The thing is, I’m a nerd. You may have noticed.
For starters, the name of this blog is a dead giveaway. Also, glasses. Also, funny hats. Also, a propensity for collecting nerdy toys, odd rubber duckies, and weird stuffed animals. (Gollum, on the upper right side of your screen, is easily the creepiest thing I have ever bought at a Barnes & Nobles. Or anywhere.)
And really, I’m actively proud of being a geek. I didn’t used to be, or at least, I worried that I was too geeky, freaky-different instead of awesome-different. I mean, I liked that I was seemingly the only girl in fourth grade who didn’t want to be a veterinarian or a marine biologist because ponies and dolphins and rabbits, pah. I wanted DRAGONS, goddamnit. (Admittedly, with a name like St. George, I was somewhat predisposed to liking dragons.)
Also, I already knew what I wanted to be: a writer. I loved to read. I’ve never been ashamed of loving to read, even when I got teased for it. And I never thought there was anything wrong with liking fantasy or science fiction or horror . . . but I must have secretly reread this Vampire: The Masquerade role playing manual at least half a dozen times. I loved it, but I never would have played it in a million years. I’ve got these social anxieties, see, and anyway . . . wasn’t pretending to be a vampire on any non-Halloween day just too bizarre?
Since I’ve hit my twenties, I’ve thankfully grown a lot more comfortable with my geekiness, and it’s made me a happier person. The fact that I once went to a Star Trek convention when I was seven used to mortify me. Now I think it’s awesome, and I’ve had so much fun going to different fan conventions since then, watching awesome panels and dressing up as various characters. Joining an online Trek RPG made me a lot of great friends. Embracing fandom and fanfiction has, believe it or not, made me a much less judgmental person. I’m not always the most expressive person when it comes to the outpouring of Feelings and Emotions, but I’m passionate about movies, about books, about superheroes and zombies and interesting female characters, and I think I’m all the more satisfied with my life and myself as a person for expressing that passion in any way I deem fit, safe, and fun.
I’m bringing all this up, in case you’re curious, because I just saw this thing over on Wil Wheaton’s blog where he talks about why it’s awesome to be a nerd, and it . . . I don’t know . . . kind of moved me? Did I mention I’m not always good with the Feelings and Emotions bit? Anyway, you can read about it here or just watch the video:
I don’t try and hide that I’m a nerd any more . . . even at work, where my Batman, Clash of the Titans, and English degree related flair gets the gamut of reactions, from nerd solidarity to oh-you’re-so-adorable-and-odd-but-spunky to uh, I-don’t-get-it-and-why-don’t-we-change-the-subject-now-to-something-safe, like-last-night’s-rerun-of-Survivor. But sometimes I do still feel a little awkward about trying to explain what book I’m reading or why I like violent horror movies or what Dragon Con is and why I’m spending my time and money going there. And God help me if I have to try and explain what writing project I’m working on currently. I fear the Glazed Eye Stare of Ummmmm like nothing else.
(Incidentally, my shyness and social anxiety BS surprises people occasionally, especially if they met me online. I’ve been told, rather repeatedly, in various different writing contexts and mostly — but not always — as a positive, that I have quite a strong, assertive Voice. Some expect that to translate to a strong, assertive personality face-to-face, and I’ll usually get there, but it can take a while, depending on the social situation at hand and just how many people I’ll be expected to talk to. Heh. They force you to take Speech and tell you it’ll cure you of being shy. They’re dirty, dirty liars, the lot of em.)
But watching videos like this one is good for me because it just reaffirms that there’s nothing wrong with the fact that I like British urban fantasy or TV shows about government agents storing mystical objects in secret government warehouses. For that matter, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that I like stupid action movies, either, or that I actually like playing sports, or that I sometimes crave a juicy night soap.
Being a geek is just about loving what you love and enjoying those things with other nerds like you. Being a geek is kind of about being happy. It’s not a terrible thing, ultimately, to aspire to.