Some recent Latino nerd talk -- shout out to all of my brothers and sisters -- got me thinking about the origin...
Some recent Latino nerd talk -- shout out to all of my brothers and sisters -- got me thinking about the origins of my nerdom.
How exactly did this happen? How did I become the kind of woman who listens to podcasts about earthworms and economics? Why am I the kind of person whose heart goes aflutter when she hears Elizabethan English? Why have I memorized entire "Simpsons" episodes? I began to read voraciously because I was a misbehaved child who was punished often. My dad's punishments were usually very harsh -- two-to-three weeks long -- during which I was not allowed to go outside or watch TV. The only form of entertainment was reading, drawing, and looking out the window.
I would consume stacks and stacks of books during this time. Since the amount of Latino literature available to kids was (and still is) paltry, I escaped my reality by reading books, such as the entire collection of "The Babysitter's Club" and all of Judy Blume. (I thought of starting my own babysitter's club until I realized what a terrible idea that would be in the barrio.) I was also a weird and moody child. I was the kind of poindexter that would read Stephen King novels during recess. My solitude allowed my imagination to grow fecund.
At the age of 12 I decided that I was a poet. While little girls supposedly fantasized about their wedding day, I fantasized about publishing books and traveling the world. In high school I was very troubled, so I immersed myself in more literature. I thought I was Huckleberry Finn. I thought I was Holden Caulfield. I wore white dresses like Emily Dickinson. (There are pictures to prove this.) I would talk to my teachers about music because no one else I knew liked Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan. In my more ascetic phase, I also shaved my head as a rejection of materialism and feminist refusal to be objectified. I would often shock my therapists with my knowledge of existentialist philosophy. Because I had no money and our library was pitiful, I would steal books on a weekly basis. When I was 15, instead of a quincea__era, I chose to attend a summer poetry workshop at a nearby college.
In sum, I was a whole lot of weird and I never cared to hide it.
Now I am an adult nerd, better adjusted, but dweeby nonetheless. I am full of bizarre knowledge (ask me about the history of merkins). I am constantly cramming my brain with any information I can get ahold of because it's as insatiable as that scary plant from "Little Shop of Horrors." Sometimes I still dress funny and probably embarrass my boyfriend. I frequently watch documentaries about topics such as honey bees, food science, and genocide. I also just started recording a podcast with a friend because I thought the podcast scene really needed to be penetrated by more nerds of color.
By Erika L. S__nchez