We love our fandoms. For those on the outside looking in, it may be their impulse to discount our devotion as superficial or childish. That’s because they don’t understand or see how nerdom has effected us. At BNP, we know that comics and movies and anime and cosplay does so much more than entertain us, it shapes us; we learn what kind of people we want to be—and who exactly we are fighting against becoming. We sent out that bat signal, we sent out notice for an open call for submissions on what nerd lessons you learned and y’all answered the call.
The Author of This Piece and Teacher for This Nerd Lesson : Drew Fletcher
My name is Drew Fletcher and I am a geek, nerd, blerd, bleek (copyright if sounding cool) or whatever sounds good with bl attached to it. Without knowing it, I’m sure my geekdom like others started with Toonami. Toonami was the gate way drug that people don’t realize they were taking. There was no better beginning to my geekdom: Tenchi Muyo, Gundam Wing, Dragonball Z, Salior Moon, Outlaw Star, the list keeps going. Anime has been there for me as long as I could remember. So many lessons and so many fillers. Before going into my awesome morals that I certainly have, I must address the yang part of my geekdom: video games. That started with the slim Red Gameboy. I went from playing Tetris in black and white by myself to now playing Overwatch with trolls. The lessons I learned from my hobbies/ passions are simple but solid.
One lesson I learned is that heroes are made not born (most times). I mean look at my favorite heroes, Mario and Sonic. Mario is a plumber my friends, snaking one pipe at a time. A hero is born when his main squeeze Peach is taken. When it comes to Sonic, all he wants to do is run and eat. That’s it, but a cranky old man keeps wanting to conquer the world. Then somehow with all that going on they do the Olympics. True heroes, to me at least, but what about us normal folk? It’s as simple as being there for your friends when they are sad or turning Super Saiyan when they get blown up.
Unlike my last example being a hero doesn’t need to be grand. I remember I went to an old person’s home in high school for community service. They had a party for the senior citizens and I was asked to dance. I danced literally in circles with this lady for about what seemed like forever. But I looked at her and she just seemed so happy. When I saw her smile, it made the whole trip worth it. My years of two stepping in a circle finally had meaning.
Another lesson I learned from one sage known as Miyamoto is to try, try, try again.
Another lesson I learned from one sage known as Miyamoto is to try, try, try again. The whole Mario series is based upon this and the inability to pay for castle security insurance. Mario jumps through different worlds constantly saving Peach and all for what….a cheek kiss?! That aside gamers, no matter how many times they get fire balled or run into Grombas keep trying. The will to keep going even after failing is powerful. Life has no reset and not many second chances. I have experienced loss, defeat and powerlessness. Whether I contribute the will to continue to my family, friends or my secret Super Mushroom I nibble on from time to time, I keep going.
This never rang more true than taking Calculus in college. With Geometry I was Ali, with Trigonometry I was Lil’ Mac, but with Calculus I was Uncle Ruckus. (Yes, that bad folks). For some reason, it wouldn’t click for me. Each Calculus class I took I had to take twice. It was very discouraging, but I summoned my inner Mario and kept trying. I would pass each class with a C- or D. While those grades are horrible, I passed. They were badges of honor that I earn. (Too bad my GPA didn’t reflect my honor). You cannot win them all but, I hope I never lose the will to fight and move forward.
“..Be true to yourself.”
The ultimate lesson learned from my geek culture is simple, be true to yourself. In the age of social media and saturated images of false idols, being yourself becomes hard. Let’s face it, being a geek or nerd publicly never gained praise. And if geeks do get praised they are people just following a trend. Or my favorite people, the closet geeks so far away in Narnia they forget who they are. To all my geeks all over the world lets rejoice! There is no better time to show your colors! In a time of creative and beautiful cosplayers, gaming tournaments and evolving game systems why deny yourself? For those of you thinking you are not a geek or nerd you are: You know all Lebron’s stats since he started basketball and I know the plot points of Tenchi Muyo, Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo. We’re all geeks in our own respects.
We need to learn how to respect people in and out of our geek circles. You guessed it here come the references: By staying kind heart and gentle, Goku became the first one to become a Super Saiyan. By staying true to his goals and beliefs, Luffy was able to amass a loyal crew he considers his treasured nakama. If that isn’t convincing–imagine all the work it takes to be someone else, you deem better? I don’t know about you but, I’m lazy. I don’t want to take the time to perfect my fake persona so someone will like me for someone I’m not. Why not be yourself? If you don’t, you deny the world of your presence and influence. Please let your light shine, you never know who you come across in life who may need it.
Now that you have all this great advice one thing remains, how does this apply to me? For myself: the nerdy passions I have liked have ultimately shaped me into who I am and also have helped me meet the people I have made friends with. To some people a good Friday night in high school meant going out, not me. My idea of a great Friday night was being with friends eating pizza and playing Smash Bros! I was not the most popular and nor did I play sports. (The usual things that make a “good” high school experience) Nevertheless, my high school experience was a memorable one: I had friends, good grades and my last year I even became Student Body Vice President!!!
My geek triumphs don’t stop there. I went to the best HBCU (Hampton University) and got my Bachelors in Computer Science. During college, I joined different organizations and you know what, you guessed it, I was still a geek. I continued to make friends and had plenty of great discussions about anime and video games. If we look at current days I work at Disney and I am chasing my dreams. Everything I accomplished and survived in my life was because I stayed true to me. I want you to do the same. Follow your star and no one else’s. It is perfectly fine to look to others for help, but form their experience to help shape your own. Only one last thing to say. If you must be yourself, be yourself with no regrets and let others do the same. Peace!
Follow your star and no one else’s.
Read more of the Nerd Lessons here.