I grew up in a world where being passionate about something, almost anything in fact, was enough to label you a ‘nerd’ – and a nerd wasn’t something you wanted to be; John Green was a name only known on YouTube, and geek culture wasn’t a fashion trend, it was something to laugh at. Reality wasn’t like the Disney movies, where you had to be some kind of ugly science genius to be a nerd (and even that was bad enough) – you just had to care about something.I don’t know if that’s just part of being a teenage girl, if it was just another shitty side effect of 2009 or what, but it sucked. Being a fairly smart kid with a thing for books, this wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted – pretending not to like anything is exhausting. Being ‘cool’ was more important than anything, even to the adults in my life.
At school, the girls I hung out with were pretty generic knee high sock wearing catholic schoolgirls. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t until we got older that I realised the one thing we all actually had in common – we all had something to hide. We all dumbed ourselves down, hid the things we liked, did anything it took to fit in. People were ruthless. One of my friends once had a breakdown on me because some of her other friends wouldn’t stop mocking the way she spoke. She’s Spanish and bilingual, so sometimes she structures her sentences like she would in Spanish – it wasn’t important that she’s fluent in two languages and was learning French at the time, it was important that she spoke a little differently.
Fast-forward to 2011. We were just about to make an important realisation – not only did we all care about things, but caring about things was okay; good even. Year 11 exams were over, and I was bored out of my mind. I was browsing through YouTube one day when I found the video that changed it all.
A Very Potter Musical, a student musical with a tiny budget and big heart won me over. This silly, crude parody musical showed me that it was okay to love something, and love it so much that you use it in your art. This was a production made by 20-somethings with a passion for Harry Potter, High School Musical, Star Wars and so many other ‘nerdy’ or ‘childish’ things. Through this little production company I made friends- a family, even.
For the last 5 years my internet friends and I have seen each other through a lot. We’ve helped each other through heartbreak, bereavement and depression, but we’ve also celebrated a lot of achievements and high moments – graduations, new jobs, even a baby or two! I have a family that spreads all over the world, with members of all different ages, genders and sexualities. This must be how it feels to have a home.
The love and support I’ve received from this group of nerds has constantly been a source of motivation for me; in fact, it was these people who got me writing again in the first place. If you’re one of these said nerds:
I owe you everything. You’re all so incredible and I love you. Listen to your heart, and remember that baby, you’re not alone.
Do you have a defining “nerd” moment or internet family? What gave you the drive to do what you love? Tell me everything!
See you soon,
Just kidding, it’s still me.
[ALL CREDIT TO THE GIF MAKERS IN LINKS. CREDIT TO STARKID PRODUCTIONS FOR THE AMAZING SHOWS THE GIFS COME FROM.]
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