That last post went over WAY better than I expected…It’s harder to be brutally honest when you know people are actually READING it haha but here goes nothing!
The first thing that you are asked to do in The Nerdist Way, is to create a character page. For me, this was INCREDIBLY hard. Those who know me IRL will probably be pretty surprised to learn this, but I am a pretty unhappy person. I hide it pretty well, but under my shitty puns and “your mom jokes,” I am a very self-conscious, depressed, anxious person who doesn’t like myself all that much. I’m fairly certain that if 16 year old me, with all her hopes and dreams, could see where I am in life at the “ripe old” age of 31, She’d invent a time machine just to come to the future and kick my ass.
I love my job and the company I work for. I get a lot of opportunities to stretch my creative muscles. I feel really lucky for that, but I am not doing anything CLOSE to what I had dreamed of as a kid. I had aspirations of becoming a comic book artist or animator. I was going to move to a big city, and live in a big house, and rescue lots of animals, and travel the world going on amazing vacations to far off destinations. Last year I went to Portland. It was my first vacation in about…what did I figure…8 years? Yeah.
I’m still living in my hometown I grew up in (I really do love Boise though…It has a closeness to nature, big city opportunities, and is full of kind generous people. These things are hard to find in bigger cities, and I’m no longer planning to move away any time soon.
I’ve never lived alone. Wrap your mind around that for a second. I’m an anxious introvert who has NEVER HAD HER OWN PLACE. I’ve always had either significant others, or a roommate! It’s hard to believe, but true! I’m currently living with my good-friend-who-also-happens-to-be-my-ex-girlfriend, Angela, and while she and I get along fabulously, and are great friends, we’ve been roommates for 2 years now and it really isn’t ideal for either of us. It’s what needs to happen for now, but I think we’ll be far closer as friends when we don’t live together any more. We discuss it at length, and both feel that way, but we have already figured out how to cohabitate, and it saves us money, so it is happening. I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 19, and have never had a space that was entirely my own. It is really hard to figure out who you are as a person when you are constantly sharing your space with another human, and I think that is why I am so…stunted.
I am also pretty sure that I am going to be single for the rest of my life. This is a thing that is really hard to come to terms with in a society that caters largely to couples, specifically heterosexual ones, but it is going to be ok. When I was 23, I had my first girlfriend and finally came out to myself and my loved ones as gay. I came out to my brother first, and his reaction pretty much sums up what I got across the board: “No shit, Sherlock.” Even after I came out as a lesbian however, I still didn’t feel quite like that described me. For reasons I’m not going to get into, I didn’t fit into that label as perfectly as everyone seemed to think I did. I’m really good at the “fake it till you make it” mentality, and kept plugging along. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I was on a hike with a friend. She knows who she is J The conversations you have with someone in a situation like that can be deeply revealing and meaningful. I spoke with her about my feeling out of place, and the reasons, and she pointed out to me that I should look into Asexuality. That was it. A word to put to my feelings. The reason for my struggle. I am an Asexual lesbian. Because, you know…just being a lesbian is too easy?
This is actually going to be me coming out as an asexual to a lot of people who read this (surprise!). I am having a MUCH harder time coming to terms with my asexuality than I did with being gay. If you are a “normal” gay, you can find another gay person and live happily ever after. The chances of finding another gay person who is willing to have a primarily romantic relationship that isn’t very physical? Especially in the middle of Idaho? Much smaller. So, I’m trying to get to a point where I can love myself. Just in case. If I’m the person I’m spending the rest of my life with, I need to make sure I’m someone I enjoy being around. Ugh. That was a lot more revealing and rambling than I wanted it to be. I may go back and remove some things later, but I’m going to try not to as this is supposed to be brutally honest.
The reason that I am so interested in “The Nerdist Way” is that the teachings just hit home with me. I realize on an intelligent level that I am a pretty ok person, and shouldn’t be so hard on myself. However, my depressed anxiety brain talks a LOT louder than the other parts do. It likes to tell me that I’m a loser. That I never finish anything I start. That people don’t actually like me. That I can’t support myself when the time comes. I’m a slob. That I’m fat, and have shitty skin, and talk too much and too loudly. It especially likes to point out that I’ll probably die alone and get eaten by my 15 cats.
Sometimes I listen to the depressed anxiety Downer brain. It’s hard not to. It’s so loud and insistent. But I’m trying to get better at recognizing my strengths and working to improve my weaknesses. The Nerdist Way is proving thus far to be a pretty good way to do that.
I’m not looking for sympathy in writing this, or for someone to reassure me. I’m just trying to be honest with myself by being honest with you. I think these things. I think them regularly, and they can really mess with my head if I let them. I think that everyone has thoughts like this, and that it is important to talk about them so that we don’t feel so alone.
I’ve been on Zoloft for almost two years now, and let me tell you, it is the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I was starting to suffer from regular panic attacks to the point where it was really interfering with my daily life. I don’t get those any more, and can even handle large-ish groups of people! I have always found being around large groups of people to be physically draining. This is really hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, but I mean it. I am literally exhausted if I have to be interacting with more than 3 people at a time for over an hour. Kinda makes the whole podcast thing seem like a funny choice, but I wanted to push the limits of my own comfort zone. If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t growing! I don’t remember who said that, but it is a great quote 🙂
So, back to the book. You are instructed to lay out stats for yourself in the below categories, and be honest. You are also asked to inventory your weapons, or personal strengths. This was the hardest part for me. I am so terrible at complimenting myself, or even just assessing my strengths. I am my own worst critic, so my “strengths” section is a little bare bones at the moment. I’m probably going to flesh it out as I start getting better at accurately assessing myself. This D&D inspired self-assessment is actually really useful. For anyone familiar with tabletop RPGs, it is easier to sit down and think about yourself as a character in a game than it is to actively think about who you are as a person. In my humble opinion anyway. I’m wondering if it may be a helpful exercise to ask my close friends what strengths they would assign to me. It could be interesting, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that quite yet.
Writing this in and of itself has proven to be a pretty difficult exercise. I apologize if this is too revealing for anyone, but I really believe that in order to purge myself of these thoughts and self-imposed limitations, I need to release them out into the world (or the internet in this case)
I’d love to hear some feedback from anyone reading this. What are some thoughts your Downer brain likes to hit you with, even though you know they aren’t necessarily accurate? If you had to honestly asses your strengths, what would they be? If you want, you can comment below, or on our facebook page, or even shoot me an email at [email protected].
I love you guys, so love yourselves!