Today I was cruising the trending items in Facebook and came across this jewel – “Wil Wheaton’s powerful advice to a young girl on how to deal with being called a Nerd”. If you have experienced being vilified for being who you are in your faith, this is a MUST SEE video. Take a moment to watch it and continue on below.
No one in my grammar and middle school was more harassed and mentally tortured than me in my classes – quite possible in the entire school. I ran flat-footed, so they hated me in p.e., I preferred reading over making friends, so my nerd badge was earned as early as 2nd and 3rd grade. I misspelled my name on my name badge during a field trip in 5th grade, so the women’s bully club in both schools never let me forget it, calling me by that name only for the next FIVE YEARS of my miserable school life. The more they harangued me, the more I withdrew and the more I was pushed around (literally) for that as well. It was a vicious cycle and a living hell I would not repeat for my favorite last meal on this earth.
I nearly didn’t survive intact as this and the onset of puberty hit me like a freight train in 6th – 8th grades, bringing on crippling migraine headaches I was completely defenseless against. No one knew what they were back then, so when my World Book Encyclopedia’s Science Year supplement had an article on their phenomena as just starting to be understood, I took it to my pediatrician and told him this was what I had. He didn’t believe me – mostly because I was only, what, 11 years old at the time and had no medical background training. Oh, and the bullying was so bad at school, I pretended to be sick A LOT to get out of going.
Being a young nerd was THE WORST period of my life, but BEING a young nerd was, as Wil Wheaton says above, is not our choice. It’s our DNA. It is what WE ARE. As we grow up, I suppose we could pretend to be “normal”, as I tried to do for several corporate jobs, but as soon as you let your guard down, relax and be yourself, out comes the stares, the harassment and even being fired (twice for me) for it.
When I discovered the Goddess and the Pagan path back in the 80’s, it called to me like the sweet sound of a harp. I devoured any and all books on Scott Cunningham and anything else Pagan, Wiccan, Occult, you name it. It was for me and I was for it – even though it would be another 20 years before I discovered my totem & power animal and that Whocate had chose me – I had not chosen her!
The mask eventually came off, fell apart and my inner self shone through because it was what I was and that cannot be contained forever – in any of us.
As far as my “nerd” side – it, along with my Pagan side had slowly been gaining strength over the course of my entire life – first with creative writing and costuming, then I donned a cloak of caribbean blue in public as protection against the sun and as a symbol of my status as a High Priestess of Whocate in my faith. I will no longer be harassed, bullied and especially contained for what and who I am. In wearing a cloak against the elements of weather and negative energies, I have only been stared at or mocked TWICE in four years. My confidence, comfort and determination and “this is who I am” attitude, tempered with humility, not arrogance, has garnered many, many compliments on my attire, which I wear proudly, not as a badge of nerdom, but of who I am.
I am different. I am a Solitary Wiccan and a Nerd and to the world around me, I say DEAL WITH IT.