You asked what makes me (or, technically, probably Darcy, but I’m the one answering your letter) want to be a Nerdfighter. The straightforward, literal, boring answer to the question of Why I’m Following John Green on Twitter is actually that I’m a teen librarian and John Green’s a sort of god in the industry and I feel I’m required to keep up with what he’s up to. But I don’t think you meant the question so literally, and I don’t want to TAKE it so literally, either. Why I really want to be a Nerdfighter, from a philosophical standpoint, is such a huge question that I started longing to start writing this letter as soon as I saw it. THIS is my meaning in life, the one thing I most want to say to people, the Truth I need to proselytize!
Actually, if you’re curious, I wrote a whole hypothetical speech on the topic, which you can read at my livejournal. But I’ll sum it up here, too: People are Awesome, but all too often the MOST Awesome people don’t get any love for it. And they OUGHT to!
I’ve always BEEN a huge Nerd; and yes, I was bullied as a child, so I learned too well to be invisible. THAT wasn’t what convinced me to be a Nerdfighter (in principle— “Nerdfighter” as a word didn’t exist back then). THAT just made me hide in the corner feeling sorry for myself. I still, cowardly, didn’t want to associate myself with anyone ELSE my peers had labeled Undesirable, either.
That all changed when I met my best friend in high school. I’d seen her around and knew she was unpopular, but the first time I really talked to her I fell IN LOVE— well, as madly in love as it’s possible to be for someone who’s not-actually-physically-attracted-to-girls-at-all. She was utterly AMAZING. And yet SOMEHOW the bullies had all decided she needed to be regularly tormented. Even otherwise decent kids still thought it was okay to shun her. She was a pariah. And I was aghast. How could they be so blinded by their prejudices that they couldn’t see what an incredible person was right here for them to get to know?
That was what opened my eyes. I started looking harder at people. Everyone had a unique story, hidden quirks, secret dreams— and most of the time, no one else even noticed. We’d just brush each other off, filing everyone away under our shallow first impressions, forgetting the rest of the person— the unique, special person we couldn’t see at first— and maybe never will. But they’re THERE. Underneath.
We need to treat each other with respect, conscious that we DON’T KNOW everyone’s full story, full AWESOMENESS; but acting as if that awesome is there anyway. Maybe the Inner Awesome is only potential right now. But reach for it anyway. Acknowledge that potential in others. Encourage them to BLOOM, instead of pruning them into what we expect of them or trampling them down. Let everyone be Awesome.
So that’s my life’s work, now: reminding people of the Inner Awesome in everyone. I want others to realize it’s okay to celebrate, to REJOICE in our differences; that it’s okay to LOVE each other in spite of, BECAUSE of our differences.
So, DFTBA… and don’t forget to celebrate the Awesome in other people, too.