Just before the Miracle, when I was in the ICU and it looked like I was going to die and Mom was telling me it was okay to let go, and I was trying to let go but my lungs kept searching for air, Mom sobbed something into Dad’s chest that I wish I hadn’t heard, and that I hope she never finds out that I did hear. She said, ‘I won’t be a mom anymore.’ It gutted me pretty badly.
Hazel Grace Lancaster. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (pg. 116-117)
Mine’s a typical nerdfighter story that started during the hype of The Fault in Our Stars. I was one of those people who became an emotional mess after reading the book, but my version of it was like, “I had to find an outlet to channel these emotions or else I’ll go crazy.” It didn’t take long before the gears in my artist head started clicking into place. The next thing I know, I’m making illustrations inspired by the book. LOTS of it. My obsession was skyrocketing at an alarming pace. It was around this time when I found out about Vlogbrothers — thanks to a YouTube recommended video that directed me to John Green trying to sign 150k copies of TFiOS. I’ve started watching more videos after that, alternating John and Hank’s.
It was also during this time when The Harry Potter Alliance hosted a cover contest for “The Price of Dawn” where John Green will choose the winning cover. I joined at the last minute because I only found out about it days after they extended the deadline for another week. And being an extremely passionate fan artist that I am, of course I dropped whatever school project I was doing that time to come up with an entry (lol). To my surprise, HPA made an announcement that I won the contest. I live halfway across the world so I received the news right when I’m about to sleep. Just imagine me freaking out at 3am in the morning!
And then a lot of exciting things followed after that. A lyric video commission from Hank, collaborations with DFTBA Records to come up with merch for TFiOS, Paper Towns, Vlogbrothers, Rainbow Rowell, and for various YouTubers, and a logo for a daily show called “Cereal Time”. While all of these are happening, I was trying to catch up on Vlogbrothers in the background. I started binge-watching all of their videos from the very beginning, which I’m so glad I did because I got to know them even better. I was so inspired by their perspective of the world that they easily became the top 2 people I look up to. It’s also thanks to them that I was introduced into this wonderful community who taught me to become a better, kinder, and more compassionate person.
As for me, illustrating the most inspiring words of John and Hank is my own way of giving back to the community. It’s my way to spread the message of Nerdfighteria to a wider audience. This community has opened a lot of doors for me over the years and I will forever be grateful for that. I won’t be the person and artist that I am today if not for the support I received from nerdfighters, especially from John and Hank. This is the main reason why I’ve officially added the term “nerdfighter” in my artist bio — because long gone are the days when being a “nerd” is something to be ashamed of. I’ve learned to embrace the term because that’s a part of who I am and there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about liking stuff. I am, and will always be, a nerdfighter and proud!
Lots of love from your friendly neighborhood nerdfighter artist,