To all my fellow geeks: Don’t let your old insecurities trip you up

If you’re like me, during your childhood, teenage and college years, you were not the most popular person in school. Not even close. You never got to hang around with the so-called “A-list” crowd because they thought they were “too good” for you. You were socially awkward, not particularly attractive, had zero fashion sense, and had the grace of a bunny rabbit on an acid trip. Your seating preference in the classroom was in the very back where you could hide from not just the teachers but students, too, and on the bus to and from school it wasn’t uncommon for you to be the laughing stock of the moment with an unforgiving group of “A-listers.”

Yes, my fellow geeks, I know you understand. Because you remember. I remember.

Those painful days were like perpetual hell for many of us – seemed like they would never end. But they did, because after college comes real life where even “the beautiful people” have trouble surviving if they don’t have the necessary skills to make a name for themselves in this world. After college, life becomes more about what you know and who you know rather than how you look. That’s where we geeks had & have the distinct advantage over the “cool kids.” :D

But just for good measure – and because we didn’t want to have to relive memories of the past everytime we looked in a mirror – some/many of us started taking better care of our appearance. Some started doing so during college, some started after. The goal was to be the “total package”: Brains and looks. Or, at the very least, have a respectable appearance to go alongside your inner geek. For me, my goal was to stop being a fashion nightmare, which I think (hope!) worked. :) From there, life took us in different directions, with some of us finding both professional and personal happiness, while others were still “in search” of themselves and what they ultimately wanted to do in life. Personally speaking, it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s that I felt I had any degree of “got it together” going on. I obtained a job I liked where people respected me and valued my input, I eventually bought my first house, and I finally started to put my novice writing skills to work by starting a political blog in 2003, which grew quickly into my “baby.” Your confidence typically gets stronger as your grow and mature, almost to the point that you forget about what you went through as a geek in high school and college.

But every once in a blue moon, something happens, something is said or done, that causes those memories to flood back and briefly turn you back into that insecure, gawky, trip-over-your-own-feet teenager again. And if you’re not careful, it won’t just “briefly” take you back to that point but you will dwell on it to the point that it’s hard to get out of the funk. I sorta kinda had something like this happen to me a couple of weeks ago. Was having the kind of morning where I felt like everything I said or did was wrong. Also was dealing with a colleague who I felt had a bit of a superiority complex, which didn’t help matters. In my mind, I was once again that insignificant teenager whose opinion her classmates didn’t care about, whose every attempt at a step forward was a misstep with a trip landing. I could have spent the whole day dwelling on bad memories, but I didn’t want to. This marvelous daily devotional at the Heart to Heart with Holley website helped get me back on track. That and an imaginary kick to my backside!

It would have been so easy to wallow in self-pity – and believe me, I can throw one heck of a Pity Party when I want to ;) – but I didn’t. I read that devo, kicked myself, looked outside to see the clouds and some rare (for this week, anyway) sunshine, and thought, “It’s going to be ok. God loves me. I have a family who loves me just the way I am, and friends who care. I’ve come a long way, and made great strides in my life.”

I may still be a geek at heart (and there is NOTHING wrong with that – believe me, I totally embrace my Geekhood :D ) but I do not want back in my life the feelings of inadequacy that go along with that time in my life. None of us do. Such feelings can be self-destructive if you let them. So when you find yourself in a similar situation where you’re having a bad time and you start thinking of yourself as a nobody, just remember that a whole lot of people know differently. Also, think about how far you’ve come from the days when you thought the torment from classmates would never end. You’re an adult. You have a career. You have a life. So many people love you and care about you and respect you. God loves you. Don’t let a minor setback like a flashback to “the geek days” be the catalyst for a crappy day. Hold your head high and brush off the temporary setback like it’s an insignificant piece of lint on your shirt.

Better now. :)

Video link