Confessions of a Grown-up Geek

I have a confession to make.  I have been a geek for all of my life and yet, I still haven’t really come to terms with that and accepted myself for who I am.  I’m in the process of trying, but every time I’m exposed to a social situation reminiscent of high school, it throws me into a tailspin of self-doubt, self-pity, anxiety, and generally feeling like the loser I was treated as through much of high school.  My husband gets to see the insecurities and vulnerabilities expressed through self-deprecation, mood swings, and irrational outbursts of anger.  The poor guy handles it very well and seems to be willing to continue sticking around.  Others get to experience my personality as it was in high school, when I didn’t even like myself.  I get a bit arrogant and snarky and express my wit through sarcastic comments.  (I hate sarcastic Jenn – usually used as a recourse to cause insult behind a thin veil of humour).

I’m confessing all of this to you today for a couple of reasons.  I think that writing about it will be a bit therapeutic for me.  It’s one of the things that usually helps me to feel better.  When I can make the words floating around in my head real by writing/typing them down, they become more manageable and less overwhelming.  The second reason for my confession today is that it is timely, since I will be plunged into one of those high-school-esque situations this evening.

Tonight I’m going to something I like to call an “A-List” event.  It’s mostly attended by those folks who would have been on the “A-List” in high school – the jocks, the beautiful, the party crowd.  As far as I’ve been able to discern (as an admittedly prejudiced outsider) the purpose of most social gatherings involving the “A-List” is to drink alcohol with a secondary purpose of finding potential partners unless you are currently involved with someone.

Since I’m leaving for the event straight from work with my husband, I have limited options for my appearance.  It must be work appropriate, but casual enough to blend in.  My wardrobe is desperately in need of an update, so my selection was mainly focussed on the simple principle that dark colours are slimming.  Since my office is perpetually air conditioned and I’m usually cold until I start sweating, I threw on a black hoodie – my only clean black sweater.  I also did pay a bit more attention to my makeup this morning.  My hair, is pretty stubborn and determined and will do whatever it wants to regardless of my attentions.

I’m trying my best to brace myself for an uncomfortable situation though.  I am not at ease socially.  My husband, who had a very different high school situation than I did, will be fine.  It isn’t his crowd either, but he’ll be able to talk sports and make small talk just fine.  I will know a few people there but it is not acceptable to cling to people for the duration of the party.  Mingling is expected.  Unless you want to just sit on the sidelines and observe.  Which is exactly what I suspect will end up happening until one of the people whom I already know takes pity on me and comes to talk to me again.

The thing is that I know that I don’t fit in.  I never did and I don’t think that I ever will.  When I’m not faced with these situations, I’m usually fine with that reality.  However, when events like these come up, I find myself wanting to fit in.  I want acceptance and to be part of the group.  Yet at the same time, I still feel a lot of negative feelings directed at these people.  I feel angry at them and think mean things about them in my head even when they personally have done nothing against me.

I’m reminded of quote from one of my favourite ‘girly’ movies The Jane Austen Book Club. One of the main characters, in an argument with her husband, says “High school’s never over.”

As sad as that quote is, I feel like part of me is still stuck forever in high school with all the stupid insecurities that went with it.  I guess I’ll see how I hold up this evening.  For those that follow me on twitter, I may be tweeting from the party – both to report my status and to make myself seem slightly more cool.



  1. Marsha said,

    June 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    From one grown-up geek to another – you’re not alone. I can totally relate and empathize with you. I’m still not comfortable with myself. My husband has moved past all that and is proud to be who he is. I’m often jealous of his self assurance and the way he so easily mingles without worrying about what other people think of him and he’s much geekier than I am. For some people, it’s true that “high school is never over” , but for a lot of people that’s not the case. Those “A-list” people are usually much more insecure and have their own slew of personal problems. Be happy with what you have and who you are, the rest will fall into place. If other’s don’t accept you, that’s their problem. My new group of friends (that I’ve met through my very geeky husband) are the most loyal and dependable and accepting group of people you will ever meet. Having friends like those is more important than anything else in this world, and I’m finally seeing the truth in that. Just be yourself, you’ll find if you put your mind to it you could fit in anywere. You just have to let yourself.

  2. jennerosity said,

    June 3, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    You are so right about what you said. I’m working on getting more comfortable with myself so that I can just let myself be me. I am lucky in that this particular group is not a very large part of my life and I do have a group of very loyal, dependable, and accepting friends out there whom I love to spend time with.

  3. Jacklyn said,

    June 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I am the first one to admit my unusually high level of geekitude. I’m damn proud of it. I never really fit in anywhere myself, but I never really cared. I know that I’m a good person and I have good friends that love me for me. Who needs superficial A-List people in their life anyhow?

    I used to have a really hard time talking to people I didn’t know. I knew I needed to work on it really hard, so I got a job serving tables. It helped me out tremendously and now I love talking to strangers. I could probably carry on a conversation with a damn wall now. 🙂

    The most important thing here is for you to feel comfortable with who you are as a person. And once you’ve got that, everything else comes naturally.

  4. jennerosity said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    As luck would have it, I married into a family with one or two A-list people, so I’m kinda stuck with them.

    I really need to work on getting more comfortable with myself and getting over my shyness. I wish I weren’t such a slave to my insecurities. Talking to other geeks helps me feel more normal though. Thanks for the comments!

  5. Tina Su said,

    June 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    “I’m in the process of trying, but every time I’m exposed to a social situation reminiscent of high school, it throws me into a tailspin of self-doubt, self-pity, anxiety, and generally feeling like the loser I was treated as through much of high school. “

    Will you let me know (via email: tina _at_ of what worked for you and what didn’t during your path to over come shyness? I’m currently passively pondering about the subject of turning shyness to empowerment, and I’ve love to hear your input.

    Talk soon,

    P.S. I too am a geek. 🙂 But I’m starting to crack that shell. In high school, geeks are just smart people, except society likes to put a negative spin to the word meaning. As adults, geeks are passionate people about a particular subject. And more often than not, the geeks grows up as successful adults. I would like to celebrate that fact!! =)

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