If you’re reading this, you are special, you do matter, and you’re amazing. Nerds all over today have done revolutionary things, broke social boundaries, and changed the way we view ourselves in a much better light.

If you’re an oddball like myself fitting in with society hasn’t been easy. I remember getting bullied for liking school and respecting my teachers. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why someone like me was getting treated so badly. I thought if I changed my hair, changed the clothes that I wear, and changed the music that I listened to that I would be liked. The realism of this all is that you shouldn’t hide who you truly are to be someone others want you to be because you won’t be happy. Sure I liked not being picked on all the time, but I found myself happier eating my lunch alone watching anime than bring fake with a bunch of people who consider themselves “better than everybody else”. To this day I feel foolish for ever putting myself through things like that.

The first step to embracing your nerdiness is to stop lying to yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. Self-discovery is something that plays a part in this role as well. You know who you are and that’s what really matters. I know its easier said than done, but once you get comfortable with yourself others will see that their perspective doesn’t even matter. If someone catches you reading comics, playing handheld games or picking up action figures don’t fear the humiliation. Fear not being able to be yourself because of what others think. Fear not being able to brag about your collections. Fear living a double life. Fear living a lie.

The second step is to love the nerd that you are. This is a practice of self-love. If your self-esteem has been torn down throughout your life there is still hope. I’ve been called all kinds of names, but with my journey of self-discovery, I was able to find the love that I needed to prove myself wrong. It’s not about proving others wrong, it’s about proving yourself wrong. My anxiety and depression caused me to treat my self horribly. I would call myself ugly, not good enough, and a disgrace just because others filled my head with those nasty things. I became my biggest critic and that is not okay at all. I’m a nerd because of my father. I was a huge daddy’s girl and he pulled me into the world of comics, superheroes, and video games. I looked up to him so much that I became an even bigger nerd than him. He didn’t hide it around me, he wasn’t ashamed, and he was loved by a lot of people. I want to be able to be that same inspiration for my children one day. I figured if he was proud of who he was as a person what excuse do I have not to be proud of myself. One exercise that really changed my perspective about myself is the physical vs personality exercise. I took a sheet of paper and on the front, I wrote about the physical traits that I love about myself. On the other side, I wrote about the personality traits that I loved about myself. This gave me a reason to love myself. When you know you’re awesome things get better.

The third and last step is to share with others. I spent so much time trying to befriend people that didn’t even like me from the beginning that I didn’t take the time to get to know people who loved me for who I am. I’m not saying you are only bound to one social group or only other nerds will accept you. I’m saying people that acknowledge who you are will appreciate you. Don’t have your walls up for everybody to not see who beautiful/handsome or smart/amazing you are. You are a representation of yourself and what you stand for. Stand for the nerdiness that lives inside of you and embrace it.