Nerd Shame is Real
When I was a kid I kept to myself for the most part. I had friends and was extremely social with them but I was not the type to come out of my shell. My shell was comfortable and I loved it. Inside I held close all of the things that I felt defined me like how much I loved Star Wars or how I usually carried a Dungeons and Dragons book somewhere in my backpack.
I felt shame as a kid with these things because those things were not popular. You saw it in the culture of the time that the kid who read comic books was the first to go head first into a toilet. It was his underwear on a flagpole that others would salute as they headed in for the morning. My kid brain related this to life, so I kept it hidden. Like a missionary in a foreign and hostile land, my religion came out very sparingly. It also would only come out to others who asked about it because I would dare not to bring it up in a casual conversation.
Now I never really experienced bullying, not on any scale that I would consider substantial. So this begs the question why did I closet myself with my Star Wars toys and my computer games? It was fear, and now we will get to why I have been pondering this lately.
Today, I was at work and someone had brought up the topic of seeing the new trailer for the movie Rouge One. I immediately said that it did look good and then launched into what I know about the plot so far. In the middle of my diatribe of Death Star plans and how we have seen Forest Whitaker’s character on the Clone Wars cartoon, I took a second to meet the gaze of the person I was talking to. A look of surprise on the other persons face, like they were a bunny that I had just spooked, was looking back at me. They quickly tried to cover it up by rushing to keep up with what I was saying and in that moment I had realized…I had outed myself.
Suddenly I was 15 again and not in the happy nostalgia kind of way. No it was the cold panic of nerd shame sort of way that I had just dipped myself in. I ended the conversation as quickly as I could and went back to work. Seconds after my horrible exchange is when the paranoia set in. Who would that person tell about what a dork I am, and how would they get my underwear on the flagpole?
Now I am a 34 year old male have grown much more comfortable with myself obviously. The benefit of wisdom and hindsight have done a world of good for my self esteem and brought me a plethora of life experience. However with all that I was shocked to see that a dollop of that self-shame was buried still beneath it all. I don’t know if anyone can relate but I will wrap this up by telling you how I dealt with it.
It is a great time to be alive, Star Wars and comics are saturating our culture at the moment, and video games are now the mainstream. So the chance of you being shamed for being a geek have gone down considerably. And even if you are still worried about it just don’t because you like what you like. We as individuals (especially adults) are beholden to no one. My point is you always have a tribe and if you don’t think you do just shoot me an e-mail. I will gladly let you know that it is okay to be who you are no matter the consequences.
Richard is the other half of the bromance team and is the self confessed geek of the duo. Whether it is pontificating on the merits of Star Wars or going on a rant about why Batman is so much better than Superman he loves to flex that muscle. With Shawn he takes to the mic and hopes that he isn’t awkward enough for you to stop listening.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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If you are interested in writing an article for the LOBarmy Intelligent Reports please contact Richard and Shawn at EatTheBeaver@LanguageOfBromance.Com or reach out to us via twitter @LanguageOfBro.