Saturday, November 17, 2012

Group Therapy: Evolution of Nerd

Welcome to the newest therapy session for all of the lunatics here at NerdPop.  It took a little longer than I had hoped to get this to you guys, but some people aren't as receptive to the therapy as others (I'm looking at you, Nyxiie >_>).  So we decided to just have today's session with three out of the four of us.  Now we're wasting time and this guy charges by the hour...  

Last time, we talked about our first exposure to anime.  Well now it's time to follow that path and discover how the term "nerd" has both changed over time and has come to describe us...  
I wasn’t born into nerdom. No. Hard to believe I’m sure but, I became what used to be considered a nerd back in Elementary school. Before that, I was a “popular” girl. Believe me…it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s more of a contest like “Look my house is bigger” “Look my basement is better than yours” “My hair is longer” “I’m allowed to use tinted lip gloss” “My mom paints my nails” blah blah blah like that. In fact, the whole popular girl thing boiled down to: Where you sat at lunch, where you sat in class, and meeting once a week to give little gift bags with girly things in them. [JT's note: Where do I sign up?!  ... Er... never mind... move along...]

Well that changed as soon as I went pretty much blind and needed glasses. WHOA! Immediately shunned by all the popular girls. Cause well….no one but nerds wore glasses. Bam. I was labeled a nerd. It wasn’t even like I did amazing in school or anything either, I just got glasses and BAM I was a nerd. Granted, I ended up fitting in well with the stereotype later on.

Back when I was a kid, being a nerd isn’t the same as it was now. If I had been into what I’m into now back then…I’m pretty sure I’d be considered a freak of nature or something by those popular girls….who….I want to just say, that in high school one of them came up to me wearing….FAKE GLASSES and asked me where I got mine and I smiled all sweet like and said “Oh you wanna try em on for a second?” And she was like “OMG YEAH!” And then she put them on and screamed, cause well, I’m like blind and you know MY GLASSES ARE REAL. So I pulled them off her face and said “I got them at a glasses store. Obviously.” And then I walked away. BAM. TAKE THAT! DON’T WEAR FAKE GLASSES IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU COOL IT JUST PISSES OFF ACTUAL SEEING-IMPAIRED PEOPLE LIKE ME!!!!! (I mean, you can wear them for cosplay or if you are actually seeing impaired and just want to wear glasses on an off day, because WE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO RELY ON GLASSES!!)

A-hem. So, basically. Nerd meant, to me, being scrawny and wearing glasses. In a way it still does. I don’t really think of nerd in the glamourized context it has today, since when I was a “nerd” it wasn’t glamorous at all….especially when I got that hulking hearing aid in third grade and became a social leper because of it.

Yep, I’m pretty much blind and pretty much deaf. Think of me as your grandmother. 

I have known that I am a nerd for as long as I can remember. I was that kid that always had her nose stuck in a book, and since I had pretty severe ADD it was amazing that a book could hold my attention for an extended period of time. It makes sense, then, that my first forays into nerdom were through books.
It all began with Animorphs. I surprise myself with how freely I am able to reveal that here, because very few people know how obsessed I was. I spent all of my allowance on these books, and for a little kid that is some serious dedication. The show came around long after I had moved on from the books, but I still watched it loyally. [JT's note: Mmmmm... Tobia....  wait... didn't I make that joke before?]

I started to share my nerdiness with others after I discovered Harry Potter. Finally, there were others who read the same books that I liked! That was a huge step for me, because I had been escaping into the fantastic worlds in fantasy books long before these other kids. I read the Hobbit when I was about seven having no idea what it was only to rediscover it again in my early teens. It is hard to explain how this phenomenon changed my life, and I truly think it did. I went from super nerd; the girl who got in trouble for sneaking books in school, only listened to country music, and could care less about clothes or her hair, to the girl who read Harry Potter before it was cool [JT's note: Ummmmmm... -See picture-]. It was as if I had been validated; for once I was actually interested in something that other people liked. Eventually I made friends with other people who liked the same books I did, and we went to midnight book releases and movie premiers. Many of those people never knew the full extent of my obsession. The internet allowed me to connect with other hardcore fans and I tried and failed miserably at fanfiction, but found my niche creating graphics for other users. I used to obsessively follow fan sites during the lulls between books and movies; searching for news, working out the puzzles on J.K. Rowling’s website for clues, and theorizing about the next book. I have yet to find another fandom to rival Harry Potter. Doctor Who comes close, but the secrecy surrounding Harry Potter made it so much more intriguing.

I have not yet fully embraced my love of Manga and Anime; JT calls me a “closet otaku.” I tend to be much more open about my more mainstream fandoms.

My current obsession is, without a doubt, Doctor Who. I discovered the reboot on Netflix a few years back, and it all went downhill from there. It has certainly replaced Harry Potter for me in terms of my level of dedication. Doctor Who also introduced me to the world of cosplay. Without ever realizing what I was doing, I recognized Amy Pond’s famous red hoodie on American Apparel and bought it on the spot. When I started to see other clothing Items that I liked and started to search for them, I stumbled into this whole other world that I never knew about before. Now, I had dressed up for Harry Potter releases before, but this was something completely different. I have never been to a convention or anything, so for now it is relegated to the obscure Halloween costume category. Like my fabulous Bones costume that no one recognized, and a pretty good Ginny that was downgraded to “Gryffindor student.” This year it will be “Oh, I’m this girl on this TV show who travels through time” and no one will understand. And I am perfectly OK with that.

 [JT's note: She's being lazy.  So stop back some other time and see if she ever responds...  You know, therapy won't work if you don't try :/ ]

I didn't chose the nerd life... the nerd life chose me.  No seriously... I was born a nerd: Half Korean and apparently some kind of extra mental capacity compared to the other students.  Now, it's a word I'm proud to be identified by (I named myself NerdPop for crying out loud), but it wasn't always like that...

In the beginning, back in late elementary/early middle school, when it started to become apparent I was a nerd, I viewed it as something terrible and derogatory.  I tried to hide it.  I acted and even dressed differently. No one could know my dirty little secret!  Buuut it's kind of hard to hide though when you're top of the class.  That sounds really boastful, I know, but it seemed like I was the only one who would even put in the effort (besides those in my immediate circle of friends).

After a while though, I started to come to terms with it, being the first one in my former group of friends to make it out of that awkward stage where you feel the need to be someone you're not.  I started to feel more comfortable in my pale skin.  Going away to college helped immensely as well.  I went from being the nerd at the top of the class to surrounded by other nerds, and you want to know something?  I was in good company *points to the three above me*.

Eventually I fully embraced it and have been living it up to the fullest (or as much as I can).  I went from nerd geek to nerd chic...

Or so I'd like to think : P

Before I wrap things up for me, I have one little thing I want to say.  Back in middle school, we watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Social Studies (our teacher was an odd ball... but he was the best).  Naturally, I would always get teased with comments about how me and Hermione were meant for each other.  I'll admit that, at the time, I wasn't opposed to the idea.  There was no way I would admit it though since I was deep in nerd-repression.

My response now to all of those who would try and make jokes about it back then?  HA!

Shameless opportunity to show a pic of Ms. Watson XD
Ok.  That's all the time we've paid for this week.  Shame.  I was getting so comfortable on that giant couch too...