As you grow into adolescence you’re supposed to discover who you are. However, it is easier said than done. In the world that is middle and high school, fitting in is one of the most difficult things that you could do. In the brain of a young adult; fitting in, having lots of friends, and being liked by everyone is the most desirable thing. In order to do this, many people conform to what they think will get them noticed. They wear clothes, listen to music, and act in the way that that they think will make them fit in the most. How is a person supposed to figure out who they are when they are constantly trying to be someone else? Some people have an easier time saying no to status quo and always prefer to be themselves. For other people it is not so easy. Those people have to learn for themselves. But they don’t have to do it alone. They can have help.
I have always been different from my peers. I preferred reading to recess. I liked going to school and learning new things. I was a geek. It was hard for me to make friends. There weren’t people around me who understood what it was like to fall in love with a character; what it was like to be so involved in a story that when you read it the world disappeared around you. Once I got to seventh grade and moved to middle school, I met a bunch of new people who didn’t know what I was like before. It was a fresh start for me. I started acting how I thought the other kids would want me to. Sure I was able to make friends but they weren’t true friendships. They were built on lies. I knew that I couldn’t talk to my friends about the things I actually liked. I pretended to like things to keep my friends.
This lasted for a couple of years but once I started High School things changed. One night during my freshman year of high school I was playing around on YouTube when I discovered a channel full of geeky videos. The person running the channel was named Tessa Netting and she was a geek just like me. The difference between us was that she embraced her geekiness and made it a part of who she is. She makes videos about how amazing it is to be a geeky and it has really inspired me to be true to myself and be proud of who I am.
Through Tessa, I discovered fandom community. I had been a following different books and television shows for years, but after discovering Tessa, I started finding fan accounts online. With these fan accounts, I was able to talk to people of all different ages, races, and backgrounds from all over the world about the stories that we were passionate about. Through this I was also able to learn more about what it like was in different places all over the world. I started to realize that I was not alone and that I didn't have to hide my feelings about being a geek.
On Twitter, what we posted was only seen by friends who shared common interests, unlike on Facebook where are profiles were only seen by family and other people in our lives who didn’t just quite understand why we would rather stay home to watch the new episode of a TV show instead of going out with friends, or what it is like to love a fictional character so much that we wanted to be just like them. Online we all understand each other and how hard life can be when you don’t fit in with the other kids at school. We understand how important a singer or actor can be to a person. Our twitter accounts became a place where we could post whatever we wanted because we knew that we would be supported, no matter what we said. We shared personal details with our friends online; things that we would never be comfortable sharing in real life.
I have connected with all different types of people online, because of the inspiration I received from Tessa. I now have friends all over the world. I have friends of all different religions. I have friends who of many different sexualities. Through the power of fandom I have learned that no matter how a person identifies themselves or what their home life is like, we really aren’t that different and we are all slowly leaning how to be accepting of ourselves.