From age nine through twelve, I spent a month each summer at sleepaway camp. I think it was the last of those summers when my counselor, distributing individual assignments to the girls in my bunk for Color War, gave me the task of writing somethiung - a slogan, maybe, or a cheer or an article. I swelled with pride. "How did you know I write?"
Her brow furrowed. "What do you mean, you write? You mean, professionally?"
I laughed at the ludicrousness of that idea. "No. I mean, I ... write." I didn't know any other way to explain it.
She looked perplexed. "I didn't know."
Suddenly, the light bulb turned on in my brain. "Oh. You mean you just assigned me to write because you knew I couldn't do anything else."
She nodded appreciatively. "Yeah," she said. And I nodded back.
Well, she had a point. I couldn't sing, I couldn't dance, I sucked at sports. But no one in the bunk could be left out of the Color War effort, and so ... Put a pencil in my hand and just hope I'll stay out of the way and manage to use it without stabbing myself. The odd thing, as I remember it now, is that I didn't even feel insulted. I had no illusions about where I ranked. My counselor was matter-of-fact, and so was I.
Forty-odd years later, I still can't sing or dance or play sports, but I seem to have inched my way up from the bottom of the food chain because, fortunately, there are significant discrepancies between the skill set needed to succeed at Color War and that needed to succeed at Life. And this is why I LOVE Kami Kinard's "Nerdy Chicks Rule" blog concept. Not all successful women started out as nerdy girls, of course, but, in my experience at least, a lot more of them did than my 12-year-old self would ever have dreamed possible. And that's what Kami Kinard and I would both like for nerdy girls to be able to do: to dream that, for them, anything is possible. Take off running, nerdy chicks! Spread your wings and soar!