Galentine’s Day Goals

Leslie Ann 617

Today we celebrate my favorite fictional-turned-real holiday: Galentine’s Day. Not only is today a day to eat waffles and drink mimosas, it is a day to celebrate the women in our lives. It is a day to celebrate female friendship, female mentorship, and female support systems.

Ladies celebrating ladies—what a novel, beautiful concept.

This year, it feels even more important to celebrate the power of women and the positive impact they have on our lives. As such, I’m reopening submissions for The Fan Mail Project for another month—with a deadline of March 13, 2017, at 9 p.m. EST. You can read all about the project and how you can contribute to it here, but the general gist of it is this: Write a letter to a female character who has inspired you in some way. Thank her for being a positive influence in your life or maybe in the life of someone you know and love. Share your story by sharing what she means to you.

That’s what The Fan Mail Project is all about—sharing our stories of courage, vulnerability, growth, struggle, and strength by sharing the stories of the female characters that helped us see our own beauty, power, and potential. And at a time in which so many people are actively trying to silence women and keep us from telling our stories and the stories of other women, it’s our job to persist in our stubborn belief that our stories matter.

We matter.

Throughout the process of compiling the letters that have already come in for The Fan Mail Project, I have been moved to tears more times than I can count by the beauty and bravery of every single person who has used their voice to take ownership of their story through their love for the stories of female characters from every corner of the media landscape. You are all my Galentines this year, inspiring me with your authenticity, your honesty, your openness, and your stubborn refusal to be anything but your most authentic self.

So this is your chance to join in the movement that has helped me—and I hope others—grow in incredible ways. If you wanted to write a letter but never found the time or the inspiration, this is your chance. If you wrote one (or more) but always wanted to write another, this is your chance. And if you already wrote a letter but want to add to it or change it to reflect the continuing relationships we all have with the fictional women who have imprinted on our hearts, this is your chance to do that, too. I know I have two letters I’d like to update myself and at least one more I’d like to write. For a while, I let the state of the world and the state of my own busy, stressful life keep me from the joy and hope that this project has given me for the last year and a half. My Galentine’s Day goal this year is to return to this project with bright eyes, a hopeful heart, and a renewed sense of purpose.

The world needs these letters and the stories they tell. The world needs our stories. But even more importantly, we need these stories. We need to remind ourselves today and always that we are just as amazing, strong, and inspiring as the fictional women we love so much.

So write your letter. Embrace your story. Tell the world that you have something to say and you won’t be kept from saying it.

Happy Galentine’s Day, friends. Let’s show the world what we can accomplish when we celebrate ladies not just today but every day.

Fangirl Thursday: NGN’s Holiday Love Post 2016!

There’s no denying that 2016 has been a hard year. There are plenty of valid reasons to want to stay in bed and just wait out these last few weeks, hoping for the best (but probably expecting the worst) for 2017. But if there was ever a time of year to try to salvage what’s left of 2016, it’s the holiday season—the time when we’re reminded that joy and hope can be found in even the smallest acts of kindness and love.

With that in mind, I wanted to bring back a little exercise in spreading joy that I started last year and really want to turin into a holiday tradition around these parts. That’s right, friends; it’s time for a LOVE POST!

I love you Winston

What’s a love post? Here are the basic instructions as I remember them from my old LiveJournal days: Make a comment on this post with your username (and things like your Twitter or your Tumblr URL if you feel like people might know you better by those identifiers). Then, sit back and let others reply, telling you how much and why they love you. Finally, share the love! Reply to your friends’ comments on this post and tell them how awesome you think they are, or finally tell that one commenter you really respect how insightful you think their thoughts are.

Will a love post magically fix everything that’s gone wrong this year? Of course not. But it can help all of us find and share a little happiness as we get ready to end this year and start a new one. And if this post can brighten even one person’s day, then my mission will be accomplished.

I’ll kick off the comments to show you how to get things started, and I hope this post is filled with love and happiness by the end of the day. Because, as the Fraggles taught me:

When you’re giving love away
Love will come again to stay
What you give is what you gain
When you pass it on

 

Four Years of Fun and Feelings

Today, Nerdy Girl Notes turns four years old. In my first post on this site, I wrote a sentence that I still believe with every fiber of my being:

I can’t imagine a better, more fulfilling life than the life of a nerdy girl.

A lot of things can change in four years. And a lot of things have changed over the last four years—not just for NGN as a site but for me as a person. But my goal from the start has always been to keep NGN moving forward, and I’d like to think I’ve done that—moving forward in the process of becoming not just a better writer but a better version of myself through running this site.

When I look back on some of my oldest NGN posts, I’m struck by how much distance I kept between myself and what I was writing about. I was afraid to get too personal—and the secret is, sometimes I still am. It’s scary to be vulnerable, it’s scary to talk about how much something means to you, and it’s scary to talk about yourself through a medium that makes that writing available to anyone who wants to read it and comment on it. In my quest to be as open as I can be in my writing, I’ve discovered that emotional honesty is a double-edged sword. It allows you to form genuine connections with people through your writing, but it also allows people who don’t like a particular thing you’ve written or an opinion you’ve shared to believe they can judge you as a person because of it. There have been plenty of occasions—this year perhaps more than any other—where it’s felt easier to just hide behind a more impersonal approach to writing or to just stop writing altogether. Because writing with honesty and vulnerability is hard.

But to quote one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own: “It’s supposed to be hard…The hard is what makes it great.” And it is great. And part of the reason it’s so great is because it’s scary. Running this site and sharing my writing with all of you has made me feel braver than I could ever have hoped to feel. And this year I’ve felt braver than ever before.

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Fangirl Thursday: Let’s Have a Love Post!

I can’t be the only one who feels like things have felt a little bleaker than normal in our little corners of fandom this TV season. Even some of the shows we turn to for escape, fun, and happiness have taken very dark turns. For a while, I was really letting the overwhelmingly sad tone of the media I’ve been consuming take its toll on me. But then I realized that just because the things I’m watching feel dark; it doesn’t mean I have to let it darken my outlook on everything. It’s even more of a reason to shine whatever light I have more brightly.

As such, I’ve decided it’s time to spread a little love and joy at the start of the holiday season. And what better way to do that than an old-fashioned LOVE POST!

If any of you are or were active on LiveJournal at some point in your fandom history, you might know what love posts are all about. If not, here’s a quick rundown of the very basic rules of the game: Make a comment on this post with your username (and things like your Twitter or your Tumblr URL if you feel like people might know you better by those identifiers). Then, sit back and let others reply, telling you how much and why they love you. Finally, share the love! Reply to your friends’ comments on this post and tell them how awesome you think they are, or finally tell that one commenter you really respect how insightful you think their thoughts are.

Love posts are a great way to make new friends and strengthen existing fandom friendships (I think I owe LJ love posts a lot for allowing Heather and I to grow as close as we are today).

I’ll kick off the comments to show you how to get things started, and I hope this post is filled with love and happiness by the end of the day. Let’s have some fun today making the world a brighter place—one virtual hug at a time.

I love you Winston

Fangirl Thursday: A Thankful Heart

I know Thanksgiving isn’t until next week for those of us living in the U.S., but posting on the holiday itself is never very convenient—even if it does always fall on a Fangirl Thursday. Besides, you shouldn’t have to limit your expressions of gratitude to one turkey-stuffed day each year. And I have far more than a week’s worth of things to be thankful for anyway.

I write the words “thank you” a lot. I write them so much that—to some—they might seem like meaningless filler or something I just say to say something. But I hope you know those words have never lost their weight for me—no matter how many times I write them. I write them so much because hardly a day goes by (and sometimes hardly a minutes goes by) without me experiencing a rush of gratitude. I mean those words with all my heart every single time I write them. Thank you.

I’ve always said that running NGN is a labor of love, and I’m thankful for both the labor and the love. I’m thankful that it is challenging and scary and exhausting sometimes to run this site. Because that’s when I know it matters—when it’s more than just some writing I do for fun. And it’s those moments that remind me to always look for the love, to look for the reasons I started NGN in the first place. And I always find those reasons. I always find that love. And I am so grateful that something I love so much and care so deeply about has become something other people love and care about, too. My writing goal is always to make people feel less alone in their intense love for the things they care about. And it turns out that’s exactly what all of you who visit NGN are doing for me.

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Fangirl Thursday: Three Years of Nerdy Fun

Today is a special day at Nerdy Girl Notes, and it seems very fitting that it should fall on a Fangirl Thursday. It’s NGN’s third birthday/blogiversary/whatever the kids are calling it nowadays. The point is, three years ago today, I picked out my hot pink color scheme, wrote a post about the joys of being a nerdy girl, and NGN was born.

NGN has evolved and grown so much since its earliest days, and in the process, I’ve grown so much, too. I started this blog as a way to reconnect with the kind of writing I wanted to do, and somewhere along the way, I also discovered the kind of person I want to be. That’s not something you think about when you write your first blog post, but it’s something I feel thankful for every day—that what started out as a writing exercise turned into a place where I was able to grow as a person not just through my writing, but through interacting with some of the smartest and kindest people I could have ever hoped to meet.

This year has been a year of new challenges at NGN. New TV shows were reviewed, new features were started, new lists were made, and new essays were written. I pushed myself as a writer this year not just in the sheer volume of posts I wrote, but in the vulnerability many of them required. And I am forever grateful for all of you who’ve responded with vulnerability and openness of your own. We share something special with one another when we talk about the media we love, and this year was filled with reminders of that belief, which has always been at the heart of everything I write here.

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A Galentine’s Day Message

Courtesy of the official Parks and Rec Twitter account.

Courtesy of the official Parks and Rec Twitter account.

Happy Galentine’s Day, all you beautiful tropical fish!

Galentine’s Day is a day created by my personal hero Leslie Knope to celebrate the awesome women in our lives and bask in the power of supportive female friendship. I’ve written about the need for strong portrayals of female friendship in the media the last two Galentine’s Days, and today, Heather has a great post up on her blog celebrating some of TV’s best female characters. So this Galentine’s Day, I wanted to shift my focus from the awesome ladies of television to the awesome ladies who make Nerdy Girl Notes a place where it’s Galentine’s Day all year.

It was always my hope for this site to become a place where people—especially women—could gather and talk about the things they loved without people judging them for their emotional investment. Too often, we’re told that our passion is intimidating and our enthusiasm keeps us from being taken seriously. So I always feel a deep sense of pride when I read the discussions that happen in the comments sections here or in my Twitter mentions, and I can see women from all walks of life coming together to share their thoughts and feelings about the media they love.

I don’t know how I got so lucky to have a readership and group of regular commenters mainly composed of such strong, smart, and sincerely supportive women. You all genuinely amaze me. You’re scientists and students and amazing writers yourselves; you’re mothers and girlfriends and proud single ladies; you love characters and shows as different and amazing as all of you are. And you choose to share that love—that part of yourself—with me and with your fellow commenters.

When I look at NGN’s comments sections, I see a community of women who have strong opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them, but they’re also open and accepting of others who don’t share those same opinions. I see women who are articulate and sincere and encouraging toward not just me but everyone they interact with. I see ladies celebrating ladies for the passionate, enthusiastic, and supportive people we are.

Thanks for making every day feel like Galentine’s Day around here. And may your day be filled with friendship, happiness, and delicious waffles.

It Feels Like Christmas!

On this Christmas Eve, I would like to wish all of you and your loved ones a truly Merry Christmas. May your holiday season be filled with family, friends, good food, and enough laughter to burn all the calories from that good food. My wish for you isn’t just that Santa fills your stockings with good gifts; it’s that the warmth of this time of year fills your heart with hope and happiness. And it’s my hope that the spirit of love that Christmas is truly all about stays with you for the whole year.

From our NGN Family to yours, may the joy, peace, and childlike wonder of Christmas be with you today and always.

 

Fangirl Thursday: An Underrated Christmas Classic

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We all have a favorite holiday movie that we love with all our hearts, despite it being seemingly unknown by most people. It makes watching that movie even more special, like you have a holiday tradition few others could appreciate, a little hidden gem of Christmas joy.

My hidden gem of holiday joy is A Muppet Family Christmas. No, it’s not the same as A Muppet Christmas Carol—although I love that movie, too. A Muppet Family Christmas is a TV movie first aired in 1987 that features all of the classic Muppets, Sesame Street gang, and Fraggles visiting Fozzie Bear’s mom for Christmas during a snowstorm.

Most people don’t know this made-for-TV special exists, but those who do cherish it for the gift it is. My sister and I have to watch it at least once every Christmas season, but we can be heard quoting it and referencing it all year (especially telling people to “Look out for the icy patch!’). From interactions between Big Bird and the Swedish Chef to small talk between Ernie, Bert, and Doc, this is a mash-up of some of the most beloved characters of not just my generation but ones before and after me, too.

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Fangirl Thursday: Feeling Thankful

On this day set aside for giving thanks, I wanted to take a moment to once again count my fangirl blessings. I have so much to be grateful for as the creator of this website, a website that continues to fill me with joy, pride, and excitement every day. After over two years captaining the good ship NGN, I am grateful for the fact that this little labor of love has grown so much and yet still feels as deeply personal as it did the day I started it.

When I take a step back and look at NGN, more than anything I am grateful for the people who have made this website a place that I am so proud to call mine. Because, for as much as I say NGN is mine; it’s really yours, too. All of you who comment here and so generously share your thoughts and feelings have created a space that feels like a home and a family for so many fellow fans who haven’t felt that in a long time—if ever—myself included.

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