeah, nerds have their own dress code now. Nerds have become characters. But I don’t think they are. They are real people with different interests, with different quirks, with different visions of the world. Making them characters shouldn’t make them more lovable. They are lovable the way they are. I am a nerd and I barely go out without makeup. I am a nerd and I have glasses. I am a nerd and I don’t broach scientific subjects all the time. I am a nerd and I tried for years to open my friend’s eyes and make him admit he is bullied by people he calls friends — help me on that one, please… I am a nerd and I never watched Star Wars (I know, nerd or not, I have no excuse). I am a nerd and I am a questioning mind. Even as a nerd I don’t dress, act, think like all nerds and I don’t want to create a box where you could find us as simple copies of one another. Being a nerd is more than a tshirt or a model of the solar system. Being a nerd is embracing your difference to grok the world with your own eyes.
PS. Check Grok Nation’s article about the subject.