An Open Letter

Dear Person Who Found my Blog by Googling “I’m Dorky and I Want to Stop,”

First, congratulations on having one of the most-unique search terms ever to show up in my site statistics. Most people Google sends my way are looking for those damn Anthropologie Cork Balls.

But back to you. Who exactly is calling you dorky? If it’s someone else, rest assured that their opinion doesn’t matter. If it’s you, you need to knock it off. 

Your search probably led you to this post wherein I vow to never again describe myself as a dork for having unique interests. I’ll no longer apologize for being who I am, and I’d encourage you to do the same.

Now, you’ll notice that some people in the comments to that post argued that being a “dork” is not necessarily a bad thing. For the sake of argument, however, we’ll assume that you think it is, as you were looking to stop being it. Joking about being a “dork” is only funny when you have the self confidence to know that it makes you more, not less, interesting and is a part of your personality you should never look to shed.

Are other people fueling this self-doubt? Other people’s opinions of you just don’t matter. Trust me on this. The sooner you fully accept that, the happier I believe you will be.

I don’t know you, obviously, but I imagine you as a Junior High-aged girl unsure of herself and her place among her peers. Basically, me circa 1995. Junior High can be incredibly hard. I’ve been there. I know how it feels to think no one knows how you feel. I remember the frustration at being told to ignore the cruel remarks of my classmates. The very suggestion sounds like something that could only be issued from the mouth of an adult who’d completely lost touch with how overwhelming it is to be thirteen.

But I remember. I remember that being told not to worry about what people thought was like being told not to breathe. Other people’s opinions were omnipresent. I’d sit in dressing rooms in the mall and cry because I was unsure if the clothes I was selecting were “right.” I sat through math class one day unable to take notes because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by getting up to use the pencil sharpener. I wanted – more than anything – to be completely invisible.

Slowly – and over the course of many years – I realized that the only opinions that mattered were my own and those of the people who loved me. The most clear manifestation of this epiphany is that now I’m able to dance in public.

By no means am I implying that I’m now the perfect role model for high self-esteem. I have my hang-ups. The thing that’s changed is my reaction to these hang ups. Now that I’m better able to weed out the noise of other people’s opinions, I feel more empowered to change the things that I don’t like about myself and ignore the things that other people don’t like. In short, I’m so much happier.

As for the name-callers, I don’t have any witty retorts for you because honestly, the greatest comeback is to move forward and be the best possible you – to find hobbies and people who truly interest you and to let go of anyone or anything that holds you down. Are you rolling your eyes at me? That’s fine. I know how eye-rolling that comment sounds. Plus, I was a champion eye-roller back in the day.

Surround yourself with people who love you for being a “dork” and would never see such a label as a bad thing. Try your best to ignore the haters and never let yourself sink to their level. And finally, don’t ever, ever, change yourself for someone else.

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About Helena

Helena lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and two cats. Her boyfriend thinks she's awesome. Her cats agree.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Miscellany and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I agree with your pov. We women are inundated with messages that tell us to act and dress in ways that’ll make others (male and female) like us– not for who we are, but who we seem to be.

    Be yourself– dork or not. Authenticity rocks.

  2. Here, here! Dorkiness is really just uniqueness and embracing uniqueness leads to awesomeness. Too many ness words in there but you get what I mean!

  3. Um, wait.
    “Dork” is only a bad word if you perceive it as such.

    I am soooooo happy to be a dork, a geek and a nerd — and quirky and fun! Live it and love it!

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