The other day I caught myself standing in my driveway totally engrossed in my Wired magazine. I heard my neighbor say, “Hey!” And I looked over at him and said, “Hey, look the Muppets are on the cover this month,” and I held up the magazine to show him. He looked at me like I was a weirdo and said, “Okay.” He quickly walked to his mailbox to retrieve his mail and I looked down at my feet and realized I was wearing my socks with sandals and I had my glasses on. “Geez, I’m a nerd,” I thought to myself.
There was a time in my life when I would have been ashamed of myself for being a nerd. And there is no doubt that I was definitely a nerd growing up. I had crazy, untamed long hair, large round glasses, and crooked teeth. In fifth grade, my parents let me get contact lenses, so I finally lost the glasses. In 7th grade they got me braces and fixed my teeth. I started saving my money and buying my own clothes, and I was able to shed my nerdy appearance.
|Apparently my glasses weren't bad enough so my mom made my sister and I matching outfits to wear in public which enabled us to make this pilgrim woman look cool.|
But I never could cure my nerdy heart. Fortunately, I went to a small high school and my classmates and I were all pretty good friends. Everyone knew I was a nerd, but I was still cool. My senior year of high school I got a phone call from an Army recruiter. He asked to speak to Mr. Kim Wade. I said, “I’m Kim, but I’m not a guy.” He asked me if I went to Dublin High School and I confirmed that I did. He was confused—apparently I made the highest score on the math and science section of the test they give all high school seniors. He just assumed I was a guy since, in his words, “girls never outscore boys on math and science.”
By the time I started college, I had accepted the fact that I was drawn to books about science and technology and I didn’t try to hide them anymore. But I was more drawn to the smell of old hardcover literature books, so I majored in English. It was a tough decision when I declared my major and it was something that I would regret later. I loved hanging out in the science building and doing lab work. But I loved working at the school newspaper more.
Being a nerd was not appreciated during my marriage though. I remember my ex and I driving down to Florida for a vacation with the kids. I was engrossed in a book in the car and he asked me what I was reading. “It’s a book about the Voyager spacecraft,” I said. “Why?” he asked. “Because it’s pretty interesting. Did you know that one of Jupiter’s moons has a volcano?” He laughed, “Oh my God, you’re a nerd.” I thought to myself, “Go ahead and laugh, it doesn’t faze me.”