Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Digitally Mingling with the Norms

I spent about twenty minutes this morning discussing a comic-finding mission with a friend of mine on Facebook.  She was looking for a copy of The Last Unicorn #2.  Her LCS couldn't find one for her.  I found her a copy in about 90 seconds of effort.  (I do wonder where her LCS was looking if they couldn't pull this off...)  Naturally, we had this entire discussion via wall posts instead through chat like one ought to for an extended conversation.

About an hour later, I started thinking...

"All of my friends, my family, people I went to high school with and people that I'm sure I know though I don't really remember why or how are reading this!"

"They must think I'm still the colossal nerd that I was throughout school!"

"They must think I'm horribly immature if I'm still this obsessed over comic books!"
(Kinda true...)

"They must think I'm in involved in some shady comic dealing ring!"
(Not true, but I could see their point of view.)

I then sat back and considered the fact that this was not the first time this had happened.  I was officially still a nerd and everybody knew about it.  The only difference is that my drug of choice seems to have changed with age.

I believe I came out as a nerd girl for the first time in the fourth grade.  Something monumental had happened in my life and I had to gleefully babble about it to my friends, classmates and anybody else who was kind enough to listen.  What happened?  I discovered Star Trek.  From that point on, I was labelled.  I was the nerd.

In jr. high, some of the other girls attempted to use this to pick on me.  I don't begrudge them for it.  It was a fine example of age-appropriate cattiness and I certainly gave them good material to work with.  Somehow, though, it never bothered me.  I do consider myself very fortunate that even at the age of twelve, I was able to just shrug the teasing off and go on with my life... geeking without shame.  Needless to say, if teasing fails to have much of an impact, it usually doesn't last long.  So somewhere in the midst of all that, I found my niche amongst my peers: odd, but generally accepted.

Fast forward sixteen years.  I'm friends with most of those girls on Facebook.  They're still doing age-appropriate things: marriage, babies, etc.  On the surface, I look quite normal.  My current profile photo is quite stereotypical: slinky cocktail dress, great hair, fashionably smoky eyes and having fun at a party.  Yet, I'm posting dozens of pictures of my trip to San Diego Comic-Con and mostly "liking" a series of MMOs.  And while it isn't evident, the aforementioned photo was taken at a gaming con in St. Louis.

As much as Facebook is a tool to keep in contact with the people in our life, it's also a tool to judge and be judged.  Thus, it's hard not to wonder what these girls from that era of my life must think of me.  I'm very happy that I can still be a legal adult and yet happily embrace the geeky passions and hobbies that I refuse to leave behind in my childhood.  Yet a part of me believes they must be saying, "Wow.  She hasn't changed a bit.  Can you believe she's still going on about this stuff?"

And if they were to ask me to my face, all I would do is smile and say, "Yep!"  (While secretly enjoying the fact that geek girls are cool now.  Really.)