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Say It Loud: I’m a Nerd and I’m Proud - All The Single Girlfriends

Say It Loud: I’m a Nerd and I’m Proud

"I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam." Popeye

Mar 29, 2011 by

Hi, I’m JaneA, and I’m a completely unapologetic nerd.

I embody pretty much every one the hallmarks of classic nerditude: I read science fiction and fantasy novels, I play Dungeons & Dragons, I can recite entire Monty Python skits from memory, I love cats more than I love most people, and I spend entirely too many hours in front of a computer.

When I look back, I see that I’ve been a nerd since my earliest days. I was reading when I was three years old. In school I liked class time better than recess because I just loved to learn. I spent my summer vacations reading books by the dozens, I was crazy about superheroes, and I preferred Legos and Lincoln Logs to Barbies and princess outfits.

I created my first computer animation, a spoof of a popular Calvin Klein commercial, in ASCII characters, programmed in BASIC, on the TRS-80 computer in my seventh grade study hall. But even then I didn’t identify as a nerd.

In high school, my nerdish proclivities became more pronounced. I got involved in theater, I sang in the chorus, and I even joined the math team. I liked Weird Al Yankovic and stayed up late to listen to Dr. Demento on the radio. But still I didn’t acknowledge what everyone else already seemed to know.

When I was in college, I still fought against defining myself as a nerd. Even though I enjoyed regular all-night Dungeons & Dragons marathons, I did a stint as a DJ on my college radio station, I was an English major, and I’d rediscovered that computers were awesome, I still told myself, “I’m not really a nerd.” After all, I was a serious punk-rock gothic freak! I had a mohawk and a jacket with anti-authority graffiti and hardcore band logos drawn all over it. I marched for gay rights and against the Persian Gulf War. I wrote my Great American Novel to the sounds of the Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie & the Banshees and the Jesus & Mary Chain. I smoked Camels and partied every weekend. How could I possibly be a nerd?

Well, except for the fact that whenever my busy studying, partying, and political protesting schedule allowed, I was at the computer center hanging out the alt.gothic usenet forum. But I couldn’t be a nerd if I was chatting on alt.gothic and not sci.math … right?

Fast forward 20 years. I don’t party like a rock star anymore, but I have come to accept and take pride in my nerditude. I still like to play D&D. I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years in one forum or another, and that hobby has developed into a cat advice blog read by thousands every week. And yes, it makes my nerdy little heart swell with joy to think that I’m “internet famous” — in a good way, not a 4chan way!


About the Author

JaneA Kelley Has Written 2 Articles For Us!

In 2003, I began writing a cat advice column, Paws and Effect under the noms de plume of my cats. Eight years, three paying jobs and numerous freelance gigs later, I'm still writing Paws and Effect. I'm also the editor of Catster's Kitty News Network blog and I do lots of other cat-related freelance writing. By day, I work as a communications officer for one of the largest community foundations in New England. I'm an active volunteer with my local SPCA, and I love to work as a "techie" in local live theater productions.
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6 Comments

  1. Steve Ringle

    Hey, JaneA: come around the museum some time and say hello. It’s been a long time since you were my work/study student. I’d love to hear more about what you’ve been up to since 1985 (!!yikes!!). -Steve

  2. Toby, “NERD” is one of my favorite words! I am also a nerd and I LOVE IT! :) Thank you for visiting Mommy D’s Kitchen doll!

  3. JaneA – Your post reminded me of one of my best college profs. On the first day of class we told us that for the first 18 years of our lives people were filling our suitcases. The rest of our life would be spent deciding what we would keep, throw out and add in on our own. A huge lesson for a college freshman.

    • That college prof had it pretty much spot on. I feel as though I started to truly discover who I am when I got to college–I didn’t have to put on a mask to be even vaguely accepted by my peers or my family.

      By the way, I still love punk and gothic music and I’ll still march and protest whenever I feel it needs to be done. I don’t miss the manically silly times and the angst and depression of young adulthood, though. Nerdiness is the one factor that’s stuck with me throughout my life, and maybe the one thing that the creator, in whatever form you believe it to be, had put in my suitcase.

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