Nov. 15, 2010
Right now, at this very second, I am slowly but gradually turning into a freckly, curly-haired nerd. I blame this entirely on my newest friends.
Because here’s the thing: Five years ago, I would have scoffed at the possibility. I was a jock; I wore sweat pants and cut-off shirts to class. When asked to share something interesting about myself I always said I was on the women’s basketball team. It was my go-to answer. It was reliable and I knew I would be accepted, if not revered, for my response.
For as long as I can remember I have been Jessica, the basketball player, the athlete. I have been characterized by my sweat stained t-shirts and unlaced Nike’s. Because my name is so common — although my parents swear they were being creative — when groups of people referred to me it was always, “Oh, you mean the one that plays basketball?”
Sometimes, I was even described by my smell.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a little late to class because I had come straight from practice, and not ten minutes into the lecture the girl sitting next to me loudly proclaimed, “God, it smells like B.O in here!”
I think she was talking about me.
I now wear an extra coat of deodorant, every single day.
Since then I only smell like tulips, rainbows and butterflies. Well, when I remember to shower on a daily basis. If I look like I just rolled out of bed, I probably did.
Still, I must make my point. While I have turned my nose and brushed off the slightest notion that I could be nerd material, the truth is, I’ve been waiting my entire life for someone to force feed me a web comic.
Oh, and the first bite was tantalizing. And now I’m hooked, like a worm to a fishing rod, like a 13-year-old to Justin Bieber, like a fat kid to the very last cookie. And while I would like to vehemently shake my head, I am mid-morph and soon I will emerge as a beautiful comic based on the importance of grammar.
And so, more than anything, this article is a cry of acceptance and a shout of redemption. It’s time to love each other for who we truly are, even if it means watching “Star Wars” — oh, shudder — for the sake of a friend with good intentions.
If I come to school looking dazed and confused with a little drool dribbling from the right side of my mouth, you’ll know why.
In the last few months, I have been introduced to Penny Arcade, The Oatmeal, xkcd and SMBC. Granted, for some of you, this is nothing new. But before this, reading “Harry Potter” was as nerdy as it got for me. And while I read “Twilight” like every other pathetic, vampire-obsessed female in search of an abusive relationship, I’ve since upgraded to a book called, “Sunshine.” Because of this book I now understand why Stephenie Meyer should live in a cardboard box for the rest of her life.
I recently watched “V for Vendetta,” for the first time.
And although I have resisted and I have shut my eyes and made loud, cacophonous noises in protest, I’m starting to enjoy the literary jokes. In fact, I might even be developing an elitist mindset. Learning a new word is like experiencing a “nerdgasm” and I shake in satisfaction as the multi-syllable word rolls off my tongue.
The point of all this, however, is not to lament about my eventual transformation, but to highlight the ways people are categorized. And the ways people characterize themselves. I was a “jock” in part because people knew me as such, but also because it was a safe, accepted way to describe myself. We routinely group people, never truly understanding the individual. It is my hopes that while I am freely, unabashedly admitting a geeky tendency, it is not the only way to describe me, or anyone else.