Let’s Kill “Cringe”

I’ve always been kind of “nerdy,” whether it was video games, anime/manga, conventions, fantasy books of all kinds, fanfiction (ask me about my hand-drawn self-insert manga fanfic I started writing as a teen), fantasy role-playing in online forums, sci-fi shows and movies like Firefly and Star Wars, or even 1970s animated Lord of the Rings movies. I was into it all.

I still am, though my nerdiness has branched out into history, historical fashion, folklore, and storytelling. I don’t watch as much anime as I used to and I’ve realized I enjoy slower-paced video games and playing video games online in crazy fighting scenarios stresses me out. But, I digress. Basically, I’m passionate about what would be considered nerdy things.

Luckily, I never really felt like I had to hide that side of my personality.

My friends growing up were all kind of into the same things, so we never pressured each other to hide our nerdy natures. And in high school, my brand of “not like other girls” was the gamer/emo/nerd girl.

From my perspective, what was “cringe” wasn’t necessarily the same as the general “not nerdy” population. But, I definitely thought that being into Jersey Shore and pop music and Hollister was “cringe.”

That is until I grew up and realized everyone has their stuff. And I found I didn’t need to secretly act superior about what I liked or didn’t like. We are all passionate about different things and being “cringe” is a big lie.

And that’s why it needs to die. (oh wow that rhymed, beautiful)

According to Urban Dictionary, the definition of cringe is:

When someone acts/ or is so embarrassing or awkward , it makes you feel extemely ashamed and/or embarrassed.

This term is often used to describe people who are unabashedly into anything, nerdy or not. If you like something without inhibitions, you are “cringe.” But, I’m here to say that cringe culture needs to be put to death.

Let me ask one thing:

Why do you care so much about what someone else is interested in?

Imagine how much time and energy we could save if we just focused on our own lives. When we hide behind screens and act as if the joy of others affects us in any way, we waste so much of our lives. Imagine how much happier we could be.

Basically, cringe culture is just high school-style bullying for adults.

Aren’t we tired of trying to fit in? Aren’t we tired of all having to be the same? Aren’t we tired of having to pretend we don’t actually care?

Let’s just accept that everyone is a weirdo and we should let our freak flags wave as high as we want them.

Cringe culture is also kind of ableist because neurodivergent people often get ostracized from social groups for expressing their excitement and passions in ways that don’t necessarily conform to neurotypical ideals.

Even in my experience, as someone who is neurotypical, I found I could be myself in online spaces more than I could be in social settings in my real life. So, that’s where I went. But now, even those spaces seem invaded by people who want to police how we express ourselves.

Cringe culture even dictates how authors can or can’t market their books.

How ridiculous is that?

Honestly, joy and passion are so much better than apathy and sameness!

Not much spreads and expands faster than joy. When we share our joy with others, it brings joy to them and encourages them in turn to share their joy. Unless your joy is something murder-y or problematic, there is nothing wrong with sharing your joy.

We need more joy in this world. So let’s do away with cringe culture and embrace our personal brands of nerdiness!

I’m going to go paint some D&D miniatures… you do you.

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