Surviving the stigma: The under cover geek.

A recent experience has made me aware at how much pressure I feel about hiding my geekiness and how I’ve gained over the years mental defence mechanisms and automatic self-censoring of my expression so as to seem “normal” around others in social situations.

I have become aware that I have a semi-concious editor metaphorically sitting on my shoulder observing me and suggesting ways to avoid mentioning anything to do with SciFi stories, quotes from films or technology unless someone else mentions it first. There’s a constant feeling that I should hide this side of me.

I think a great deal of this comes from my experiences at school. I was never in the in-crowd. In fact, I was often shunned and left out of all groups and bullied. This meant that I gathered quite a few coping strategies over the years, one of which is an automatic dulling, if not total suppressing, of all emotion if I find myself in a stressful situation. It’s very probably a very unhealthy thing to have but it was the only defence I had so as to cope in many of those years.

During the recent experience I mentioned earlier I found myself suppressing the geek side of myself more and more, fearful that the person I was trying to impress would not accept that side of me. This became highly stressful.

I’d like to be able to release my inner geek and have “geek pride” but the defence systems are now so firmly ingrained that I fear I can never be rid of them, unless in the company of know geeks.

So, why does society have this reaction to geeks? Well, I imagine that it’s because they are different. The normal will always look on the slightly eccentric with suspicion. Of course, the most extreme end of geekiness can be rather anti-social, but so can the extreme end of the normal womaniser or the normal alcoholic.

Anyway, it’s sad, but that’s the way society is. I’ll just have to try to deal with it and interface with it on its own terms.


1 thought on “Surviving the stigma: The under cover geek.

  1. I spent a lot of years trying to pretend to the rest of the world – occasionally even to myself – that I was in some respects ‘normal’, rather than the severely aspergic character I knew myself to be. To the extent of taking the tablets…..
    But one of the merits/ demerits of asperger’s, is that most of us are really dreadful actors – it takes an enormous, disproportionate amount of energy and effort to keep pretending, and in my second half-century I think I’ll give up entirely, and grow old oddly.
    Mind you, I think there is some value in stretching yourself, developing as a person – I joined Toastmaster’s club recently in order to rid myself of the sickening fear of speaking in public; although it’s difficult to believe that I will ever actually enjoy it, I still think it’s probably good for me. But that isn’t the same as suppressing the real character, which I think is bound to be unhealthy. So (even at risk of alarming people!) be yourself!

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