Culture is constantly shifting and changing. When I was growing up in my small home town, it was always frowned upon to be “different.” I tried to fit in as best as I could. I was an athlete, both a football and baseball player. To be fair, I was mediocre at both, but I loved playing so that was enough for me. I was also the country kid, grew up working on the farm that I never really got into like my dad and grandpa wanted. I rode four-wheelers, went fishing, and liked to stay dirty. However, I also did little things that people would laugh at, such as playing video games like Pokemon and Starcraft, collected Pokemon cards, and would spend hours reading science fiction and fantasy novel. Back in Smalltown, USA, these things were a joke. People laughed at me, except my own little group of friends, and even they didn’t quite understand me. So I did what every normal teenager would do; I shoved my little, nerdy inner self into a locker. He only saw the light of day when I was by myself, and he never came out in public, really. To be honest, it didn’t help. I was still what most would consider an outcast. I realize now, as an adult, that I was bullied on a regular basis. Every time it happened, the nerd was shoved deeper into the locker. You know how everyone asks if you would do high school over again? I wouldn’t go back if a time machine being driven by Luke Skywalker and Ash Ketchum showed up and told me I could start over.
I first started to experience my renaissance in college. Over my years there, I started to open up to my old self. I started playing a lot more video games, and made tons of friends through Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. I found my love for Kingdom Hearts, and even found those I could talk about books, Star Wars, and music with. I finally started to put my feelers back out. I found the love of my life here, and her obsession with reading and Harry Potter definitely feed my own deep dive into the Star Wars Universe (what would now be considered Legends). However, it still felt weird for me. I wasn’t really on the internet a lot, so I didn’t truly see the rising culture that was starting to build. I graduated college, and lost a year at the beach living and working for my first real year on my own. Between work, enjoying freedom, and wedding planning, my nerdiness took a back seat.
About a year later, after the birth of my son and the end of my first year at a new job, I discovered an amazing app called Twitch. I already played Call of Duty: Black Op 2 all the time, but now I found that I could watch over people play it! Not only that, but there were TOURNAMENTS. I became obsessed with competitive Call of Duty and even the idea of streaming. I embraced it, the culture, and then finally realized it was a part of myself I had been missing. Being involved in the culture of something I was truly passionate about. Most importantly, I finally stopped caring what other people thought about things I enjoyed. As you can guess, it was all down hill from there. I discovered a love for all things Marvel, plunging myself in comics, shows, and more. I found my ultimate love for the Guardians of the Galaxy. I signed up for my first Lootcrate, and in it got my first ever Funko Pop (and that is an entirely different article in itself). I even found websites and podcasts to be able to participate in the space.
Then I met my best friend, whom you all know as “The Guildmaster.” I started playing board games that weren’t Monopoly and Clue. I found a show called Critical Role, and even made a Dungeons and Dragons character. I had no idea where I was going, other than deeper into the rabbit hole.
Fast forward to the present, and I sit in my office working on this article on a website I never imagined I would be part of, talking about something a younger me would have never seen coming. I have embraced who I truly am, the “real me,” we could say. I have built a lightsaber and a 1700 piece Lego Yoda. I have almost one hundred Funko Pop figures. I watch anime and read comic books. I paint miniatures, and I am about to wrap up my second 3 year Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I enjoy watching college football and Star Wars YouTube videos equally. I have written about Call of Duty players and games on multiple websites. I finally found who I am, through the support of my wife, my friends, and knowing their are hundreds of thousands of other people just like me.
To wrap this up, I would say the moral of the story is this: It is okay to not understand where you belong. It may take a long time to find your true passions. Surround yourself with people that support you, not those whom degrade you for your interests. It may take a long time, but eventually everyone will find their nerdiness. Sports Nerds, Computer Nerds, Comic Books, Movies. We are all nerds somehow. That is one thing I hope to bring to you throughout the year through Guildmaster Media. My own brand of nerd in conjunction with The Guildmaster, and all the rest of us here.
Have your own story? I would love to hear it! You can find me here, and email me at [email protected]!