It turns out that all that stuff we felt when we were young nerd girls (the invisiblia, the misunderstanding, the general weirdness feeling) is all still there. And it sucks.
One of my students that I have worked with for a couple years now explained to me how she is basically THE outcast of her social scene. Mostly because she loves the same things I love. Doctor Who. Harry Potter. Star Wars. Star Trek. Cosplay. Legos. Showtunes. She is basically a younger version of me.
She is the geek girl I was when I was in 8th grade. I was waaay more closeted than she was, that's for sure. And her geekiness just isn't cool enough for the other kids because she's too geeky. I mean when does the world become fair? When are we just enough for the kid next to us in french?
We talked about Crossplaying and how cosplaying in general empowered women and allows self expression in a way that also encourages research and development. We chatted about anime that she is into and how classical composers make her heart pitter patter. And then a kid threw a ball at her head in what I can only hope was a (poor) attempt at flirting. I thought so much about being a young adolescent girl on my drive home. About the pain of that experience and the self gains I made when I finally self identified. By the time I figured out who I was, and I mean really figured it out, I was married (for the first time) and I had Treyson. At that point I actually realized the best version of myself because I had to for my son.
To be 12 again. To be confused about my place in this world. I mean, I still am sometimes, but I am definitely more convicted about the places and things I belong to. Honestly, I don't know what I am rambling about at this moment. I guess, I would just ask you to do this. Next time you see a young, impressionable, geek girl compliment her.
Remind her that she is awesome. Tell her that you love her TARDIS phone case and that you used to have one like that. Maybe mention that her Mockingjay pin on her bag is awesome and ask her if she is excited about the movie that just released. Maybe walk past a girl in a Star Wars hoodie and remind her that the force is with her always. Just do the kind things.
I know that if I would have had more awesome geek ladies participating in my life or promoting general world kindness I would have probably embraced my (closeted) fandoms a lot earlier and in a lot bigger way.
Maybe I would have found my place, or my conviction, a little bit sooner and lost some of that invisiblia feeling.
This one is for the middle schoolers out there. Watch Doctor Who. Bring your wand to school, as long as it is not considered a weapon. Cosplay on Tuesday because you feel like it. Carry your latest favorite dystopian novel with pride. Be as awesome as you are, because you are awesome.
...and remember, stay exceptionally chic & exquisitely geek.