Before school let out for winter break, someone who I once thought was a friend, called me a nerd. It wasn’t in the way that some of my closer friends call me a nerd – you know, in that super friendly way that implies they’re only teasing you with love. No, this was calling me a nerd because I had spent the previous night discussing a paper I was writing and my love of poetry for about thirty minutes.
And there I am, listening to this person talk to someone else and describe what a nerd I am.
At first, I was pissed. I mean, how dare this person criticize me for loving something so wholeheartedly that I like talking about it with my friends. How dare this person talk about my passion as though it is a bad thing.
Then, I honestly didn’t care. Yes, of course, I care about what people think of me. Of course, I care that someone I thought to be a friend was talking about me behind my back. But then I realized something: if a nerd is someone who is passionate about something, then why wouldn’t I want to be one?
Why wouldn’t I want someone to know that I love something? Why would I be ashamed of my love for poetry, writing, and school (sometimes), even if it caused someone to say something mean?
We should all feel lucky to be called nerds. We should all feel so lucky to be so passionate about something that it consumes us; so passionate that we want to share it with the world, that we want to love it. We should all be so lucky for someone to call us a nerd just because we love something and want to tell people about it.
John Green once said, “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is, ‘You like stuff,’ which is not a good insult at all. Like, ‘You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of the human consciousness.’” This quote is a completely apt description of how I felt that day, listening to that person talk about my “nerdiness.”
Yep, I’m a nerd. I love poetry. I love reading the newspaper. I love correcting grammar (no matter how much other people hate it). I love the Oxford Comma. I love reading poetry in my spare time. I love when I find typos or missing punctuation in books. I love going to classes and learning new things. I love my books.
And if all that makes me a nerd, so be it.
Because I don’t care. You can call me a nerd all you like. You can call me a geek. Call me silly. Call me weird. But that’s not an insult. Not anymore. Sure, criticize me for nerding out about something I’m passionate about. Criticize me for loving something and wanting to share it with you.
Because yes, I like stuff. I’m passionate about the miracle of human consciousness. I love things. Call me a nerd, and then get over it. I did.