Yes, I am a nerd. I love Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, Legos, and video games, among other things.
When I was in junior high and high school, being a nerd was something you tried to avoid because “Cool” was supposed to be the goal. I assume it was the same way for pretty much everyone else, because of how it has been the subject of countless movies and television programs. Little did teenaged Kari know that one day she would be proud of her nerdiness, and would not only embrace it, but celebrate it!
I love my nerdy side! I no longer strive to be “cool” because now I understand that nerdy IS cool.
So that’s why, when my husband suggested we start a series of family-friendly Dungeons & Dragons adventures, I responded “YES!” even though I haven’t played since I was younger than my daughter is now and don’t remember a lot except that my favorite part was designing dungeons and drawing pictures of elves. It’s definitely much more complicated now than it was back then. It took us several days of asking friends and reviewing books and searching the internet before I finally understood it enough to build my character. I think. For all I know, people who play regularly would probably look at my character sheet and be like “How in the world did you come up with THAT number?” Or “there’s no way this creature would be able to do that.” But I don’t care. I love the character with so much that I even tried to draw a picture of her. It isn’t exactly like the picture in my head but I’m happy with it anyway. I’m still working on perfecting her but I have even been inspired to write about her. If you want, I might even share her with you. If you ask really nicely.
The important takeaway from this whole thing is that I finally realized I don’t need to pretend to be cool because I already am.
I just wish I had figured this out when I was still a teenager. My mission now is to make sure my kids continue to love their nerdiness and embrace it without shame for the rest of their lives.