I mentioned in one of my Marcon posts that “my people”, the geeks and nerds of the world, are a strange and often frail stock. They are often unattractive due to medical issues or simply losing at the genetic lotto. They often have no fashion sense. No, wait, that’s wrong – they have a DIFFERENT fashion sense where humorous t-shirts, shorts and sandals are chic. They are usually socially inept, shy, introverted; they might not even do more than mumble at cashiers and will likely say thank you in a croak because their throats are as dry as their palms are sweaty.
But they have one thing going for them: they have courage.
I’m going to post a picture I ran across in a FARK.com thread about My Little Pony fans (Bronies, and I am one myself, proudly):
If this happens to be someone who reads this and is unhappy it’s posted, let me know. But first, let me say this: I am proud of you. No, not just proud. I honestly admire you. You and the guy with the “I’m famous on the internet” t-shirt. Because you are living your life YOUR way despite the teasing and disapproval from the “norms”. You like things that others think are silly, stupid, childish even, but you display it proudly. And damn it, you deserve to be recognized for the courage to do that in an age where people will pick you you simply because they have nothing better to do.
The person in that pic (and I’ll be honest…is that a guy or a girl? Another one of the geek life conundrums) is more courageous than you can imagine. You see, when you’re already…well, weird looking…and most of my people are…and you already are considered a social pariah because you were born without the ability to know what to say when or how to keep your body from reacting in ways you don’t want it to (sweating being a big one), being strong and confident enough to go out wearing clothing proclaiming your geekhood, being courageous enough to express your love for things others make fun of, is harder than just about anything you’ll ever do in life. Going against the grain of society is not for the faint-hearted.
This Memorial Day weekend, I visited my home town as well as Yellow Springs, Ohio, a town that the 60s forgot, and I wore a Brony t-shirt. I did it because I wanted to see how people would react. Some kind of stared, others I’m sure didn’t have a clue what it was and ignored it, and a couple of times I got looks of disapproval. But I didn’t care – it’s not just o.k. to be different, it’s a damned good thing. Conformity is for the dead.
I started to write this post because I was angry, angry at the asshole who posted the above pic as a dig on people, angry that in large part folks like me, geeks and nerds, are still outcasts. Hipsters stole our look, sure, but still we’re here. We’re ugly and unwanted…but we are still here. And let me tell you, standing your ground is not easy, but damn it, we’ll do it. We have for years and we will continue.
Salute, my friends, my people.