The Problem With Being a Nerd

Image via Tumblr
The other day, I was approached about writing for a site that
considers themselves to be a nerd blog. Now, I  confess that I’ve read all of one post on
their site, but my immediate reaction was that I don’t think I’d have anything
to possibly contribute. I know that one of the two contributors writes about comics/games
and I have no idea what the owner writes about. It bothered me though that I
was so quick to reply with, “I have nothing to offer.”  It bothered me more than the fact that the
owner immediately responded with something along the lines of me not being a
fit, after all.
Why was I so quick to jump to that answer?  Is it because I really believe that I have
nothing to offer to a nerd blog? Is it because I run a geek site of my own and
I rarely write for it so it’d almost feel traitorous for me to start writing
someplace else? Or is it because it’s really hard to be a nerd within the nerd
kingdom sometimes?
The term nerd these days encompasses just as much as the
term geek.  It used to be that these were
very separate terms with different definitions. To some, they still are. For
the most part though, I hear them interchanged without anyone blinking.  The problem is that they encompass so much.
It’s become overwhelming. The idea of picking just one subject to write about
is like asking a person to reach down into a pile of gemstones and pull out the
one tiny chip of a diamond that’s in there, but you can’t look as you reach.
It’s a blind pull.
So, when I was asked, my brain panicked and tried
frantically to sift through any and all of my interests to find the one thing
that would make my writing worth writing.  A panicky brain is not a good brain. I
blanked. If asked the same question right now, I would have the same answer. I
don’t know. There are too many options and so many that I don’t feel like any
sort of expert in.
This leads me to the other problem when being asked to write
for a site like this, nerd panic. This is a very really thing, folks. It’s that
feeling you get deep inside when someone asks about your fandom. It’s that
series of thoughts that go buzzing through your head:  “What if they don’t like my fandom? What
if I don’t do a good job of representing it? Will all the nerds/geeks hate
I would love to say that even a geek/nerd as secure as
myself and who stands up every single day for the individual and that your
fandom is not my fandom and my fandom is not your fandom, but no fandom is
better than another, is immune to this, but I’m just not.  It can be hard to be a nerd in today’s
kingdom of nerdom. There are so many things to be a fan of and each and every
one of these has a handful of ultra-nerds that know every single detail about
whatever it is. Those are the ones who scare us; the ones who not only know
everything, but will be the first in line to tell you that you’re wrong.  The last thing any of us want to hear is that
we’re not really a geek or a nerd or a part of the community.
After all, humans are meant to be a part of things. We’re
meant to seek out those like us and to join with them. To be told that we can’t
be a part of that is not only humiliating, but on some levels, it’s also
painful. It’s as if a piece of your identity is being ripped away and depending
who you are, that can be a tiny piece or it can be a huge part of who you feel
that you are. There are some of us who live very solitary lives and when we
connect with a group of people and we feel as if we’re a part of something, it
is a very big deal.  We’ve finally found
a place where we fit in. Knowing that there are those who could rip that away
from us is very scary. It’s why people won’t speak up about their fandoms or
they keep them secret. Yes, there are closet bronies, browncoats and whovians.
They exist and they exist because these shows represent a piece of their own
personality and there is a fear that if they speak up about them, someone may
judge that piece of them. Sometimes, it’s more than a show, a comic, a movie; it’s
a piece of us on paper or screen.

So, why didn’t I jump at the chance to do something that I
love (writing)? It’s probably a blend of all of the reasons, but the biggest
one? A fear that my fandom, my geek girlness would come under attack and it’s
easier to accept that someone doesn’t see you as one at all than to have them
see a piece of your very self and have them rip that apart. Remember folks,
that just because someone may not know what color the blade of grass was on
some far off planet on some far off date doesn’t mean that they don’t heavily
relate to some character who is standing on that same blade of grass and
because they relate, it’s like watching themselves. Each of us is entitled to not
only our own fandoms, but our own level of fandom.  Next time someone asks me to write, I’m hoping
that I remember this and I step out, even if I’m afraid, and I write some kick
ass piece for a site that celebrates that very premise. 

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