Nerd? Geek? Congratulations!

The Internet disagrees on the exact definition, by my personal definition of a geek is:  a person, often intellectual and a social outcast, who is greatly excited by things which mainstream society does not consider worth thinking much about.

Of course, right after I wrote that definition for myself, I found John Green’s version:  “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff,”  which is much simpler.  Use whichever one you like–I like John Green’s because it uses the word “unironically,” which the computer isn’t accepting as a word but I like anyway.

There’s a whole world of debate about nerds versus geeks, but I just lump us all together because we’re treated pretty much the same.  I’ll use the term “geek” for this article, but if you’d prefer I be saying “nerd,” just pretend that’s the word I’m using.  I’ll be saying the same thing either way.  Okay?


In recent years, geek culture has been sneaking into mainstream culture, but being a geek still often means being an outsider, especially in middle and high school.  And that hurts.  We all want to be accepted, right?

I was raised by two massive geeks who spent many free nights watching all those shows and films with the word Star in the titles, encouraged my brother and I in any intellectual pursuit we set our minds on, and otherwise made it inevitable that we would become geeks, with everything being a geek entailed.

And you know what?  I’m okay with that.  I’m happy about being a geek or nerd or whatever else people call me.

Here’s why.

Geeks like us can be massively excited about things, so excited we can’t hold still or stop talking about the thing we’re excited about at times, and it’s accepted–whether because we’re already social outcasts or because our friends like us anyways, it’s accepted.

Do you realize how liberating that is?

We live in a strange culture where it’s acceptable to express anger or sadness or joy, as long as we don’t express it too much or too little.  Don’t laugh too loud or jump up an down in public, and heaven forbid you should start crying while surrounded by strangers, these things seem to be the unspoken rules.  Being either too emotionally expressive or too emotionally reserved gets us judged.

But geeks–whether we express our excitement about things all the time or only when we’re with people we’re comfortable with–don’t have to worry about that.  We’ve allowed ourselves to be insanely, ridiculously excited about the things we love when we want to be, whether or not society will punish us for it.  They’re already saying we’re too smart or too loud or too whatever other arbitrary thing they’re complaining about anyway.

It’s not just Star Trek and computer stuff we geeks get excited about either.  I geek out over many, many of the miracles of the universe.

I geek out about dragons (obviously), but there’s also astronomy, mythology, art history (especially van Gogh), my and other religions, chess, Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere, languages, physics, the multiverse theory, secret codes (did you know the band name Imagine Dragons is an anagram of a phrase that has meaning to the band, but they’re not saying what the phrase is?  Do I know what it is?  No.  Have I been rearranging Scrabble tiles and plugging the letters into anagram generators in an attempt to find out?  Maybe), new inventions, advances in medicine, volcanoes, and especially comic books.  I feel like comics have huge potential as an art form and I want to help them reach it.  I also spend a lot of time thinking about the fact that most matter is really composed of empty space, including the hands I’m typing with right now.  I mean, how cool is that?

I spend enough time fighting my depression so I can muster up enthusiasm for anything in life.  On the good days when that enthusiasm comes easily, I’m not going to try to repress it.

Basically, by being a geek, I’m allowing myself to be excited about everything the universe has to offer.  I’m setting myself a mission to learn everything about everything and to change the world for the better with that knowledge, and even if that mission is as impossible a dream as drawing every interesting place on the planet in one lifetime, it’s something I find fulfillment in the pursuit of, and even if I can’t learn and fix everything, I can learn and fix enough to make a difference.

Sorry I missed the post on Tuesday.  I was driving home from my great-grandad’s funeral and didn’t have a post already written.  I’ll have some blog posts prepared in advance in the future.  


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