My life changed when I was able to admit I was a nerd. I can still remember the moment the realization hit me. I was sitting criss-cross-applesauce in the middle of my bed researching Trypophobia when it happened. It was a glorious eye-opening moment because not only had I found a name for why I get the creeps when I see random holes and strange-looking cells but I’d also accepted the part of myself that I had denied from as far back as I could remember. At that moment, I was still half-way bugged out by the Google images that I’d visually examined for nearly 30 minutes when I called my husband into the bedroom to tell him the news. The conversation went like this:
“I’m a nerd”, I told him smiling from ear to ear, adding “A real big geek”, just to clarify exactly what I meant.
ME: Yeah I know
Hubby: You know, what do you mean you know?
ME: What do you mean what do I mean I know.
Hubby: Just what I said, what do you mean.
ME: Babe, everyone knows you’re a geek
Now my newly discovered revelation wasn’t quite as interesting. Here I was thinking I was letting him in on a little secret only to learn that he’s known all along. So wait a minute. If he knows then who else knows. This isn’t feeling so good anymore.
Beginnings of a Nerd
Fitting in was never something that I did particularly well. As a teenager when young girls were having sleep over, going to parties and becoming interested in boys, I remember standing on the sidelines watching from afar. My parents were old school and had strict ideals about how girls should behave. Their ideas did not mesh well with all the “fun” that seemed to be happening in the late 80’s and early 90’s. For me all of the “fun” seemed to be happening because I was not allowed to fully indulge. Ma’ all of the girls are dating I remember telling her. I don’t care who’s doing what, you can start taking company at 16 she told me. When the long-awaited 16 came around I learned that “taking company” meant that I could have a boy come over to my house on Sundays for 3 hours and the dude and me could sit on the couch with my grandfather sitting on the armchair directly next to us picking plague from his teeth. Sleeping over were out of the question because according to my mother, Young ladies stay home at night.” Parties were also a non-issue because as a teen-ager I was too embarrassed to have my mother call the parents of the other teenager who was having the party to ask if Martha could come and what type of supervision would be provided. With little to any practical socializing skills in high school I excelled at increasing my ability to find joy in things like reading the dictionary, watching 20/20 and creating songs to memorize the periodic table of elements. This secret life of nerd stuff was not something I shared with anyone. I became queen imitator, a chameleon if you will. I wanted others to see me as cool; chopping up my words to sound like the girls with the heavy southern drawl that got attention from the popular boys, wearing my father’s button up shirts to school in attempt to blend in with the crowd and rarely achieving above a B in any of my school subjects. (Even writing that sounds nerdy). Now that I am out of the closet, I can admit what I could not admit to myself as a teen- that the tight grip of my parent’s stern hand saved me from actually having to go beyond my faking cool at school. Can you think of the anxiety I would have felt if my parents did allow me to do the things that I had professed back then that I wanted to do. Besides the anxiety that being something other than myself would have caused me as a teen, Today as an almost 40-year-old woman thinking of the trouble that I might had gotten into just trying to fit in gives me the shakes. As a mother of 3 girls, I vow to do my best at encouraging my daughters to be who they are all day every day. At 6, 4, and 2 –Accept yourself and be your best self no matter what – is a mantra that I have already begun instilling within their spirits.
Women and Heels
Coming to terms with who you are with love and acceptance is a milestone in every human life. But and here is a big BUT, Just because you have reached that milestone does not mean the issue is put to bed for good. Adults still may be challenged internally to measure up to some supposed way of behaving and appearing in the eyes of others. Take women and shoes for an example. The connection is not a new thing. Women like shoes, I get it. But for the past few years I’ve noticed more and more regular women ( by regular I mean your average woman, those who live in small to large-sized cities, working mothers, professional women) wearing fancy schmacy heels. I don’t mean an average pump, I’m talking about six to seven-inch stilettos, adorned with rhinestones and red bottoms walking through the mall on city streets and just about everywhere you can imagine-even pregnant women. I understand that some people have no problem walking in heels but REALLY, no one like flats anymore? Am I the only one who still wears flat shoes and sneakers? I think perhaps the trend started with celebrities? Who knows? But I began noticing it with the release of the movie Sex in the City. I was driving downtown past a movie theater when I saw tons of women walking through the streets-almost skipping it seems with sundresses and the highest heels I’d ever seen anywhere besides the shoes department at Macy’s. After that I begin to notice it everywhere I went and I guess it didn’t hurt that Beyoncé was seen sporting the highest red bottom heel I’d ever seen on a pregnant woman in my life. The entire experience had me thinking for like a minute, Maybe you need some heels Martha. Did I get the heels? Not the point. The point is that like I said earlier the age-old need to be apart of the gang, a reality that provides no immunity for adults.
I actually have nothing against cool people. In fact some of my best friends are cool (Don’t you just love that line). All jokes aside; cool, nerd, geek, popular it makes no difference. What matters is knowing and accepting who you are as an individual person. Not who you pretend to be or would like to be but the You that You are when no one else is around. Loving, accepting and developing that sacred part of yourself that is uniquely you is all that really matters. Anything else is a disservice to not only yourself but to those people around you. The attention or relevancy that you receive when pretending to be someone who you are not boxes you in and does not give you room to grow. It affirms the idea that who you are is not good enough making it harder to remove the mask. In terms of what it does for the people around you well it’s a straight lie. When you fake an image and pretend to be another things to friends, co-workers, family etc…. what you are doing is lying to each and every one of them and preventing the formation of intimate and authentic relationships. So it’s okay to get your kicks off by researching and fact-finding. It’s okay to wear your stilettos if it makes you comfortable. It’s okay that your idea of excitement is watching Barbara Walters. What ever you do that’s authentically you it is okay. Just remember to keep growing and to love yourself!
PS. midnight writing , typos please excuse , back to bed now:)