This is something that’s been on my mind for a while and that has come up in my social media feeds lately -the concept of being a nerd. Growing up, nerd had a negative connotation. If you were called that in grade school, it was certainly never a good thing. I’ll admit that there were many things I was curious to try or watch (getting involved in drama club for example or admitting to my friends that I not only liked, but loved the LOTR movies), but was so afraid of what others thought of me at that time that I just went with the flow with what was “cool.”
Sadly, I still often worry about what others think, but it’s becoming a little less so. I’ve been wearing my nerdy tees with pride and have been floored by how many compliments I get on things like my R2D2 shoes. I started this blog and this journey to explore all of the things I’ve been afraid of trying and with that said, it’s mostly things pertaining to stereotypical nerdy culture. Yet even as I try, I still fear I’m not really a true nerd at heart, like I don’t deserve the title. Recently a friend jokingly told me that I was the worst nerd ever (because I’m new to so many fandoms) and that I was actually a nerdy wannabe. Who knew that I, the one afraid of being a nerd as a teen, would have her feelings hurt for jokingly being called a wannabe? This led me to wonder what makes someone a nerd?
To me, being a nerd means having a passion for something – that something in some way affected you deep within and left a mark on your heart. Perhaps it was the first time you watched a movie and for months on end you couldn’t stop researching about the character’s back stories, connections, theories, and even checked out some fanfic just to keep the story going. Maybe it was the time you cried your eyes out as you read through the death scene of your favorite character in a book and from then on, you just knew your heart would always feel like a piece went missing along with that character.
As far as I’m concerned, being a nerd doesn’t have a timeline. It doesn’t function like a frequent shopper card in that the more times you’ve experienced a fandom, the bigger and better nerd you are. And it certainly isn’t discriminatory. Wouldn’t one want to share their fandom and their knowledge of a fandom with others instead of being exclusionary and competitive? The more I learn about things I love, whether it’s a book, a movie, or even a cool clothing line, the more I want to share it with everyone. Isn’t that really what being a nerd is about?
I think anyone can be a nerd about anything. Sure, people usually think of nerds as liking stereotypical things like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings or as people who are incredibly smart and into physics and math, but couldn’t someone be a nerd about makeup or a football team or even about fitness? In the same way that I want to know all of the backstory and continuations and purchase all of the items pertaining to my favorite fandom, a football nerd wants to know about all of their team’s players, where they played previously, as well as owning the team jerseys, going to the sporting events, and spending one night a week cheering for their team.
I think it’s high time people stopped looking down their noses at the word nerd or dubbing someone a fake or real nerd. Being passionate about something is what makes life great and interesting – whether it’s a movie, yoga, reading, or even a sports team. Life is about living and sharing the things we love, so let’s stop judging one another for being a nerd or one’s “level” of nerdiness and instead learn to embrace and share our passions with one another. Because at the end of the day, aren’t we all just nerds in some form or another?
What are you passionate about that makes you a nerd?