erin!

United States

叶安灵 // 16, 2022 // she-her-hers
hey hey

Message to Readers

this isn't really great or innovative of me, but it's been on my mind so i decided to punch it out. hope you are all doing well :)

do i peel the label off?

September 7, 2020

FREE WRITING

18

I once remarked to a friend while we were sitting on her couch,
    “You know, nobody from school fits the “nerd” stereotype that you see in the 
movies.”
Silence. A count of one, two three.
    “Erin, it’s you,” she said matter-of-factly. 
Then we went back to eating popcorn and watching Harry Potter.

I thought about what she said, and I still don’t think she’s right. Unlike the nerds in the movies, I’ve never been slammed against a locker or had my head shoved down a toilet. I do wear glasses (the result of reading in the dark too often as a child), but I usually go for my contacts instead. I don’t think I deserve that kind of label, that badge of honor, because I’ve managed to survive high school without much effort.

Where I do match the idea of a nerd is in my enthusiasm for knowledge. I am a fiend for fun facts, an addict of text analysis, and maybe the only person in the building who gets excited about proofs. Seeing as we have a cockroach problem and the classrooms always smell a little funky, there’s plenty of reason to dislike school. The district could use better funding, or at least spend their money on air conditioning rather than brand new lacrosse fields every year. But I like being there anyway.

I am straight-laced. I don’t like to party and I feel more comfortable discussing the French Revolution than I do making small talk. That’s just how it is, and that’s just how it’ll be. It doesn’t make me quirky or better than anybody else. We’re all dumb teenagers, different variations of the same confused tune.

I imagine at a public school with over 1,600 students, people have talked about me behind my backs. It never comes back to me and I don’t give people reasons to dislike me, so it doesn’t matter. I have friends, not a lot, but enough that I’m never lonely and there’s always someone willing to offer up homework that I forgot was due. I always do the same for them.

Maybe I am a nerd. The definition is loose. I’m grateful to have floated by the social sharks, swimming and blowing bubbles on my way. Will I have a date to prom? Probably not. But I’ve learned that there are many things not worth crying over.

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9 Comments
  • madeline3.14159

    this is so relatable!!! i agree that nerd is much less of an offensive term then it used to be. we are all just teens who are living life. labels don't become us.


    3 months ago
  • journal.scribbles

    avoiding the big bang's comment actually makes a lot of sense. Hmm. I never thought about it like that. This piece though, it's so relatable for me. I'm really glad I read it. It's comforting in a way to me that we're not alone in feeling this way.


    3 months ago
  • inanutshell

    ahh highkey relate to this definition of a "nerd" - i was very much like this back in secondary school & always felt weird about it, like i fit the label but not the stereotype. tried to shake off this label in my higher education years and it affected me more than i'd like to admit. how you unabashedly own who you are here in this piece is amazing, and re: "But I’ve learned that there are many things not worth crying over." that's so true! wished i'd learned that sooner and not sweat all of this social stuff - "We’re all dumb teenagers, different variations of the same confused tune." no one will ever have it all figured out and that's okay. love how you've embraced that here :)


    3 months ago
  • avoiding the big bang

    i love this! i think the reason you may have survived as a "nerd" in school without getting your head shoved down a toilet is because the word is not as offensive as it used to be. i use the word "nerd" a lot, when i'm gently teasing myself or others but never in a derogatory way, and my parents are always shocked when they overhear it because when they were in school calling someone a nerd was a real offense, and people who exhibited nerdy behavior were bullied. there's a more accepting environment now. people are owning the term. i'm glad you're accepting your identity. great piece.


    3 months ago
  • Dmoral

    also,

    RIP THE LABEL OFF HUN

    -ik that contradicts my previous comment but oh well, i think u know what i mean ;)_


    3 months ago
  • Dmoral

    fyi stereotypes are pretentious, the only labels people deserve are their names; best of luck to you ! ~


    3 months ago
  • Rohan’s Defender

    This is SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN!!! I think you sound awesome, and I hope you never let anyone make you feel like you need to change your love of school!


    3 months ago
  • rainandsonder

    i've never been quite so much the nerd as i have been the pretentious indie person (i'm not super pretentious but you know... likes alternative music and 80s movies, writes poetry, cares a lot about activism, dresses like i'm in a 90s grunge band) but i know what it's like to fit into a label. i've never been wholly satisfactory with the box that i fit into it because unfortunately i've always been really conscious of what other people think and say, but reading this is really comforting? to know that it's OK to be who you are, if that makes sense.


    3 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    "I imagine at a public school with over 1,600 students" oh gosh I always forget how massive "normal" schools are! That said, despite this not being super elaborate or exceptionally eloquent (alliteration unintentional but welcomed), it still struck a chord for me. I'm glad you wrote this. Okay, now I'm gonna go have another mid-teen crisis thanks.


    3 months ago