Hiding the nerd

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories


Wow, re-reading that last post from a slightly different point of view from my own makes it seem like vain fantasy and self-aggrandizing. I’m lame for publishing such rubbish but maybe it makes sense in the big picture for me to post that. Oh blog, don’t you know that I am more complex than any kind of save the world list b.s.?

I think I am realizing that my rock solid self-identity is completely in flux at the moment. Someone important to me is challenging me to talk to someone about my history with God. That sounds funny, like God and I used to hang out in high school, but then because of this or that, we lost touch over the years. I wonder if he’s on facebook?

I have another person who I highly respect teaching me yoga and talking to me about the relationship between the forceful way of living, one based on action and success, and the passive way of living where the self is diminished in the struggle to understand the world through peaceful reflective means. More specifically, she is teaching me the balance between those two complex lives.

I also have a more concrete world of requests and deliveries where I am often called, “Amazing,” and, “Genius!” just by doing my regular job; a case of big fish, small pond, I think. This world has probably attached itself to my ego and I find myself doing things to get approval from others as often as I do them for the good of just doing them.

So which one of these identities am I? With all of these competing illusions, how am I to make a decision about which one to embrace? Am I the humble person I assumed I was years ago? Am I the cocky overachiever in a land of underachievers, taking more credit than I am due? Am I the philosopher wandering and wondering? Or is my real identity the nerdy kid I left behind in grade school all those years ago? Is that who I still am? Perhaps all of these other things, these ways of making money or attracting a mate, are just really ways of hiding the nerd. How could I not spend my whole life trying to escape that identity? I used to get beat up in grade school for being a nerd. Why wouldn’t my world be daring, intellectual, special, sexy and all of those other things that the nerd world lacks?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter. If I let my actions decide who I am, then maybe that is the most important thing. Or maybe it doesn’t matter who I am. Maybe I’ll just continue to do what I think is important or right, and the rest will sort itself out in the end.

After yoga, I am instructed to drink lots of water to “get the toxins out” of my system. But maybe my toxins are part of me too, the good and the bad intermingling into a strata of experiences who’s rainbow of tones will be revealed when part of me is torn away in some sort of metaphysical erosion event. Who knows? The first person who wants me to talk to God wants me to let go of these bad experiences, offering them up to a higher power 12-step style. The yoga person wants me to learn more about myself and the world around me through movement, stillness and inner reflection. And the world at work doesn’t give a crap about who I am as long as I keep giving them their photos, videos and tech support.

My inner nerd is telling me something. I can’t quite hear it. Louder nerd! Louder!

What do you think?