My favorite author, Alexandra Robbins' new book The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth got me thinking.
I was that girl in high school, the freshman sitting with the seniors, the homecoming and prom court popular cheerleader. I was famous in a small town for acting.
You see, I was never really the cool girl I pretended to be. I have spent my whole life a closet geek, trapped in the class clown/cheerleader body.
I would win an award for some state academic competition, then maintain my cool, non-geek status by cutting the power in the cafeteria and starting a food fight. I spent so much of my energy masking my geeky tendencies trying to stay popular, I lost sight of what really made me cool ... being myself.
Put a geek in a cheerleading uniform and she's just a geek in a short skirt. Well, Im tired of hiding. I am letting my geek flag fly.
For starters, I have an electronic dictionary-thesarus on my nightstand to define any words I come across in my books that I dont know. I. Am. A. Geek. There, I am out of the closet.
Alexandra Robbin's "Quirk Theory" mentioned with the book The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth states that many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the same traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect, or find compelling about that person in adult-hood.
Had I embraced my true quirky, nonconformist self in high school, rather than changing who I was to appeal to others and confirm to society's standards, I'd be a lot more successful and happier now. And bad habits die hard because I still find myself doing that shit.
But why was I really popular?
It wasn't because I was "cool" it was because I was nice to everyone. I fit in with every clique. I didn't have to change myself to do that either. I just accepted everyone for who they were. The "in crowd," the art freaks, the skaters, the thugs, and especially the geeks. In fact, I even had a secret fetish for them, even in high school.
"Timmy" (name changed to protect the innocent) was hands down the biggest underclassman dork in school. One day he somehow managed to knock over the entire stack of returned dirty trays in the cafeteria, making a sound so loud it demanded the entire cafeteria's attention. Everyone was startled, and then when they saw him standing there covered in people's dirty food with trays spattered all about, everyone started laughing at him. I got up from the cool, senior table, and started helping him pick up the trays, and his dignity. I shot out a look that said bully him and I will bully you, and people shut up. It was at that moment that I realized the power of popularity and wondered why people don't use it for good in exchange for the special treatment. I also thought that high SAT scores and love of the arts are sexy, and found myself developing a little crush on the baby-faced, trombone-case carrying, tube sock wearing geek. So I decided to seduce him.
I took initiative and asked him if he wanted to hang out. He invited me to come over to his parents basement and help him work on his lines for the school play, because his mom wouldn't let him come out. I meanwhile was a senior with my own apartment I was subletting from a college student and host to the big parties on the weekend. Clearly we lived in different worlds. But I went over the his parents basement and I made out with him a little bit, even let him touch his first boob. I had to coach him through every step and explain to him the difference between beer and wine. I wished I was a geek, sheltered from those things like he was. His mom came downstairs with milk and cookies and shot me a look that said back off my innocent son.
So I did. But I told him he could walk with me in the hallway between classes so people would stop picking on him and the underclassman girls would notice him. I feel like I did my good deed for Timmy.
My friends to do this day call it my Timmy phase. Its not a phase though. Thats who I am and geeks are who I like.
But when it's all said and done, here's how I am remembered at my high school. Not for being popular.
Cason-Point: Alexandra Robbin's Quirk Theory is correct.