(Jonathan Ryan posting for Jen Schlameuss-Perry.)
When I was a kid (and it still happens now), whenever someone called me a nerd, or weird-o, or any of the other charming titles I was given, I didn’t get offended because, in my head, they were recognizing that I liked what I liked and wasn’t put off admitting it just because it wasn’t popular. I was proud of the fact that nobody else dictated who I was going to be and I chose to be authentically, unapologetically me. They didn’t necessarily appreciate that quality in me, but I did.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with editors from another Christian nerd blog that I’m guest writing for, and one of them said something about being a nerd and our identity as nerds, and I hesitated to accept the title. I didn’t feel worthy of the title because I’m not really an expert in anything of the nerd genre. I love Star Trek, but I don’t speak Klingon. I love The Lord of the Rings, but I’ll never learn Elvish. I love superheroes, but I’ll never do Cosplay…I wondered if I qualified…
Last week, when leaving my office to go home, a parishioner saw that I had a Pokemon lunchbox and commented, “Aren’t you a bit mature for such a thing?” Initially, I had no idea what he was talking about. I had just had a conversation with one of the other gentlemen of the parish about the Lanterns—he was schooling me on the Blue Lanterns, of which I knew little (he was wearing a Blue Lantern Flash shirt!) AND I was wearing a dress with Converse sneakers—so he could have been referring to anything. But, it was the lunchbox. I wasn’t using it because I love Pokemon (its okay—not my favorite), but because it was the only one I could find around the house. But, I never gave it a second thought while I was throwing my lunch into it.
Whether it’s science, science fiction, cartoons, superheroes, fantasy or whatever—I never plan of becoming too mature for the things that I genuinely like. I will never outgrow the things that stimulate my imagination, make me ponder human nature, our moral code, my sense of wonder—all things that draw me into a deeper conversation with my belief in something larger and greater than myself. I also believe that being sincere about who we truly are brings us closer to God, who made each of us different and loves diversity and uses our unique perspectives to see Him more clearly and to help others see Him. I remain unapologetic. And I’m not changing for anyone’s approval. God continues to shape and mold me into a creation more resembling His image and likeness; and I think a good deal of that happens through the nerdy things that I love.
Jen Schlameuss-Perry is a massive fan of sci-fi, cartoons and superheroes and loves to write about them in light of her Catholic tradition. She currently works for a Catholic Church and practices martial arts, cares for her family and pets and writes in her spare time. Check out some of Jen’s other stuff on her Facebook page or her website.