Embrace Your Inner Nerd
If you know me you know I’m not someone who pretends to have a lot of advice or wisdom to dispense, but in my travels I’ve cultivated one nugget of pseudo-wisdom: one surefire way to help yourself “make it” in the “real world” is something I like to call embracing your inner nerd. And no, I don’t mean buying yourself a pair of coke bottle glasses or quoting obscure books at your friends (trust me, it’s not charming). I’m talking about immersing yourself in something(s) you love that most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, making yourself knowledgeable, and letting your enjoyment of those things impact your life.
Nerds care about what matters and value people for who they are. It’s a major misconception that you have to be intelligent to be a nerd. Not so. I would probably fail an 8th grade science test, yet I’m as sincere a nerd as they come. Because that’s what counts with nerds—sincerity. It doesn’t matter if we’re interested in the same things; if I can see you’re genuine in what you care about and it’s close to your heart, I respect that. I have a friend who’s obsessed with all things Disney, another who unabashedly loves Sailor Moon, and even a friend who loses her mind over shows like Pretty Little Liars (hint: she runs this blog), and even though those things aren’t my particular cup of tea, those people are important to me because I value people who really, truly care about things. If any of these people, hearing me mock something they love (and despite my nerd-solidarity I tend to do this), said “No, you’re right, it’s dumb,” I would instantly lose some respect for them. I find that generally, people who can’t be sincere about something as simple as their interests will rarely be sincere in their relationships.
Nerds also have a unique brand of confidence. This probably sounds strange, since people still usually write nerds off as awkward or anti-social. The beauty of this, though, is that part of being a nerd is a genuine disregard for this kind of judgment. Like most kids, I struggled during high school because I felt I didn’t fit in. But gradually I realized something: I was a nerd, always had been, always would be. And when you figure out something like that about yourself, a shift takes place. Knowing yourself is a huge part of being a nerd, and it gives you your best weapon against anyone who wants to change you: confidence.
Most people who know me have heard the story of how Harry Potter influenced my life. HP was my first truly nerd-tastic obsession, though not by any means the last. I could quote those books all day long, answer absurdly specific questions, even tell you (in elaborate detail) what I think happened after the Battle of Hogwarts. But the most important thing nerding out over Harry did was force me to realize something. There was a reason I kept going back to those stories for comfort, for a laugh or a good cry, or just to leave my reality behind for a few hours’ adventure. It was the storytelling, the magic of the writing itself, of losing myself in words. And I knew that telling stories of my own, trying to capture that same kind of magic through writing, was the only thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Wanting to tell stories, and the influences I stumble across every day in books, movies, and television that push me to continue chasing that dream, has been a guiding force in my life. My nerd tendencies and my drive to find new things to be excited about (including my own creations), will get me through probably years of mediocre jobs and a whole lot of rejection from publishers. Because as long as I’m a nerd, I’ll be able to remind myself why what I’m doing matters, why I shouldn’t give up. Nobody creates a bestselling book or a hit television show or an award-winning film overnight, but if anybody who has had given up, we might’ve missed out on a hell of a lot. And as long as there are nerds around to continue appreciating skill and stories and art and talent, there’s a chance for all of us.
There’s a nerd inside of you, whether you admit it or not, and embracing it could be the key to realizing your dream, whatever it may be. That, and life’s a lot more fun when you’ve found your niche and don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.
When I first came up with the idea to have a series of guest posts, I knew Andrea would be perfect. Andrea does quite a bit of writing on her own time and runs her own blog too. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working with this lovely young woman and there has never really been a dull moment. She has the kindest and most sincere heart and I am proud to be a television nerd right alongside her. Andrea is a Chicago native, but recently moved back to the wonderful city of Seattle and we’re glad to have her back! Check out Andrea’s blog here.