For a long time, I very much wanted to be cool, just like everyone else.
I was not successful.
When I was a waitress, for example, I looked at all of the other waitresses who were so young and so cute (by the time I quit I’d reached the advanced waitressing age of twenty-six), and even though I liked my job and I was good at it, too, when I compared myself with them I felt completely inadequate.
Then, a few years later—it must have been around the time after I graduated college when I decided I didn’t need friends anymore—I realized I wasn’t so bad after all.
I didn’t even look that bad.
I was—in my own way—kind of cute. And I was smarter than them, anyway, and much more interesting.
The problem wasn’t me, and hadn’t been all along.
The problem was that I was comparing myself to the wrong people.
And so, suddenly, unexpectedly, and almost all at once, I made a decision:
I decided that I would be proud of being a dork.
I decided that I didn’t need anyone else’s approval but my own.
I became confident.
After that, somehow, without even trying, I was suddenly much, much less of a dork than before. And these days, I’m not really one at all.
I just pretend to be.
I even know how to dress.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not cool, either. I’m still way too passionate and excitable and I’m even sillier now than I used to be. True dorks, though, don’t really like themselves. Or, if they do, they don’t like to admit it.
They try to be someone else.
And I don’t do that anymore. Not often, anyway. I’m not embarrassed when I come underdressed to a nightclub or overdressed to a party. I say stupid things and admit when I don’t know something. I ask questions. I say something controversial in order to get an argument started when the conversation has become a little dull.
I’m okay with being wrong, or less admired.
So you see: Maybe I’m not a dork, and maybe I am.
Maybe I can even be both.
Maybe, whenever I want to, I can just change the definition.