Nerdmaste, continued…."MOST IN SHOW"

Dear Ones –

I LOVED our giant Nerd Share yesterday on this page, and your stories about all your own nerdiest moments delighted me to no end. All I can say is: I would've sat next to each one of you at lunch. We would've talked about Nancy Drew while the food fight raged around us.

Also, your stories reminded me of my nerdiest moment — the souvenirs of which I still keep to this day (NERD PRIDE.)

When I was 10 years old, I decided that I wanted to win BEST IN SHOW at our local 4-H country fair. I spent the entire summer making about 100 different items to enter into the Home Show contest. I baked, I sewed, I grew vegetables, I did macrame, I knitted a baby blanket, I made pickles, I made an educational poster about goats, I made a diorama about how beans grow, I made a first aid kit out of a shoebox for your car, I did some seashell art, and I even made — as you can see by this photo — "T.P. Flowers", which are, of course, flowers made out of toilet paper. And more.

I didn't see much of my friends that summer, as I was so committed to making entries for the fair, and so focused on winning BEST IN SHOW (as I knew I must, just by the law of averages) for one of my many magnificent creations.

Sadly, however, I did not win BEST IN SHOW. This is because life is cruel and unfair. Another kid won that coveted giant purple ribbon — in the dessert category. I don't even want to talk about it. (Ok, let's talk about it: You guys, I had made a cake shaped like a CASTLE, with a tin foil moat, and pillow mint crenels, and ice cream cone towers. How can you beat that with mere baklava? Seriously.)

I was shattered. Inconsolable. But then, by late in the afternoon, some adults took mercy on me. Some compassionate judge noticed that it appeared that one child had made about 1/3 of the entries in the entire Home Show. He or she must have thought, "Oh dear God, that poor little tragic nerd."

So they invented a new award, just for me. It was called: MOST IN SHOW.

Not best, mind you. MOST.

It still makes me laugh.

But I was so incredibly proud.

I've kept my clutch of ribbons from that day forever, because I think there's some kind of giant life lesson in there. I think this might have been the day I realized that I might never be BEST IN SHOW…but, damn it, I could always be MOST.

I've strived to be MOST IN SHOW ever since then — to show up for life as fully and passionately as I can. And believe me, I am in this show just as hard and as much and as often as I can possibly be in it. You give me a category for life, I'll make you a item — or at least I'll try.

The kid with the perfect baklava might still win every time, but I'll always be the girl who was awake at 2am, macrame-ing my ass to the couch, trying to make something — anything! — just to be in the show.

Because I love the show.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall