I disconnected from my body because I hated how it looked. I'm not recommending that; it's just what I did.
One thing that made it easier was finding that I had non-physical things going for me. I had been pretty sure that I was smart all along, but there were ways in which it did not seem to pay off.
I don't mean just that it doesn't make you popular, but I could see a lot of areas where smart wasn't enough. I could never think of good science fair projects. Through TAG we would get exposed to what at they time they called Olympics of the Mind and now (I believe due to trademark issues) call Odyssey of the Mind, but the things they did there baffled me. I have never needed to do an egg drop, which I feel is a lucky break because break is exactly what that egg would do.
Essentially, I knew answers to questions, but I had no practical applications. Fortunately, we got exposed to many types of endeavors, and at least one stuck. When I was going through old photos for the Throwback Thursdays, I found some other things that I had been holding onto, and almost forgotten.
In 1984 I entered a Saturday Academy writing contest, and did well.
Mainly this gave me a T-shirt, which I never wore, but it also gave me feedback.
"Your Alien story was a favorite of the judges for the way you used dialogue between Angie and her mother."
"We hope you continue to write funny and imaginative stories."
"I hope she keeps writing stories."
"Well written & easy to follow."
I hope I write better than a sixth grader now, but those are still some of the things I hear.
The next big coup was in 1987. When we were studying The Canterbury Tales, everyone had to write a sample prologue and five characters (we did not write any actual tales). Then one of each student's characters, and one prologue was chosen for a book. I can't remember if it was student votes or teacher selection. My prologue was chosen.
Looking back now I cringe at the awkward rhyme schemes, and the fascination with brand names that I gave my Yuppie character. I mean, she probably would have been into brand names, but I may have picked the wrong ones, or oversold how shallow she was, so there's that. I feel the same way about the prologue, actually, but everyone thought it was the best. That still feels kind of good.
That wasn't the only encouragement. I remember my English teacher the previous year, Mr. Cowles, was very encouraging. We had writing journals, and I would start new story ideas that would be all exciting, and then they would fizzle, because it was always rebellion but then when you get into the actual mechanics of revolution things fall apart. There were so many music videos with oppressive regimes that you fought by singing and dancing that this sort of plot was kind of inevitable until you get more life experience.
What he could see, though, was good invocation of a character or a mood, and that those skills can eventually go somewhere. And I remember him paying attention to other students too, and asking questions about where they were going to go with it, and I know I'm not the only one who still writes, so I'm grateful for that.
With writing I knew there was something I could do, and it was rewarding. It taught me things about myself. It still does.
Is it irrevocably linked to my nerdiness? It might be. When someone asks me about a new idea, I hear myself geeking out about it. I can't stop it, but I know I'm doing it.
That is how I became.