I’ve always been a geek. But I still remember the first time I was labeled as such.
She’s not a girl, she’s a nerd!
So she had said. My friend wanted to let me know that some boys had been talking about me. One guy asked the other what he thought of me. Those were his words. They had previously been discussing which girls they thought were pretty. Nerd is never an adjective for beauty.
It stings sometimes, to be rejected because you are different. You’re excluded because you pursue knowledge for fun, or you aren’t afraid to wear the clothes you like….maybe you just like marvel a little more than your friends. Or you’re still wearing pigtails in the eighth grade.
I know what that’s like. All of it. I’ve been picked on too…worse, I’ve been the nerd bodyguard. As a kid I was the tough one. I wasn’t afraid of bullies. (Side note, if you aren’t afraid they leave you alone. Hence why I was bodyguard…the others were too afraid.)
Now I am preparing for adulthood. I’m still a major geek, and often people still forget that I am a girl. So I would like to write this to my fellow geeks and nerds. (Yes, I even break tradition within the subgroups of geeks and nerds by taking on aspects of both.) I am here to prepare you. I want you to know that being a geek isn’t a bad thing. It’s something you should embrace without fear. It’s cool, no matter what anyone tells you.
You are the intelligent ones. You know that it’s ok to be different. Don’t ever be afraid.
Also, don’t forget what it’s like to be judged.
Here’s the deal. We struggle with labels. We have to fight every single stupid stereotype out there. It’s infuriating when people wear big glasses and suspenders and call themselves nerds. It’s even idiotic. Wearing socks with sandals does not make someone a geek! (Not even geeks…seriously guys.)
Now, pretend that just for a second, geeks and nerds aren’t the only ones who get stereotyped. Imagine what it would be like to be popular. As a girl, you wear nice clothes, have long curly hair, that perfect smile you always wanted, friends surrounding you, a really cute boyfriend…in other words…A STEREOTYPE!!
As a geek, this is what I know. We are judgemental. We look down on people who don’t seem as intelligent as us. We shun tasteful clothes because we don’t want to be seen as one of them. (Although the truth is, as a girl, I still wanted to be pretty.)
Maybe we’re the intelligent ones. But we can act just as stupid as any cheerleader or jock out there. I’m calling you out because I am guilty.
I chose to be a geek. I knew this, and I was ready for battle. I have never felt the need to describe myself as a victim. I’ve been the loner in the corner because I didn’t feel like I had to connect with people who weren’t as weird as me. I made friends, they just weren’t the ones who made a big clique. Everything I did was because I chose to ignore societal norm and be myself.
There is nothing wrong with that. But here’s another thing. I did conform. In a way, I used conformity to my advantage. I refused to be someone other than myself, but I only used the parts of my personality that worked best with my friends. Not that I realized that, but I did. And in a sense, that’s exactly what those other kids are doing. The ones we call shallow. The ones who are two-dimensional.
Here’s the thing. There’s conformity, and then there’s etiquette. Sometimes societal norms are a positive part of living with other people. Maybe it’s not part of my personality to be friendly to strangers. But aren’t we supposed to encourage one another? Isn’t it part of our job to build each other up in Christ?
Jesus didn’t hang out with the cool people. You have no right to twist that out of context as an excuse to be unkind to those people. Even if it’s not part of your personality, it can be such a blessing to someone if you step out and be cordial. It doesn’t matter what they look like or what clothes they are wearing. They are people. Created by God, fallen, sinful, people who need the love of Jesus.
Doesn’t matter what clique you belong to. I don’t care if you are intelligent, athletic, beautiful, funny or sweet. (Which, by the way, is still deeper than what stereotype you might fall under.) You are like everybody else. Remember that they are the same as you. You’re all sinners. So am I. You all were redeemed by Christ, and you are all loved by Him.
I’m not a nerd. I’m a Jesus Freak. It’s more than a stereotype. It’s an active relationship with the only person who has the right to judge me. He could have, but instead he redeemed me.
I chose to conform. I want to be like Him. And that’s why I want to love you, regardless of which crowd you hang out with. Or which one you don’t. Honestly you won’t even care once you graduate. There will be other stupid social classes you identify with. Regardless…you will always be a Soul.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace. Shalom.
– Yael Eliyahu