Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Geek or Not to Geek

I'm a Geek. It took me years to accept it, but now I embrace it. It's who I am and I wear the badge proudly.

What is a Geek? That depends on your definition. We're not exotic enough to be misfits, extroverted enough to be mavericks nor malleable enough to be with the in-crowd. We are creative, thoughtful, curious and brave. We deconstruct, figure out, re-imagine, and innovate for fun, seeking out knowledge, appreciating insight, and doing our best to understand the world around us.

The best of us realize this early, and understand that having the will to stand alone with your imagination, thoughts and beliefs takes a special kind of fortitude. These are the bravest among us. They are the ones willing to take the risk of not trying to fit in early. Perhaps it's because they realize that fitting in is just a slick slide down to status quo and the boredom that suck a life implies.

I wasn't one of those. Even though I was flute playing, theatre performing, documentary watching twelve year old, I made great pains to separate myself from the kids who hung out by the library at lunch. I liked those kids. They were nice and thoughtful, and accepting and funny. There was even a boy I liked there. He was tall, cute and very sweet. We slow-danced at a school dance, but when a friend told me that she heard he had wet his pants at school, it was too much for me to brave. I never talked to him or went back to the library for lunch again. I wanted to be cool and these kids weren't cool. They were brave. But, I couldn't see it.

So I sought out a different crowd. I started smoking, drank some, cut school, did other nefarious deeds. After a few years of escalating trouble I landed in catholic high school. I had a few friends there, but by then we had learned how to at least not get caught doing naughty things. There were some odd flirtations with religion there as well, and though I was much kinder to geeks then, I still refused to see myself as one.

Twenty-plus years and several lives later, I realize I was a geek all along, and wonder why I ever denied it. It's one thing to learn to be comfortable in your own's another be comfortable in your own mind. And now, by the power of the information age, geeks rule and it's pretty awesome in a lot of ways.

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