Geek or Freak? It doesn’t matter what other people call you, it’s what you call yourself that matters

I’ve heard these two terms thrown around a lot throughout the years so I decided to look them up on Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com defines Geek as:

1. a digital-technology expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often used disparagingly by others).
2. a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity
3. a peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, or socially awkward.
4.a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

As a self proclaimed geek I took offense to some of these. Not every geek is a tech expert or enthusiast. While I may know how to work a smartphone, laptop, or gaming system I’m not tech savvy or enjoy all the inner workings of it. I also wouldn’t say a geek has “excessive” enthusiasm and that expertise is required. Excessive by definition means going beyond the usual, necessary, or proper limit or degree. Who defines what the “proper” limit is? 

And that third definition calling geeks peculiar, overly intellectual, unfashionable, and socially awkward are just as bad as calling us freaks. I’ve met plenty of normal looking, normal sounding geeks. I’ve met very fashionable geeks as well. And socially awkward? There are plenty of social geeks out there. I would talk to a brick wall if I thought it would talk back! Just because we don’t want to talk to you doesn’t mean that we’re socially awkward.

And I saved the best for last. The fourth definition. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Where the heck did you come up with that one! That one is blatantly calling us freaks, and we are nothing like that. I don’t know about you all but I certainly don’t spend my weekends biting off the heads of live chickens.

Dictionary.com defines Freak as:
1. any abnormal phenomenon or product or unusual object; anomaly; aberration.
2. a person or animal on exhibition as an example of a strange deviation from nature; monster.
3. a person who has withdrawn from normal, rational behavior and activities to pursue one interest or obsession
4. a devoted fan or follower; enthusiast

I wouldn’t say where an abnormal phenomenon just because we choose to be different from others. Aberration is defined as the act of departing from the right, normal, or usual course. The act of deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type. The standard for what’s considered the “norm” is constantly changing and besides what if the “norm” standard is crap (like all girls have to be a size zero to be considered beautiful and guys have to have ridiculous muscles to be considered cool.) Why wouldn’t we deviate from that crap?

I wouldn’t call us a side show or monsters either. We’re not something for others to point and laugh at so we shouldn’t let people do that to us. We may not be able to stop people from laughing at us but we can control our reactions to it. Don’t give them the reactions they’re looking for. Some people do let their fandom take over their life but how can you say that’s any different from an addict letting their addiction take over their life or a workaholic. Or the perfectionist who needs to have everything in the right order and it has to be done their way.

How is being a devoted fan, follower, or enthusiast cause for calling us freak? Why does this make us freaks but people who are devoted followers of their sports teams and have posters, sticker decals, jersey’s, scream and cry at the television, and pay tons of money to go to games and meet their players are acceptable?

We are not freaks. And the dictionary got it wrong about us. I am a geek and I refuse to abide by these standards. These definitions are not who we are. So don’t let the definitions of these labels define who you are. If you’re a geek then be proud of that fact and don’t let society and those around you define who you are.

So, after all this being said. Tell me, just who are you? How do you define who you are?
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