The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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Rescued by Black Girl Nerds


Essence.com


2013 didn’t turn out like I had hoped. It was an exceptionally horrific year of self doubt, fear, pain, anxiety all culminating into anger and frustration. While every day may not have possessed those qualities, the year as a whole did. I had never felt more Black, more isolated, or more disappointed in my overall existence than in 2013.

There was no hope, no sparkle of a dream, or inspiration. I barely wrote or interacted with others. There was no connection or community of belonging. On top of everything else I had monumental problems at work, which was something that never happened to me, ever. My work ethic, personality and integrity were challenged on every turn. To them, I wasn’t approachable, perky, or good enough – I was fearful of being fired, commuting to and from work in tears.

My dreams faded – I couldn’t remember why I even moved to L.A. Who was I? What did I want? Everything was a jumbled mess and I was unsure how to navigate it. One day at work, I was reading a blog that led me to another blog called Black Girl Nerds. The articles were whip-smart, funny and about topics that reflected my life. I didn’t have to negotiate around “whiteness” and just connect as a woman. I was able to engage, wholly and fully, taking in these wonderful women’s perspectives and insights.

I couldn’t stop reading. I checked the site multiple times every day. The more I read, the more my own inner-nerd started to stir. My fingers twitched with excitement as my mind buzzed with ideas. I was on the outskirts of conversations that I longed to be a part of so I inquired about the submission guidelines. Months after, I finally submitted my own article. A few days later it was posted. After that, I was obsessed with writing again. To the suggestion of BGN’s creator, I even got a Twitter account. BGN began to fill a void in my life. I was connected to a community and not just any community – a supportive community of like-minded individuals.

In the past, I had a difficult time truly identifying with being a BGN because I wasn’t particularly good in school. I wasn’t secure in being smart; my means of survival was blending in, so being a nerd was not an option. This continued for years, even through graduate school. I performed well in school but definitely didn’t take pride in being an intellectual.

Discovering BGN gave me permission to be real. It coaxed me out of my shell, encouraging me to be myself. I could discuss dating as a black woman, to my obsession with Lord Of The Rings and Game of Thrones. I could submit pics of me in my Harry Potter costume and people would compliment me instead of saying, “What’s that? I don’t get it.” I could talk about the representation of plus-size, African American women in media or the latest episode of Scandal.

As I evolve, I am beginning to let my BGN flag fly. I wanted to have my voice heard and to share my ideas with others. I was finally proud of my master’s degree and began seriously considering a doctorate. The freedom was intoxicating; it was a gust of fresh air, blowing away the clutter of my angst. I didn’t want to just occupy space as a human – I wanted to contribute and I give BGN all the credit. BGN had become a light in one of the darkest times in my life.

I’m excited for my 2014 Black Girl Nerd Evolution. I want to read more, find some sort of Harry Potter cosplay event and even attend Comic Con 2014! More importantly, I want to contribute more to BGN, stay engaged and do whatever I can to make sure this community thrives. If I can do for someone what BGN has done for me, I’ll be satisfied. It’s funny – BGN’s online community is more real to me than anything I’ve found in L.A. BGN is my life raft; it saved me from isolation and showed me how important a community of like-minded individuals really is. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Chantell Monique is addicted to Harry Potter, Denver Broncos football and Rom-Coms. She’s an English instructor and screenwriter; she currently lives in Los Angeles. Twitter @31pottergirl

5 comments:

  1. Go to Comic Con it's fun! You will enjoy it! Above all else be you!

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  2. so glad you've found a way to embrace your blerdness and welcome to the BGN community!

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  3. I recently found this site myself and ever since have been checking the site daily. It's like looking through the window of the best candy shop ever. So, I decided why not just comment today. So glad you started writing again. Best feeling ever.

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  4. I'm glad you took the first step towards the candy shop by commenting! BGN is a stellar community to be a part of; welcome :)

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  5. This is great, Chantell. I'm so happy things are turning around for
    you. Last year was the hardest year of my life -- one that I honestly
    didn't think I'd make it through. For the first time in my life, I
    willingly went to a shrink. So it's nice to see someone else get to the
    other side with me.

    At least I hope that's where we're headed.
    It's nice you found a ballast in BGN. I had great problems at work as
    well (for 2.5 long-ass years in fact). So I understand how debilitating
    that can be. And LA is hard enough as it is without having to be around
    people questioning your intelligence 8 hrs each day.

    I wish you all the best. Keep writing and keep on keeping on.

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