My journey to nerddom started when I first opened up a Sega Genesis in December of 1995. Or maybe ’98, I’m not too clear on that.
But, I do remember playing for hours with my siblings watching the cut scenes and frantically cheering me on with each mission. One game, in particular, had my Father set all three of us down for a talk about reality versus pixelated violence.
“You can’t hit ‘restart’ after snatching someone’s spin out. Respect each other and don’t hit anyone like you do in this game.”, he said.
Then he handed me a copy of Mortal Kombat.
After that, my brother and I continued our gaming days well into the present. I’ve had a Dreamcast, two Gameboy, a Gameboy DS, a vita (still), PS3 and now a PS4. My brother has since jumped on the Xbox train and is slowly moving towards PC gaming. At one point, a couple of rounds of Halo gaming online sparked my curiously enough to search for professionals gaming tournaments. I didn’t know it at the time, but after showing my brother a few eSports shows, he would go on to become a Pro Gamer himself for a good chunk of our High School years.
My younger sister played for a while but moved on to other things. But, we still share a different strain of geeky things.
I continued to seek out other hobbies that still dot my living room and bedroom walls to this day. Comics, books, games, costumes, props, fabrics, and more; The mark of a crafter or a hoarder on the edge of starting a garage sale…again.
I’m used to being on the cusp of change as an ’89 birther. Not quite an 80s baby, but just starting the new year trend.
Change is inevitable in every generation, but some things stay the same.
Now and days, I look back at my community of geeks, nerds, and misfits with a sort of admiration for how far we’ve all come. I can finally say, “Back in my day” without a hint of bittersweetness, but a fond reminder of what it used to be like.
This new word for someone like me, at first, strummed a rough cord in my heart.
Blerd – n./ The combination of black and nerd. A person that is of color and a nerd of a specific or multiple fandoms.
I wasn’t turned off by it, because it said, ” I’m black and I’m a nerd”.
I was worried by the message it was sending. Maybe that line of thinking had something to with my parents. I recall hearing some variation of this, every now and then from them, ” You’re a unique child with unique interest, but be careful of what message you may be giving others.”
Be unique, but not like that.
I’m older now, the world has changed again since those days.
I haven’t stopped being myself, but I have learned to be wary of when to let that co-worker know that I, too, read manga online. Or that I dress up any time of the month besides October because I can and its fun for me.
I still dress louder than I speak and it’s okay to not care what others think. I still have my work clothes for the office. I even made sure to shine and store my “normal” shoes just so.
If change is a constant thing while you go through the stages of life, then I, too, am in constant flux.
So, why not start with a word that reflects that.
A word that is just as sweet to be and powerful enough to invoke others to blaze a trail of fandom with all the feeling of unity, beyond the skin.
Now, I hear it daily even from those of the other color spectrum joining in on the fun.
I’m looking forward to what the next year holds for me and those following in the footsteps of other beginners in the nerdy, geeky community.
So, I am now and forever, a Blerd.