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Evolution of a Nerd 

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I've always been a nerd.

Yet, there've been times when I didn't realize this truth of my character, nor did I care to openly acknowledge it.

In early childhood, my love for Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved book series was so strong I wore my homemade pioneer costume for elementary school class picture day so that all my classmates "remembered me" as a pioneer (but probably just a weirdo).

In middle school, I graduated to another historically rooted obsession: The Beatles. While my peers fawned over *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, I wore John Lennon-style glasses from the dollar store perched on my head as a perpetual accessory. I was teased, but inside I scoffed at the other girls' base obsession with "modern" boy bands.

During the socially awkward time from ninth grade onward, however, I came to believe that my "unique" obsessions actually made me "uncool." I grew to deeply care about what people thought of me and my interests. In the throes of young adulthood, being nonconformist was shelved in favor of safe acceptance.

Here today, I'm happy to report that I'm long past that stage, and back to ultimate nerd status. (Young nerds: It does get better.)

I proudly play Magic: The Gathering, a game I wish now I'd more than barely noticed being played by my classmates. I enjoy indie video games, sci-fi/fantasy literature and TV, superheroes, and other nerd-doms of notoriety that I somehow missed during youth (Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, but not Harry Potter — I read the first book in sixth grade right after it came out!) because I was too busy roleplaying as Laura Ingalls, or an all-female version of the Beatles, with my siblings and cousin. In a throwback to my pioneer-dress-wearing days, I've even created a cosplay for my favorite Magic character.

And just recently, I added perhaps the quintessentially nerdiest of nerd activities to the line-up, one I formerly thought I'd never partake, despite all previous indications: Dungeons & Dragons.

Ask me about my wizard! ♦

The original print version of this article was headlined "Evolution of a Nerd"

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