Working in retail is not fun and people can be incredibly rude especially coming up to Christmas! After a problematic morning I was on my lunch break with a nice cup of white tea in my Hannah Hart mug, this reminded me that I need to stay positive and that Christmas is a time for celebration. Be happy because life’s too short!!
There will probably never be an online community that means more to me than nerdfighteria, like, ever. Whatever this scavenger hunt is leading to, I’m more than glad to have been a part of this wacky journey
Nerdfighteria has been a pretty significant part of my life. My dad became critically ill in 2006, a couple weeks before I turned thirteen. Life wasn’t normal after that. It completely flipped upside down, actually. Having already been very active in the Harry Potter fandom, I fell more deeply into the books and the community. That was something that didn’t change when everything else did, you know? I still had that, and that was so important to me. Sometime in 2007, I found some of my favorite wizard rockers on YouTube, and they kept mentioning John Green books and occasionally using the phrase “nerdfighters.” Eventually, I decided to Google the term, and that brought me to the vlogbrothers YouTube channel.
I discovered Nerdfighteria exactly when I needed it. It was lighthearted and fun, and at the same time full of so much heart and a desire to make the world more awesome. There were so many things that really impacted me, but these are the two I remember most clearly and that were the most important:
In the video, “Harry Potter Nerds Win at Life,” John describes the kind of excitement I never stopped feeling about Harry Potter. Not just because I love the story and the characters, but because of what those books meant to me in the scope of my entire life. I cannot even tell you how often my love for Harry Potter was either made fun of or looked down on for being juvenile. But here was this intelligent adult human completely understanding that overwhelming passion and not being embarrassed about it. This is the video in which John said, “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… . Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it! Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re 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.’” Being able to feel like my love of Harry Potter and my involvement in the fandom was not only not stupid, but actually quite cool is a big part of what made high school survivable. Harry Potter was one of the very few things that made me genuinely happy and got me excited, and this video made me feel like that was okay.
Looking for Alaska was also a really big deal to me. I loved the whole book, but I actually wrote a college admissions essay about the labyrinth of suffering. I found it really valuable to imagine everything I was dealing with as a labyrinth of suffering, and to think about how everyone gets caught up in their own labyrinth, spending their lives trying to find a way out. This in particular stuck with me: “After all this time, it seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out—but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it.”
My essay must have been pretty decent, because I got into my top choice college, and I absolutely loved my time there. I joined our chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, I started a Quidditch team, I made awesome friends who are all nerdfighters and value the same things I value… I was so sad when I had to graduate and enter the “real world.” I wasn’t done making cool things with cool people. I wanted to keep celebrating nerdiness and fighting world suck, and of course I could still do that as an adult, but it wouldn’t be the same. I felt like I was losing a huge part of me.
I got a job I was very thankful to have (nice co-workers, great benefits, etc.), but my commute was horrendous and I had no passion for what I was doing. “Dear Hank & John” was a big help to me during this time, making commutes more bearable and frequently giving exactly the advice I needed at the moment. New episodes were always a bright spot of my week.
When Hank tweeted that they were looking for a head of community and communications, two of my friends messaged me about it (shoutout to Jackie and Kylee), and I couldn’t believe I was actually qualified for a position they were hiring. I decided to go for it. I knew it was a long shot and I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but I figured I had to at least try. A little over a month later, I tried to process the fact that I was just offered a job working with the community that means so much to me. Within three weeks, I wrapped things up at my old job and moved across the country.
I’m so grateful. Not just to John and Hank, but to the entire nerdfighter community. I’m so grateful to be here in Montana, working with all of you to keep Nerdfighteria awesome. I love being a part of a community that isn’t ashamed to like stuff, and that shares some really important values: compassion, kindness, learning, and imagining others complexly. It’s a really inspiring place to be.
It was the summer of 2007. Brotherhood 2.0 was half over already but I hadn’t heard of a Hank or a John yet. A video was featured on the front page of YouTube where some really nerdy-lookin’ guy was singing about Harry Potter. I wasn’t a huge Harry Potter fan. I have no idea why I clicked on the video, but I did. And I’m so so glad I did…
I watched the featured “Accio Deathly Hallows” video. Then watched it again. Then clicked through to the vlogbrothers channel. Subscribed. Watched a few dozen more videos, I was hooked. A week later I emailed Hank and asked if he wanted to collaborate on a video for my channel. He said “maybe” and asked to see the script first. I sent it. He replied something along the lines of “this is perfect, this actually sounds like something I’d say”. So he sent me a collab clip.
That one collab video turned into a dozen collab videos over the next few months. And then we started chatting on AIM regularly. And then he asked me to design the first Project for Awesome thumbnail that all of Nerdfighteria used to take over YouTube for charity. That was such an exciting 48 hours! I took off of work so I could stay home commenting and watching videos with everyone.
I eventually started chatting with John too, he and I made a couple joke websites together. He created a fake woman for one of his projects (Paige Railstone), and asked me to be her boyfriend on Facebook to add some legitimacy to her profile.
Later Hank and I co-founded DFTBA Records together. We started selling Hank’s CDs, and my CDs, and CDs and shirts and posters for our YouTube friends.
This was all before I met either of them IRL.
Hank taught me about LLCs and loving corndogs. I co-wrote Hank’s song “Nerdfighteria Island” with my friends Tom and Monica. John wrote the forward to my first published book. I designed an early draft of John’s Paper Towns book cover that he presented to his publishers.
Hank and I finally met six years later, we both - unknowingly - wore the same CGP Grey shirt that night. John and I finally met a year after that, we ordered in pizza, which seemed appropriate after selling so many Pizza John shirts together.
Nerdfighteria is a wonderful second home. So supportive, creative, caring, and way bigger than the sum of its thousands of parts. I cherish so many of the friends and people I’ve met simply because we both happened to be nerdfighters. And am very grateful for every project, big or small, I got to work on because of Nerdfighteria. <3
I made a thing of my two favorite brothers. (This is Hank and John Green, you probably know of something they’ve done like Vlogbrothers, John’s books, Hank’s music, Crash Course, Sci Show, VidCon, Dear Hank and John: A Comedy Podcast About Death or countless other things.)
Please do not use my art for anything without my consent.
All of the things I listed above are amazing and if any of you want to check them out hit me up and I’ll get you some links. DFTBA!
(If anyone is interested I might make this into a phone lockscreen or like desktop thing, so yeah)