Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I’m a Fangirl, and I’m Not Ashamed

Today marks the end of Fangirl Week. Since last Wednesday, we’ve been taking a look at the art of fangirling. We’ve seen how Disney characters would fangirl, how you can fangirl in public with minimal embarrassment, and some compelling reasons why being a fangirl improves reality. But today I’d like to address the side of fangirling that no one really likes to talk about: shame.

Nerd, geek, fangirl. Those are all terms that are flung around, often in a derogatory fashion. (Apparently it’s not cool to pretend you’re flying around in the TARDIS or hanging out with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Who knew, right?) All joking aside, when used negatively, these words can often be extremely painful.

I will say this. The attitudes towards nerddom have improved with the availability of the internet. Now you can meet others like you. And it’s actually become a weird sort of coolness. Being a nerd and a geek is associated with cool glasses and graphic tees. (Which I both wear. *cough* Oops?) The point is, it’s not quite so weird anymore.

But being a nerd used to be weird. I’m not sure what it is about liking things passionately that is so offensive. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it. And yet, whether through some imagined slight or an actual insult, we have all felt like outcasts. At some point in our lives, all of us have felt ashamed for something we like. And that’s not okay.

What is okay: being a nerd.

Being a nerd means you love something. It means you feel. It means you’re alive. As Wil Wheaton says, “It’s not about what you love. It’s about how you love it.” The very fact that humans love things so deeply is an actual miracle.

The greatest part of being alive is all the things that we have around us to explore and enjoy. Made-up things are no different. From the heart of Aslan to Gandalf’s staff to battling Chitauri in New York, I have been irrevocably changed by the things I love. In my darkest moments, stories have been there reaching out a helping hand. They have somehow made life more worth facing. The experience of being a fangirl enriches our lives.

Yes, it may not be cool. But being a fangirl and loving things passionately has been one of the best decisions I ever made. And I am so grateful for what stories and the fangirl life have given me.

If you’re reading this and you’re in love with the miracle of human consciousness: you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is who you are and this is what you love. And we love stuff, too. Welcome to The Fangirl Initiative. We’re so glad to have you.

As Jaime would say: be bold, be brave, be initiative. Let’s own this fangirl life together.


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