There are a lot of amazing things that have come from the internet (and some not so great things, but I try not to dwell on those…), but I think my favorite has to be that for the first time that I can remember, no matter what your passion, you can find your people. It used to be that when you found something that really spoke to you, that you basically felt was the coolest thing you had ever seen and totally changed your world view, you had to ask around to your group of friends with that super chill tone of “oh hey, did you know about this thing?” and then hope they said yes and totally geeked out with you. Now all you have to do is turn on your computer and you can find people having in-depth conversations about certain wording or camera angles or whatever; it’s kinda awesome.
My whole life, my passion has been musical theater. Growing up, I knew every word to every song from every OBC (Original Broadway Cast, obvi), I talked about the performers like we were personal friends (or enemies…you know who you are!), and I could debate lyrics, references and symbolism til I was blue in the face. Unfortunately, what I did not have was an audience. Oh people were kind, but about 5 minutes into my 25 minute lecture on the influence of Assassins on the way we create musicals based on real-life events, I could see their eyes dull and their minds wander. It wasn’t until college, when I found myself surrounded by other MT nerds, that I finally felt like I was speaking a language others understood.
Alas, college ended and once again I was thrown to the wilds of “normal” society. But this time, a shift had happened and people were proudly declaring their nerdom rather than hiding it away to seem “cool.” And I honestly attribute that change in attitudes to the internet. All the sudden, you could communicate with people all over the world, and you could start the conversation based on a shared passion. And once you have a community, and a knowledge that your hard-core geek-out fandom is shared by others, it just seems silly to hide away a part of you that so influences the way you interact with the world and define yourself. So to 16 year old Jeanne, I say wait for it (wait for it, wait for it), because some day not only will you have a group of people that can sing along to those OBCs (and rap Hamilton) right alongside you, but the world will become so open to the idea of owning your passions and declaring them to the world that you’ll see a Musical Theater performance on the Grammys. And that is pretty damn geeky.