At the ripe young age of 22, I finally got my first solo apartment. I lived on campus all four years of my undergrad, so upon getting accepted to an out-of-state MA program, I knew I wanted to try out living off-campus, on my own. A lot of my friends were like, “Really? You’re going to live by yourself, in the middle of nowhere?” Yep, that’s exactly what I was going to do. After living with at least 40 other women in the same hallway and over 700 residents in the same building for four years, I think I could handle living in a tiny studio by myself. One of the main reasons, though?
I could finally be completely and truly me.
Though that decision took a bit of thinking and reflection to reach. I have changed and learned a lot while in college, particularly about myself. One thing I have learned is that I’m a pretty nerdy kid. Okay, even that is an understatement: I am a huge nerd. But only in particular things. Just because I claim to be nerd doesn’t mean I can tell you how excited I am for the latest Star Wars installment (because I don’t like Star Wars ((I know, gasp gasp))) or can give you Harley Quinn’s back story from memory (sorry, not into comics…yet), like nerds “should” be able to do. What are some of the nerdy things I enjoy? I am so glad you asked (as you groan inwardly…or outwardly, no judgement).
Some of the things that I am nerdy about include: books. I love books, I love reading, I love fantasy, I love owning books, I love walking into a bookstore and smelling books. My Christmas list usually is made up of a list of author’s names and the books I either haven’t read by them yet or the books I have read, but don’t own yet. Last Christmas was one of my favorite Christmas’s ever, because basically it consisted of: my traditional dragon figurine and LOTR collectable (I always get one of each for Christmas and it is amazing), PS3 games and books (included ALL of Rob Thurman’s works; BOOM). I was so enthusiastically happy (even though, unfortunately for my parents, I don’t show it very well).
Which brings me to another nerdy obsession: dragons. I love them. They are my favorite animal, besides wolves. I think they are so majestic and powerful. I love reading about them and learning about them, plus collecting figurines. I have a good half a dozen and they are ah-maze-zing. Then, LOTR. Tolkien, in general, tbh. He is my greatest obsession. I love him so much, I read (and buy) books written about him. My undergraduate thesis was about him and his works. My MA thesis? Guess what, same topic. My collection is borderline scary. I can also quote the LOTR films verbatim, have read LOTR more than once (of course) and most of my apartment is decked out in LOTR-related awesomeness. Plus, I plan to learn Tenqwar (woot!).
That’s not it, either. I love movies, of course, but I am also a big gamer. RPG games FTW. My favorites include: Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Age, Skyrim, any LOTR-related game, Baldur’s Gate, etc. And because I’m a creative writer and hardcore reader, when I play these types of games (particularly Skyrim and the Dragon Age franchise), I get so into them that I based my decisions upon what I would do in real life (for example, in Skyrim, I refuse to pickpocket or join the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood because I think it is amorale; don’t worry, my brother gives me plenty of crap about it). Or, another example, again from Skyrim, I consider my first housecarl Lydia such a good “friend,” that any time she dies, I go back and load the last save, no matter how much progress I lose. Because that’s what good friends do. But I don’t only play games, I also write about them, mainly fanfiction. And, I recently applied to write for an online gaming magazine to write opinion pieces (and watch out if they actually hire me, because I have some opinions, gaming studios!)
So, what’s the point of this nerdy post (besides getting the chance to brag about some of my favorite things, which just makes me happy). When I moved into my apartment, it had a small amount of space for me to utilize, but it was the first space since I was in high school that I could completely make as my own. When I was contemplating how I wanted to decorate it, I was slightly torn: should I make it look really nice and classy, since I’d be bringing the new friends I’d hopefully make, or maybe even colleagues or students, back there, and it should look nice? Or, should I go all out and completely nerd out, showing off all the obsessions that, on the surface, some might not realize I am so passionate about?
I went with the latter, much to my pleasure.
Moving out onto my own, to a place where I can completely reinvent myself, if I wanted to (considering I literally know no one), I am happy to report that I decided to completely embrace the person that I already am: the mega nerd that I didn’t always let fully express herself. When people meet me here, I want them to know my passions and how nerdy I truly am. Because I am proud of that fact. And I started that expression with decorating the apartment, which is complete with: two massive, five-shelf bookshelves that home almost all my books; a PS3 and all my favorite games; my entire LOTR collection, which is the main display and is great; all of my dragons and fairies serve as my decor; and in my kitchen, I didn’t care that all of my plates and bowls are decorated with skeletons or Halloween-themed awesomeness. And as I slowly start shopping (once I get money) I’m not going to look for “normal” things. Or things “adults” would normally buy. I’ll look for things that I would truly love, even if other people would think it was weird. For example, I have ordered a LOTR minimalist posters. Discovered I needed coasters? What about Skyrim shields? Need a new tank top? They have an awesome Dragon Age Quanri tank to wear to the gym. New perfume? I found a website that sells perfume based on your RPG class (I literally nerded out hardcore). Need a second job? Library, Hastings and a gaming magazine were all on the list to apply for.
Basically, I am so happy I had this chance to move out on my own, because it opened my eyes to a choice: the choice to change myself to fit societal standards/expectations or to truly embrace the woman I have grown into (even if it fits the profile of a teenage boy more than a MA-bound college female) and actually love. If I want to spend my day off in Thedas via the PS3, I should do it. If I want to decorate my home with things that most people won’t get unless they are part of the fandom, BOOM, done. If I want to listen to Tobuscus Literal Trailers on repeat for an hour (or longer) while I wrote a blog post (like this one, for example) and not be ashamed that I know most of them verbatim, then I will embrace that. To my close friends, being a mega nerd is no surprise. But to outside friend groups or most of the world, that may not be that obvious. But it is a huge part of my identity, just as important in defining me as, say, my straight-edge lifestyle, my screamo music taste or my love for Christ. But sometimes, I’m not very good at showing any of these things, including my nerdiness.
Well world, I’m not afraid or ashamed to show off this very real part of me. So get ready to be bombarded. As my apartment is nicknamed proudly, Welcome to my Nerdtopia. I hope it doesn’t scare you (too much). 😉