This was supposed to be one of those posts which said “thanks to the popularity of x I learned I was a nerd…”
Supposed to be. And then the walk home happened and I figured out I’ve always been a nerd. Not one of those life long X nerds, mind, but one of those nerds who has a multitude of passions and never knew what to call it until 2016.
Magic School bus, Gargoyles, Batman: The Animated Series, Xena: Warrior Princess (I still own the Xena and Hercules animated movie), Stargate, Dune, Star Wars, Prince of Persia, Sly Cooper, Slayers Try/Next, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Pokemon, Escaflowne, Shinkidosenki Gundam Wing, Disney, the list really does go on.
I’ve never been a huge superhero fan. Until Netflix started making Daredevil and Jessica Jones, anyway. And Spider Gwen (seriously, bugger OFF Peter Parker), Lady Thor, and the kick ass Avengers movies. Superheroes never captured my imagination, though I’m firmly in the Batman can kick Superman’s ass club. Never mind Zach Snyder, that’s a whole other rant.
Point is, I’m a nerd, but I never ALLOWED myself to be one. Not really. There was that weird Goth phase I went through when I was a teenager, but I really think every teenager goes through that, it’s not indicative of nerdy-ness. More like finding yourself-ness.
Getting openly laughed at in fourth grade for liking the Magic School Bus really put a damper on any sort of acceptance I would have or receive, bullies helped that along, and occasional cutting remarks from those close to me when I was getting excited about something finished things off. However, the kicker came from within. I internalized EVERYTHING as a kid. Whenever someone made fun of me, the immediate thought wasn’t ‘you’re an asshole’ it was ‘something is wrong with me’. I spent so much of my young life looking for flaws in myself, it became the status quo which still persists to this day.
I would never let myself get too excited about anything because, like most people, I was worried about being ‘weird’ and getting laughed at.
Now, keep in mind, I was not aware of ‘nerd’ back then. I was just a kid. My aunt had a huge hand in introducing me to many of my fandoms, my jr. high school mates with anime and fan fiction which would, eventually, lead me to wanting to do the writing thing. But, when I was younger, I knew I would get laughed at if I liked ‘weird’ things or acted ‘weird’. I got made fun of anyway, but I wanted so desperately to fit in, I would like anything anyone wanted me to for that one thread of acceptance.
Sad, isn’t it?
Then, I grew up. Navy discharge, one shitty marriage, a hop skip over the pond and back again, and one new job later, I found this:
And one of my Musketeers introduced me to this:
And then there was this:
Star Wars awoke in me feelings long buried. That sense of excitement, that complete willingness to be submerged in a world not my own. The desire to sit there and write my own Sci-Fi novel (now sitting in the editor’s hands) because I wanted to be traveling through hyperspace. Suddenly, I wanted to show off my fandoms, I wanted the world to know I LIKE THESE THINGS. And it’s not just Star Wars, it’s all of the things; Indiana Jones, Magic: The Gathering, D&D. Suddenly, I wanted to play video games again because it’s been over 10 years since I’ve last held a controller in my hands and turned back time so that asshole Dahaka could get what’s coming to him.
All of these things combined lead me to one conclusion:
Fuck the world. I’m a nerd.
And I don’t have to be ashamed about it.
I don’t have to ‘fit in’.
I get to be me. I get to be a nerd. And I get to LIKE it without fear of laughter or reprisal. Without fear of someone ‘not liking’ me because I am passionate about something.
Being a nerd means being unabashedly unashamed of who you are. Being an adult means telling someone to fuck off and not getting in trouble for it.
Being a nerd doesn’t come with requirements. You don’t have to be a ‘lifetime’ nerd to qualify as a nerd. You can be a new nerd and experience ALL OF THE THINGS for the first time. A magical, magical moment. You can be an old nerd and find new things.
Everyone has a moment in their life where they have an awakening. Something long buried inside which makes them realize what they’ve been missing all the while.
Star Wars was my awakening. Star Wars was little me saying to big me ‘go forth and nerd the fuck out’.
I have funko on my desk. Armaments chapter two, verses nine through twenty-one written out on my white board. Slowly I am amassing a nerd wardrobe, integrating it into business attire. I’m nerding my house.
Because I like it.
Because I want to.
Because being a nerd is awesome. It’s a club with open membership. Anyone can join. All are welcome. There’s a huge selection, pull up a chair, you’re going to be here a while. Coffee or tea?
And yeah, being a nerd has its bad side. A dark side without the ‘is it really bad tho’ ambiguity. The nerd dark side is nasty, mean, and full of white boys who can’t learn to let shit go.
There are disappointments and embarrassments to the nerd name, but on the whole nerds are proud, nerds are passionate.
I am passionate.
I’m learning how to be proud.