Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fighting Words

Sometimes, I get very excited about certain things, and other people don't understand. And when I say sometimes, I mean every other day. And when I say "things" I mean generally geeky things. 

If you're friends with me on Facebook, I'm sure you've noticed the Wheel of Time banner on my Facebook timeline. (For the record, it's the Moraine one). I've made several comments recently about the impending end of the Wheel of Time (and about how Tarmon Gai'don is coming), and how I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry when I finally hold that book in my hands. I told my boss that I won't be coming into work the day Wheel of Time is released or the day after. Because all I'm doing is going to be reading it.

If you've been in my presence in the last week, you've noticed my bouncing off the walls excitement that The Avengers is finally coming out on DVD. (Which I totally now own). And I'm planning an awesome Avengers party with my friend Melody, where we will watch The Avengers, dressed in the colors of our favorite hero (or villain, as the case may be), and eat Avengers themed snacks (I plan on making Captain America shield sugar cookies). It's going to be awesome.

Over half of the blog posts I've commented on in the past month have been Doctor Who related. And any time myself and another person who watches Who have been in the same room, all we've done is discuss how we feel about the new season. And it never fails that there are strong feelings on either side and voices sometimes get raised to volumes that probably shouldn't be used indoors (though never angry yelling, just over excited hysteria, mainly).

These are only the recent things I've been geeking out about. I've been a geek all my life. And over the course of my life, there has been a set of words that will immediately make me furious.

Sometimes it's not actually said in words. Sometimes it's just a raised eyebrow when I excitedly start talking about my crazy Wheel of Time theories or how I feel Steven Moffat has forgotten which Doctor he is writing for. Sometimes it's in an indulgent shake of the head. But those I can ignore. It's the words, though, words that make me angrier than most people probably realize.

What words?

"It's just a movie."

"It's just a book."

"It's just a TV show."

"It's just a......"

Three very short words put in front of a noun. But it's amazing how three short words can patronize and belittle. 

Three short words that say, "Why are you so worked up about this? It's not real. It doesn't matter. It's silly. There are bigger, more important things in life that you should care about. Things that real grownups like me care about. Stop being such a silly little kid."

I recognize that my love of Mat Cauthon isn't going to end world hunger. I know that my love of Harry Potter or Stargate SG-1 isn't going to end war or hate. 

But beyond that, who are you to judge my love of something and what it has done for me and others?

My love for geeky things has brought me a career and community. Through the characters I have come to love like friends, I have learned lessons from their actions and avoided mistakes in my own life. Through my love of these things, I've had revelations, both about myself and my faith. These things I love, these things I get excited about, they are a part of me, inseparable from me. I am not just Loki or Meg Murray. I am also Rand al'Thor, because I have learned his lessons. I am Menolly, because I have walked with her through her life. I have never just been a student of my teachers and professors. I have been a student of Hari Seldon, Moraine Sedai, Luke Skywalker, Dumbledore, Kelsier and so many others. 

When you belittle and demean my enthusiasm, you're belittling and demeaning the impact these things have had on my life. I am who I am today, because of these things. 

So next time you find yourself uttering, "It's just a...." Catch yourself. Stop and think. Because it's not just a book or movie. It's not just a song or a game. It's something more. It's someone else's identity. Their life.

And the next time you want to tease someone because they're geeking out over something, just remember this quote from John Greene.

"Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’"

Think about that. "You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness." 

May that always be said about me.

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