As I finish up my wedding-day recaps, I realize that some Weddingbee readers might not remember me. I started blogging here in November 2012 and my one year anniversary of blogging is quickly approaching! Just to refresh some memories (or introduce myself to any newly engaged readers), I wanted to do a quick “Secret Life of Bees” entry so you can know a little more about me.
First and foremost, I’m a social studies teacher at a Title 1 high school in Georgia. I teach economics, world history, and AP world history (yes, three preps sucks!). I’m 30 years old and Mr. C is 36. I love photography, world travel, and naps. Seriously, I’m addicted to afternoon naps! And shopping at Anthropologie (goodbye, paycheck). I love key lime pie and French macarons. I almost never get enough sleep on weekdays. Mr. C and I live in a two bedroom apartment with two cats and a patio full of plants. We often soften the blows of a long week of teaching by ordering strawberry milkshakes on Friday afternoons. We like to go jogging in the park on weekends and spend our weekday evenings watching rented movies or playing video games. Our teaching jobs are exhausting so we spend a lot of our downtime relaxing and doing things that we enjoy, that is when we’re not planning lessons, tutoring, sponsoring clubs, or grading papers.
We got married on May 26, 2013 in an outdoor ceremony under a pecan tree. Our wedding theme was largely inspired by Sophia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette. We honeymooned on the Mediterranean island of Malta with a stopover in Paris (and Versailles) for a few days on our way back to Atlanta.
Basically, we’re your average newly married couple! But now for some embarrassing details:
I have a crazy obsession with Lawrence of Arabia.
I’m not talking about the David Lean film, I’m talking about the actual historical figure named T.E. Lawrence. I touched on this a bit in my very first post, as it is why I chose the camel as my moniker. It all began over a decade ago. I happened to catch Lawrence of Arabia on TV and instantly became intrigued by Peter O’Toole’s interpretation of T.E. Lawrence. I immediately wanted to know how much of the film was historically accurate (turns out, not much). This instigated an insatiable appetite for information, photos, and books.
Over 10 years later and now I have a collection of over 80 books by and about T.E. Lawrence. I still buy a few each year to add to my collection. I visited his childhood home in Oxford, England and his grave site and cottage in Dorset, England. I’ve seen a lot of his personal effects, which are housed in the Imperial War Museum in London, including one of his motorcycles. When I was 20 years old I decided to reenact a portion of a bicycle trip that young T.E. Lawrence took across France. I biked alone from Troyes to Avignon in the summer of 2002. I even run a T.E. Lawrence blog where I share photographs, quotes, information, news, and book reviews.
I certainly don’t mention my T.E. Lawrence obsession very often, but it does come up in conversations from time to time. I’ve witnessed all types of reactions, but usually people think it’s interesting. Personally, I love people who are quirky and have unique interests and obsessions. It shows that they are engaged with their world and passionate about something.
Sometimes I make costumes and wear them to conventions.
No, I wasn’t Leia. I was Boba Fett. Who would want to be Leia when you could be one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy? Apart from the helmet, I made my entire costume out of things I found in our basement.
You know, not so long ago, it was not cool to be a nerd. In fact, you were mercilessly teased and bullied for being a nerd. I’m not sure when it became socially acceptable to fly your nerd flag high, but I’m glad that times have changed. Now you can walk into any Target or Walmart and purchase comic book or video game T-shirts. Attendance at comic book, anime, and video game conventions is higher than ever. Cosplaying (creating costumes) even has its own TV show on the Sci-Fi channel. In the past, I would mention DragonCon (Atlanta’s giant sci-fi/fantasy/video game/anime/comic book convention) to strangers and people would say, “What’s that?” Now the typical response is, “Are you making a costume?” I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe!
Sadly, things were not so fun and accepting for nerds in the ’90s. The photo above was taken when I was in middle school. Middle school, also known as an awkward adolescent’s living nightmare. I was teased for reading books at school. I was teased for drawing. I was teased for being flat chested. I was teased because I wore homemade pants. Kids were downright mean, to me and to each other. At school dances, boys avoided me like the plague. One word with me or my friends and they could easily end up in social purgatory. We were filed into the lowest middle and high school caste: the nerds.
But you know what? I survived. Not only did I survive, but I thrived. And so did my friends. Leia and Darth Vader in the photo above were actually two of my bridesmaids. The X-Wing pilot was my roommate throughout graduate school and he was a guest at the wedding. We stuck by each other’s sides through thick and thin and we provided support and encouragement for each other. The best part is that we had a ton of fun along the way. We wrote scripts and filmed movies in my basement. We developed elaborate Star Wars themed capture the flag games which were held in my vast backyard. We made costumes and attended conventions across the country. We were constantly creating things. We didn’t win any trophies playing sports. We weren’t asked to school dances. We weren’t even the super smart academic nerds, so we weren’t at the top of our class or headed to an Ivy League university. But I wouldn’t trade my childhood or high school memories for anything in the world.
For me, being bullied and teased was a humbling experience. It kept me from ever becoming one of those spoiled, entitled kids, even though at home I was one of those spoiled and entitled kids. It has also made me very sensitive about bullying in schools. I am always on the lookout in my classroom and the hallways for students who are being bullied. I even started a Gay-Straight Alliance club for students at my school in an effort to provide a supportive, safe community for students to be themselves.
And as for my nerd life in adulthood? I think these photos might speak for themselves:
Yup, still a weirdo. But now I’m married to another weirdo who not only shares my nerdiest passions, but loves me 100% for who I am. The left photo was just taken over Labor Day weekend when Mr. C and I attended DragonCon in Atlanta. The photo on the right was from DragonCon 2012 when we were dressed as Skyrim (a video game) guards. Mr. C and I play video games together, make costumes, read comics, and get excited about the upcoming Thor, Captain America, and Avengers movies. How I ended up teaching in a classroom next to a handsome single guy who shared so many of my interests and hobbies will always baffle me. But I am so, so, so thankful that it happened.
Well, that’s about it for me. I’m sure there are plenty more weird and embarrassing facts I could share, but this will have to suffice for now! But now it’s your turn: What are your strange or interesting obsessions or hobbies? I know you have them, don’t be shy!