My daughter came home from school last week, sobbing, because one of the kids in her preschool called her a nerd. While I stroked her hair and wiped her tears, I flashed back 25 years to when I was fifteen. The head cheerleader, who was my secret friend, turned away from me at the lunch table. Standing there, holding my green plastic tray with my soggy hamburger, limp fries, and orange juice, I saw the apology in her cheerleader eyes when she said, ďThis is not the nerd table.Ē
She may have been cruel, but she wasnít dumb. I am a nerd. Straight A, pre-med, attended church twice a week, didnít drink until I turned 21, didnít cuss, and saved my virginity for marriage. I knew what it would take to fit in. I was pretty enough, could be funny enough, and I did date the schoolís cutest boy. But to sit at the lunch table with the cool kids, Iíd have to pretend to be someone I wasnít. The truth was that I cared about getting good grades because I wanted to be a great doctor one day. I didnít drink at parties because I thought it would be irresponsible. I chose not to sleep with my boyfriend because I didnít feel ready to have that kind of emotional connection, not to mention that I was scared to death of getting pregnant.
Does that make me a nerd, or just an authentic human being?
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