I’m tempted to say that I’ve always been quirky or awkward, but I feel like that terminology has been romanticized in recent years. There is nothing pleasant about feeling your blood curdle when you hear a knock on the front door, nothing edgy about lying awake at 3 AM because your brain replays every mistake you’ve ever made over and over like a blooper reel. According to the professionals, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Specific Social Anxiety, and a Motor Skills and Processing Disorder. I don’t know about all that. What I do know is for some irrational reason I can speak flawlessly in front of a classroom and even the Statehouse, but I become nauseous and stutter when speaking to someone at a customer service desk. I know that I fear opening pill bottles because the sound cotton balls make when rubbing against pretty much anything makes me shutter, I instead tell people I have a phobia of cotton balls because that sounds slightly less insane. I know that when someone throws something to me, I hear it hit the ground before I even see it coming my way. Finally, I know that on a day to day basis, I’ve taught myself to function just fine.
Growing up, when I was trying to find hobbies that suited me, it was clear that sports were out of the question, and while I love art many projects become a source of frustration for me. Living in a small town meant that there weren’t many local activities to participate in either, and I didn’t want to mingle with the countless classmates who bullied me anyway. This only caused my love of books to grow and it wasn’t long before my fascination spread to all other forms of pop culture. I’d fall in love with an author, actor, or musician and relentlessly digest their complete works. I thought I was so bizarre and kept my interests a secret.
In 2006, at the age of 16, I discovered Meebo. Meebo was a social media site that allowed you to connect all of your instant messaging accounts in one place as well as participate in Meebo chat rooms. It was in those chat rooms that I first discovered like-minded people and made lifelong friends. I realized that I was not alone and finally found a place where I wouldn’t be judged for my geeky interests and I was welcomed with open arms even when I was being less than graceful. I eventually transferred to Tumblr, and now the nerdy blogging community and discovered that my interests were fandoms and that the members of these fandoms are nothing short of amazing. The acceptance of the friends who “live in my computer” have helped me to make friends in the “real world” too. Now, I’m raising my kids, blogging, and going to college for Communications and Media Studies so that I can continue to make my interests a viable career. Not every day is easy, but I am grateful that each day I am closer to becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be.
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