The Song of Joy

It’s been too long since I’ve sat down here. I keep thinking about this post, and I think it’s mainly because lately, I’ve let anxiety and sadness drag me down. I’m going to try to post at least once a week, something with brightness and hope and lots of love. Because, really, who doesn’t need more of that?

So this, this is a song of joy. Of celebration, and love. And, of course, geekdom.

First, though, I want to tell you a short story. Because this story has been instrumental in the creation of N. And without it, there would be no song of joy today. Be warned – this is a sad, and true, story.

When I was 14, I finally fit in at my school. I had a group of friends that I dug, friends that were new and old, friends that had known me since my career as a student began. I was comfortable there – I showed everyone who I really was, a weird, New Age loving movie geek who loved reading and school. I trusted each of these friends implicitly – we played with each other’s hair, went to dances together, laid awake during sleepovers to disclose the names of the boys that we loved. This was the first time, in my whole life, that I fit in. And I loved every moment of it. I loved being surrounded by people who cared, and people who I cared about.

I remember the day that all changed – February 10. I was passed a note (which was also a new thing – I HAD PEOPLE TO WRITE TO! I loved that!), and opened it under my desk during class. I was surrounded by my friends, because we were allowed to select seats in some of our classes. That note contained a sentence that changed my life – “We think that the world would be a better place if you killed yourself”. That lovely little piece of literature also contained the signature of every single friend that I had at that school. I was dumbfounded – how did all of my friends manage to agree that the world would be better without me in it? I don’t remember the class. But I remember feeling like icy cold water had been thrown on me. I went home, and I wept. I want to say that it got better with time, but really it only stopped when I left the school for the day. Because we got to choose our seats, I was surrounded by these people in almost EVERY CLASS. They laughed at my clothes, at my handwriting, about my glasses. I got passed another note exactly 10 days after the first – they egged me on, telling me that things would be so much better without me around. Every class was hell – and for awhile, I thought about following the note’s advice. Thankfully, I have an amazing family, who support me every moment. Eventually I left that particular school, and found a new group of friends who didn’t know me, didn’t know my story, or my wounds. I grew away from the thinking that leaving might be easier.

But the reason I tell this (rather sad) story is this – once that note was passed to me, I was irrevocably changed. I was no longer free and open with the people I met. Like a mixture of Shrek and Fox Mulder, I grew into a shelled, sceptical person. I revealed myself slowly, sometimes over years, to people – layer after layer of me shedding and slipping away, as my fear of once again being abandoned was ever present. Even as I slowly began to show all of me, I was in constant fear that the person would run. Who would want me? All of my geeky, bibliophile layers were closely protected, and I grew a layer of spikes to scare people away. Don’t get me wrong – I love people. I love meeting new people, but I’m not very good at it. However, once we are friends, I am friends with you until I have reason to not be. But spikes ensured that only the people who wouldn’t hurt me were allowed to approach. As I grew older, my geeky and introverted tendencies took over. I got more awkward, but a little less spikey. I made friends, went to school, traveled. But the fear of being truly exposed – showing my entire self to the people I wanted in my life – stayed with me, and grew the older I got.

SO. Are we sad yet? Can we hear the world’s tiniest violins? Right – here is the good part!

Last year, I hit a bit of a sad. I left JM, which was astoundingly hard. Because, as my sister-from-another-mister puts it, we connected like nobody’s business. She insists that sparks flew the night that we met (she introduced JM and I), and they did. Because of those sparks, my usual years to trust took mere months – and I was utterly and completely me with JM. He knew everything about me – the twisty bits, the scared bits, the total nerd bits – he knew them all. When we broke up, I was once again facing the facts – he didn’t like all of me. Hell, I don’t even know if he liked any of me. So I was sad, but trying to be happy. And then, out of the blue, I got a message from a schoolmate, KM (for Karate Maven), inviting me to a Geek Girls Dinner. She was going with her sister, and would I care to join. I’m a geek, and I always dug KM – so I said yes.

That Dinner was a turning point. I was surrounded by incredible women – KM, her sister JB, BE. That first dinner honestly brought me to tears (once I was home, because let ‘s be honest – no one likes a crying nerd at an awesome dinner). It inspired me to start this blog, and gave the blog its name. I was not alone in the universe. There were people who made their lives about being true to themselves, and to hell what other people thought – whether it was designing geeky baby clothes, or learning karate, or teaching ladies code, or writing like a motherfucker FOR A FULL TIME JOB (this still leaves me in awe). These were people I knew I wanted in my life – because I was in awe of, and terrified of, these powerful and inspiring ladies.

Since that dinner, especially, I have put a lot of focus into my friendships. Specifically, I try to surround myself with people who do what they love, and love what they are doing. I might not reach out all the time, to everyone, but I have a group of friends around me that I would never replace. I am so proud to boast that I have beer fiends, triathletes, runners, writers, teachers, mothers, geeks, gender warriors, gurus, yogis, domestic goddesses, survivors, chefs, artists in my life – and every single one of them inspire me to be a better person. Every person that I have currently in my life pushes me (whether they are aware or not) to be better. To be stronger, braver, push harder, write more. And every single person in my life sees me. It scares me like nothing else to be open with the people I love. But I am. I strive every single day to be more human, and less of a Shrek/Mulder. Who wants a sceptical onion in their life, clinging to their layers like a child clinging to the blankets? No one, that’s who.

I asked above who would want me. And now, so many years after that note, I have an answer for myself. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of it, but I have the answer. Everyone should want me the way that I am, every layer, every facet. And if you don’t….. man. Are you missing out.

Much love, readers. Let’s see if I can manage another bright shiny point next week 🙂

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