I think I was always a closeted nerd. I mean, I was a nerd, but never really embraced who I was until I was well into my 20's. Sure, I played Mario Brothers when I was little, but I never really understood what I was doing, so I don't feel it counts. I'd questioned my nerdiness in my teens, I'd experimented with it when I was alone in my room, quietly playing "Dragon Warrior" on old school nintendo when no one was around. But as soon as anyone came in the room, I'd turn it off and pretend I had been watching something non-nerdy like ... uh ... blast, what the devil did non-nerdy kids watch in the mid-ninties?! Dawson's Creek!*
As I matured (who am I kidding, I never matured), I pretended that I wasn't a nerd. I hid it from my family and loved ones. I took Kickboxing. I skiied. I pretended to like art. But the whole time I felt I wasn't being true to myself.
Then one day, it all came crashing down. Actually, it wasn't just one day. It was a series of events. And it probably started with my friend introducing me to the Sims (Thanks a lot Greg). I spent hours upon hours creating imaginary communities for imaginary people, delighting in the fact that I could kill them off in a split second by removing the ladder to the pool and causing them to drown, or locking them in a room with a rocket that they would stupidly light and burn to death, or not letting them go to the bathroom (is that realistic? Has anyone died from that?). The point is, The Sims was a safe way for me to experiment with my nerdiness.
From there I got addicted to more hardcore games. First came Zelda, The Twilight Princess. My entire life revolved around Link and his perilous quest to save the princess. Soon, we bought an x-box, and I slowly stepped out of the nerd closet. I went into EB Games on my own, without the guise of buying a game for "my husband." I began go into these shops, asking legitimate questions about the games, such as "Is this a hack and slash, or turn-based?" (as opposed to illegitimate questions like, "What day does 'Two Worlds' come out?"**) I knew the lingo. I got the jokes. I was a nerd.
And then it happened. I signed up for World of Warcraft. The ultimate nerd experience. I began pwning noobs***. I began making WoW references in everyday conversation. I embraced my nerdiness. I accepted myself for who I was.****
So to all you young nerds out there taking flack for being a level 6 half-elf with a plus 3 two handed broad sword, and having a d20 on hand in case a D&D campaign breaks out at any given time, I'm here to tell you - It does get better. Be who you are. Be a nerd*****.
*See? I can't even think of something non-nerdy!!
**Apologies to anyone who liked that game. But come on - you just rode a horse around the who time. Lame.
***To be fair, the noobs mostly pwned me.
****I've since stopped playing WoW, but only because I wanted to dedicate my free time to Skyrim.
*****But don't expect to get laid.