Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How the Green Brothers, the Mountain Goats, and Nerdfighteria Changed My Life

I was introduced to John Green through a video in late 2013.  The video in question was him discussing the American healthcare system and why it’s incredibly...well, screwed up.  This video, on a topic I find in no way interesting, kept me chuckling.  I realized maybe this guy was worth looking into.

And then I realized how late to the game I was.

John Green and his brother Hank Green had started making videos years ago, and had amassed a cult (a really cool one) following.  I started at the beginning and watched through all the videos from their Brotherhood 2.0 project.  I started watching Hank play video games with his wife and friends (Mario is the best).  I watched their side projects (Lizzie Bennet Diaries).  I read John’s books (OMG FEELS).  I listened to Hank’s music (Accio Deathly Hallows, incendio book sales embargoes).  Which I then memorized (A quark is a fundamental constituent of matter).

I was a woman hooked.

When one of them recommended something, I would look into it.  Which is how I got addicted to the Mountain Goats.  I bought their album The Sunset Tree because it featured the only Mountain Goats song I knew at the moment, which was “This Year.”  Little did I know at the time, that the song I had come to enjoy would end up being my anthem through one of the most difficult transitions in my life.

So all this is going on in the fall of 2013.  I was working two jobs, spending time with my friends and S.O. at the time, and basically just trying to make life count.  And I thought I was doing a pretty good job at that.  Disaster struck when my living situation turned sour.  I’ve written a whole post about that here so I won’t delve into it, but I’ll just say that my world was rocked and not in a good way.

Things became unbearable for me.  I did my best to shrug things off, but it got worse and worse, and harder and harder for me to be positive.  Then my relationship ended as well, so around the 1st of the year of 2014, I was in a really dark place.  I stopped coping with my problems and tried to drink them away instead.  Side note, that doesn’t work.  So while I was working on not using alcohol as a coping mechanism, “This Year” became my anthem.   I made it my alarm so I woke up to it every morning.  I listened to it whenever I felt overwhelming stress.  I didn’t completely stop abusing alcohol, which I wouldn’t end up doing until I moved away, but that song...that one song made things better.  “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.”  I would repeat that line to myself so many times that I lost count.
And once I admitted to myself that I was a nerdfighter, I joined a few communities.  The beautiful thing about being a nerdfighter is that anyone can be one and true nerdfighters won’t judge you for being different.  We all just want to make the world suck less, and that means accepting people for who they are.  So in all my struggling, I found a community willing to accept me for who I was, completely and without hesitation.  And that’s a warm feeling to have in a dark and lonely place.

I was going to do whatever it took to survive, and I did.  I moved home out of that toxic environment.  I found new nerdfighter friends in Michigan.  I came back to my old job and started volunteering at a new place.  And I’m pleased to say that apart from a couple things, life is really great right now.  John and Hank Green, the Mountain Goats, and nerdfighteria became my foundation in that time of turmoil.  They all saved me from a dark place and I’ll never be the same without them.  DFTBA!

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