Since I was a kid, I’ve been a nerd. A geek. A weirdo until weirdos were cool (I’m still not cool; I want a refund). I can’t remember a time when I didn’t wholeheartedly embrace the title of nerd because it’s always seemed like such an integral part of my identity.
Where some people were ashamed of being a nerd, I was shameless because I didn’t know what else to be. From Pokemon and Harry Potter to modern Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Netflix series’, I’ve never once escaped my nerdiness—and I wouldn’t want to.
When I say my identity revolves around being a geek, I mean it. Every friend I have today, I made because of anime, fanfiction, books, or some other type of geeky obsession. I met my partner through D.Gray-Man anime fanfiction. I met my closest friends through fandom—Peaky Blinders, Noragami, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I still remember watching the A:TLA premier when I was twelve.
To me, being a geek is about being myself and bringing together all of my other identities—as a queer person, an artist, an introvert, and all the rest— in a way that nothing else does. You can’t really lie about being a geek. You can try, but no matter what, your insatiable passion for that one thing, or many things, bleeds through, and soon you’ve thrown your heart on the floor at someone’s feet and you’re hoping they’ll give you theirs, too.
Usually, in geekdom, they do.
Being a geek is showing a secret part of yourself because you can finally be honest about it. There’s no time you see more of someone than when they’re showing you what they love. Being a geek is about meeting people through uncommon interests. It’s about intersecting identities and cross-generational commonalities.
So many people I know, myself included, have found our home in the nerd community. For me, being a geek is being home, being myself, being all of me together and in pieces. It’s discovering myself and learning about others, and being happy for someone just because you’re watching them talk about what they love.
Geekdom is what led me to travel on my own for the first time. It’s brought me farther from my physical home and closer to my heart’s home. So much of my life has been guided by fandom and nerdiness that by now it’s as much a part of me as my organs and cells.
I can’t live without it.
When I say I met people through fandom, I also met myself.