It's no secret that I play Dungeons & Dragons. I don't try to hide it.
Some people give me the skeptical eye, the you must be kidding look. When I told my sister we'd be playing D&D at my dad's house this past weekend, she looked at me point blank: "Doesn't that have something to do with Satan?" No dear sister. It doesn't. She resigns to calling me a nerd.
I was never the sort of person to hide what I was passionate about. Throughout high school, people thought I was a little strange. I was. I didn't fit the social norm. I liked art, text-based RPGs, test-taking, children's books, and video games. I didn't care for football. I didn't want to go to prom. I was that kid, the one that sat out at the "fun" parties and played fifteenth level Tetris on my phone.
When I went to college, it was liberating. I wasn't held to any sort of standard. I could wear my jacket with the Triforce emblazoned on the back and get compliments. I could wear my short shorts and tube socks and get whistles from the nerdy bunch. I think that's what attracted my husband in the first place: tube socks. Don't knock 'em. I spent my freshman year playing through Ocarina of Time and learning Japanese. I made friends. I started playing Magic: The Gathering. I joined computer club (though, here I'll admit, that was because my would-be husband was the president, and he has a rocking beard).
My family supported me in a she'll-change-her-mind-and-turn-into-a-normal-person-someday attitude. That was okay. I believed in myself. I trusted myself. I knew that if I wanted to achieve my dreams, I would have to face that sort of external doubt. I would have to make it on my own. I embraced it. I went to college for a creative writing degree and not one professor told me that I would make it as a writer. They all said that fantasy fiction wasn't a legitimate pursuit. They read my work and nodded their heads in the same way my parents did. They all believed that I would see the unquestionable truth, that literary fiction was the only sort of writing worth a damn. But I didn't listen. I believed that what I was writing was good (it wasn't), and that I would be a best-selling novelist by age twenty-five (still working on that).
But through all that, by embracing my inner nerd, by being myself, I have a life that I'm proud of. My husband supports my writing more willingly than I could have ever hoped for. I spend my day sitting in front of a computer, churning out stories. What could be more awesome that living out your dream? All because I believed in myself and didn't bow down to doubting nose-snubbers.
Everyone should believe in themselves. You should believe that someday, you will achieve your dreams. You should trust yourself and be confident with who you are. I'm not ashamed to say I run a Dungeons & Dragons campaign every Thursday night. I'm not ashamed to admit that I read license plates and think of sayings to fit the letters (NFR: National Federation of Robots; ODG: Odin Done Goofed; SMEF: Someone Made Edna Fart... mature, I know). I'm not ashamed to say that I have several Buddha statues scattered around my house, that I study archaic languages, that my worst nightmares involve dinosaurs and tornadoes, sometimes at the same time. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a writer, nor that I aim to self-publish.
When you're true to yourself, there's nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes, I need reminding of that fact. I have to remember that nothing matters more than my own happiness, and that I should pursue it with a fervor. I'm happiest when I'm myself, when I hold nothing back. So, I'll share what I am passionate about, both here on the blog and within my fiction. Because, I think that if I'm happy being myself, and I love who I am, then so will everyone else.
What sort of things make you happy? What are you passionate about? What are your funky quirks?
Have a spectacular day, ladies and gents.