The Power of Unironic Enthusiasm

In my last post, I know I promised to keep you, my amazing readers, up to date on my summer adventures. This is certainly a promise I intend to keep, but those adventures might not be quite what you expect. College students are supposed to find jobs, internships, and be amazingly productive during their summers; that post-graduation résumé isn’t going to build itself, after all, right? If this is indeed the case, then I must confess that I have been a terrible student these first two weeks of summer. Although I have managed to locate a job at my church’s nursery and am talking to a local school system about a short internship, I’m not nearly as excited or invested in these things as I think I should be.

The most important thing I’ve done so far this summer? Get into the Captain America: The Winter Soldier fandom.

Yes, you read that correctly. I am completely obsessed with this movie. I’ve seen it twice in theaters, watched and re-watched every clip of it I can find on the internet, bought and listened to the soundtrack on iTunes multiple times, signed up on Amazon to be notified via email the minute the DVD becomes available for pre-order. I’ve read fanfiction of it, written fanfiction of it, am currently planning a Winter Soldier cosplay, and have already bought quite a bit of its merchandise. I have fallen in love with every aspect of this story (especially its characters), and it’s the absolute BEST feeling in the world!

I honestly can’t think of a more satisfying state of mind than this uncontrollable excitement. Throughout my entire life, I’ve always been happiest when I’ve flung myself into something I love wholeheartedly, when I am literally unable to get it off of my mind because I’m just so pumped about it for whatever reason. Whether it was never missing an episode of Teen Titans and pretending to be Starfire in grade school, my love affair with The Twilight Saga in 8th and 9th grade, reading all of the Harry Potter books in the span of two weeks in anticipation of the final movie, or flinging myself into Marvel headfirst after seeing The Avengers in theaters for the first time, I always remember these experiences incredibly clearly: they were when I felt the most alive. I’m definitely not the only one who shares this sentiment, as evidenced by YA author and YouTube sensation John Green:

“Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff! We don’t have to be like ‘oh yeah, that purse is okay‘ or like ‘yeah, I liked that band’s early stuff.’ Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself LOVE it! When people call people ‘nerds’, mostly what they are saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all, like: ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness.'”

I think this perfectly portrays what being a “nerd” is: loving things and getting excited about them with every fiber of your being! Showing enthusiasm (what I like to call “nerding out”) for things that you love isn’t something to be avoided because it might seem “weird” – excitement is infectious! I often find myself feeling happier and uplifted when listening to someone talk about something they’re genuinely enthusiastic about, rather than trying to underplay it: whether it’s a professor who teaches their subject matter like it’s the most marvelous thing in the world or a friend having a mild freak-out over the latest episode of her favorite TV show, most of the time I end up getting excited myself, even if it’s not something I’m into, because I enjoy seeing how happy it makes them. And this goes for anything: whether someone “nerds out” over chemistry, Disney, 19th Century French poetry, teen paranormal romance novels, existentialist philosophy or anything in-between; unbridled love for something not only makes the person happy, but everyone around them who notices, and that’s absolutely beautiful.

It doesn’t stop at simply happiness, however – this kind of jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself enthusiasm has actually helped me be more productive and effective. In my American Literature class this past semester, I remember literally doing a “fangirl wiggle” at my desk because I was so excited about the prospect of writing a paper about the symbolism of the trickster archetype in American mythology. Guess who got an A on that paper? I’ve written small novel-length fanfictions about video games that I simply couldn’t put down. My love for The Hunger Games trilogy urged me to fling myself into researching what I could do to get involved in social justice causes that dealt with economic inequality. These kind of things are capable of happening on a larger scale as well; The Harry Potter Alliance is an activist organization created by people who loved Harry Potter enough to battle inequality with the book series as its figurehead, and The Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck is a charitable organization built by a community called Nerdfighteria, whose “nerdfighters” (of which I am one!) built the community on a basis of embracing things they love and getting excited about learning new things.

In the end, being uncontrollably enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness is what makes the world such an awesome place. It may seem farfetched to say that having a Captain America addiction like my own adds happiness to the world…but every little bit helps!

As you can probably tell, I blog about these types of subjects quite frequently – I’d love it if you want to follow my blog to see more, and of course I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!

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