Everybody knows one. They wear clothes from some show no one likes, make obscure references to said show, and if you looked through their internet history, there’s probably enough fan fiction from said show to fill the Library of Congress. They’re nerds, geeks, freaks. Call them what you want but one thing is for certain: associating with them is condemning yourself to a lifetime on the bottom rung of the social hierarchy.
This stigma, that being a nerd is something scandalous, creates closeted nerds, such as myself. It all started when I began looking for a new show to binge on Netflix. I’d remembered my friend’s sister rave about this crazy show…Superbloop? Spookerblob? Supernatural. Not a month later and I’d seen over two-hundred and fifty episodes, which spanned ten seasons. That should have been the first warning sign of the nerd status I was about to gain.
Things spiraled quickly after that. Next, I discovered the deepest pit of the internet, Tumblr. It fed my obsession with the show and the people posting on it kept recommending new nerdy things to immerse myself in. It was viscous cycle that never seemed to end. Still, I figured it hadn’t gotten too out of hand yet. In my mind, I was still the outgoing, studious, popular girl who happened to secretly enjoy “weird, quirky things” in the darkness of my bedroom at night.
It wasn’t until I was standing in a fan convention a few months later that I realized just how deep I was in. I had paid over a thousand dollars to spend a weekend with people who were as insanely obsessed with this show as I was. By all accounts, I probably should have checked my psychiatric health. Yet, I didn’t.
For the first time, I felt free. I could talk about my favorite things with people who understood and related. People take it for granted, being able to talk about the things they love. Nobody bats an eye when two girls are having a conversation about makeup or a group of guys is talking about the Raven’s game on Sunday, but if anyone heard a friend and I talking about the characterization of Dean Winchester or how enthralling the season’s arch was, we’d be forever branded with the “nerd” label.
It’s time to stop condemning people for the things they enjoy. I shouldn’t have felt like I was committing a crime for allowing myself to love a show. No one should be ashamed of caring about something. We are so consumed with our image and how others perceive us that we are limiting ourselves. We are making ourselves smaller to fit into the predetermined molds society has given us. Perhaps if we stop judging people for just a second, we’ll realize how amazing passion itself is. When someone talks about the thing they love, their eyes light up, their words become more intense, and it’s as if there’s a new spark in them. We need to stop trying to stomp out that spark, but rather, feed it, until it becomes a full-fledged fire.
So here it is, my “coming out”. I’m a nerd. I watch these shows and read these books and I obsess over them until it’s entirely consumed me or I find another one to fan-girl over. I used to be sorry about it but now I’ve realized, it’s okay. Some people love sports. Others love bands. I love stories.
And for anyone else who may be a “closeted nerd”, just remember, you are not alone.