Thursday, July 28, 2011

Send in the Clones

by Allison Pang

Nerd. Geek. Dork.

Badges of honor now, though not so much growing up. As much as we tell our children how important it is to be unique individuals, I almost feel like there's a "but" in there.

Be yourself...but don't be too weird.

Sometimes it feels as though there's a limitation to individuality in mainstream society. (Suppose that's why they call it mainstream, eh?)

There's a certain pride that comes with skirting the edge of normal.For a long time I struggled with that - as a kid I *never* fit in. I was always too loud. Too awkward. Too skinny. Too nerdy. Too ugly. Too whatever. I didn't play with Barbies or read Sweet Valley High. I didn't care about my hair or my clothes. I played Bard's Tale and read science fiction novels. I was the only girl in the D&D club.

Not that I didn't try to fit in. I did. But I was never good enough and I was always worried about what other people thought.  (Still one of my  biggest issues today.)

It took me a long time, but I came to realize it's less about trying to fit in and more about accepting who you are and not trying to hide it. Or not hide it as much. No one *really* has to know the depths of my bacon fetish. Really. (On the other hand - I seem to have become somewhat associated with bacon. And Hello Kitty. It's a tad surreal to have total strangers tweet me things they find online. And awesome.)

I'm actually somewhat envious of the new nerd generations today. With the advent of the internet it has become so terribly easy to reach out across the world and find others who like the same things and who seem to revel in their nerdiness. One only has to look at Tumblr to see how unapologetic the teens of today are. When your only limit is that there are no limits to who you can meet or talk to, it's amazing just how little you care what the people in your home town think.

This is fabulous.

So maybe it's less about trying to be an individual as much as finding the people you're supposed to fit in with.


  1. Loved this entry. I'm a Geek, and I'm okay with that. As I kid, I flitted around the spectrum, from Barbies to Zelda. There were times where I had a hard time fitting in, because what do you do with someone who climbs and tree -- and then paints her nails?

    Now, I am proud to be a Geek -- and I love when I make a joke about Firefly (we aim to misbehave!) and someone gets the reference.

    Regardless -- great post!! ~Ali

  2. It's true. Every time I open the fridge and see bacon, I think of you.

  3. @Darchala - heh - I'm flattered. ;-)

    @AlwaysCoffee - I feel the same way about the reference jokes. My books are full of them. Some people get them and some don't. (Tho it always amuses me when I see some outraged message about a line that someone doesn't get.) Swooping is bad, you know.

  4. Oh, I so remember being that loud, awkward, teenage self. Sigh. Much happier these days, now that I've (sort of) learned not to care what people think.