Being a nerd sure seems like a lot of fun. You get to play lots of games, go to conventions, watch all sorts of awesome movies, and so much other stuff. However, with great awesomeness comes great responsibility, and occasionally great downfalls. This was actually one of the most requested topics on a recent poll I posted on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page, and I’m going to go into what I feel are the best parts, as well as the worst parts, of being a nerd.
The Best Parts of Being a Nerd
- You get to dress up in fun costumes on days besides Halloween! I’ve dressed as Princess Peach in March, Pinkie Pie in August, and all sorts of other costumes for fun occasions. Plus, if you’re skilled enough at it, you get to make those costumes, too. I think the best part is making the costume, and then putting it on and marveling at all your hard work come to life.
- Games. SO MANY GAMES. Board games, video games, tabletop RPGs. Fluxx, Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros., Munchkin, the Ace Attorney series, and those are just the ones I can list off the top of my head. There’s always something fun to play, something to stimulate your brain with.
- Collecting stuff is pretty awesome, too. As someone who was once a rather involved collector of Sailor Moon stuff, and now focusing my efforts on My Little Pony and Wreck-It Ralph, there’s nothing like putting all the toys you’ve collected, or action figures, or books, or whatever it is you love, together on a shelf, out on display. My insane My Little Pony collection always brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it all together.
- You can focus on whatever your passion is, and just dive right in and enjoy it. I love to code websites, and rearrange computer guts, and collect ponies and Sailor Moon toys, and read science-fiction books, and craft. Some people love science. Some love books. Others love cats. You could totally be a cat nerd. I’m all for that. It’s all about being yourself, and enjoying what you love.
- Conventions! Getting together with others who are passionate about the same things you are is one of the best things about being a nerd, in my opinion. There’s nothing like wandering into a con full of people, dressed up as one of your favorite book/video game/anime characters, and having people freak out because you’re their favorite character. Or wearing a t-shirt from Firefly (or a Jayne hat!), and having someone comment on it because they’re really upset it was canceled too. (Or they’re upset Fox is going all cease-and-desist happy on those who love to make Jayne hats.) Plus, sometimes you’ll get to see awesome things, like two Fourth Doctors swapping Jelly Babies.
However, with the good comes the bad…
The Worst Parts of Being A Nerd
- When one of your favorite shows gets cancelled, it’s a HUGE bummer. Sure, this happens to non-sci-fi shows, too, but honestly, some of my most favorite shows ended so darn abruptly because they got canceled – like Firefly and Farscape. Sure, they both got some sort of wrap-up in the form of a movie or miniseries (like Serenity and The Peacekeeper Wars), but it’s not quite enough, is it?
- Spending way too much money on stuff you collect. Yes. This is a problem too. I’ve spent at least $500 on My Little Ponies since 2011, and that’s just a very low estimate by counting all the brushable-hair ponies in my office and the Build A Bear plushies I just got. Collecting stuff is EXPENSIVE. And I will admit, I had my share of irresponsible moments, like spending $100 on a boxed set of Sailor Moon DVDs, when I should have used the money for food… Not only that, but sometimes you just can’t actually FIND the stuff you want to collect. When I first got into anime, the only things I could get my hands on were some badly dubbed Sailor Moon VHS tapes and the occasional issue of Animerica. It sucked.
- Getting picked on. It will happen. And unless you’re a closet nerd, like some people I know, it will happen a lot. I was ruthlessly picked on as a teenager for liking video games (apparently back in 1996 video games were still a “guy thing”), and for liking Sailor Moon (because according to most of the kids in my high school, if it was animated, it was a “baby show”). It sucked. I mostly retreated from everyone in my class because of it – I made some friends who were a couple years younger than me, and eventually people said “hey, maybe games and anime aren’t all that bad”, but sadly, by then, the damage was done.
- Sometimes, there just aren’t people interested in the same stuff you are. It can be a very lonely existence, being a nerd. Let’s go back to my high school experience for a moment – I had maybe two close friends who were interested in the same stuff I was, Sunny and Harmon. Aside from them, nobody really gave a crap about my rabid Sailor Moon fangirlishness, or my weird obsession with Princess Peach. Now that I’ve surrounded myself with more nerdy people, it’s not quite so bad – I think it’s actually an unspoken requirement that to be my friend, you have to have at least watched a handful of Doctor Who episodes and know who Pinkie Pie is – but back in the day, it kinda sucked. Especially growing up in rural New York, out in the middle of nowhere.
These are all pretty specific to my own experiences – I know you guys probably have your own best and worst nerdy experiences too. I hope you’ll share them all with me, and with others, in the comments – because while sometimes it’s rough, it’s also pretty darn awesome, being a nerd, and we’re never alone in our nerdiness. 🙂
One of my favorite things about being a nerd is finding someone else who loves Yoshi or Pinkie Pie or Dragon Age like I do. At a local arts festival/flea market, I literally stood in one place and discussed Dragon Age with a friend for an hour. AN HOUR.
The part that sucks is some people still think video games are for fat, jobless losers. I am none of those things, thank you very much! One family member in particular has this thing about being “cool,” and I am the exact opposite of what he thinks is cool. Even though he’s kind of a meathead, I don’t like calling him that because I actually love the guy and I think he’d do anything for me. It’s still really annoying when he makes offhand remarks about geeky gamers or Star Wars fans. I know that life is more than video games – however, I blog about them. I love them. Please let me have that without hearing snarky remarks from family.
Oh man, I’ve had conversations like that too – after teaching workshops, while staffing a table at IT fairs and stuff – it’s awesome! I love the nerdy discussions I can get into with people.
And I also understand exactly how you feel – especially with family members making offhand comments about things you enjoy. My mom used to say some nasty stuff about me enjoying Sailor Moon so much as a teenager – I got enough of that at school, and it was even worse having to deal with it at home.