Dear Nathan,

Let’s start off with the simplest of things: there are heels and there are babyfaces. Good guys and bad guys. You should always be a babyface in your own life. You might be someone else’s heel, someone else’s foil, but in your own story, you are the babyface.

Wrestling is a lot of things to different people, and it will probably take a while to figure out what it means to you. If it’s not as important or all-consuming as it is to another person, that’s okay. Some people say “casual fan” like it’s an insult, but it isn’t. You can be any kind of fan you want, as long as you’re a respectful one.

There is so much wrestling out there for you to experience. If one thing doesn’t suit you, keep trying new things. Taking time to understand why you like other things outside of wrestling will help to steer you toward different styles or promotions. You are a complex being, and wrestling is a complex art form. There is no right or wrong way to experience or fall in love with it.

And you will fall in love with it. When you do, it will be amazing. You will experience such incredible highs and amazing catharsis, it will be sort of like a drug. But like any great love, it can also hurt you. When booking changes, when wrestlers move on, when styles fade, you will feel forgotten and lost. It’s okay to be sad when a thing that brought you such great joy suddenly only makes you sad or angry. But that just means it’s time to find a new kind of wrestling (or a new wrestler, or a new place to see wrestling) to fall in love with. And you will, on repeat, your whole life.

You might love wrestling so much that you want to try doing it yourself. You might want to become a wrestler, or start your own promotion. You might want to write a blog or do a podcast. You should. You should do all of those things, or some other things that no one has tried yet. You should do them, and fuck them up, and try them again. Don’t ever let someone tell you you’re the wrong size or your writing’s too flowery, or you don’t have the right equipment or enough money. Don’t listen to people who tell you wrestling is silly or childish or that you’re getting worked up over something trite. People like that have always existed, and all they are is envious of your passion and drive. You will outlast them, I promise.

Be good to the people you meet through wrestling. We are a community of misfit toys. But we are also loyal and loving. Take care of your wrestling friends, because they accept a side of you that a lot of your school mates or co-workers might not. They understand your excitement, they understand why you yell and scream at shows, they understand why you like one wrestler better than another. Your wrestling friends will take care of you, too. If you drink, they will make sure you get home safely. If you travel, they will make sure you have a place to stay and food to eat. They will become your wrestling family and they might be anywhere in the world. That also means there will always be someone awake at 3am on a Tuesday when you need to talk. Or just know someone is there.

Be good to the people who are not your friends, too, though. Respect that everyone comes to this thing from a different place – a different background, a different path – and maybe you will disagree. But a wrestling show should be a place where you can go and be yourself (whatever yourself might be) and that means you have to allow others to be themselves, too. Stick up for the people who need a voice. Listen to the people who are trying to tell you when they are hurting. Don’t leave anybody out, or anyone behind. But don’t stand for any nonsense, either.

Don’t worry if you fall away from wrestling. Sometimes life gets in the way. But wrestling isn’t going anywhere. When you want to come back, it will still be there, probably with a new coat of paint and a lot of new faces, but it will still want you to be a part of it. When life gets ugly, when days are grey, it’s a good way to escape or have a laugh. When life goes to shit, there’s a really good chance it will make you happy, even for a moment. And you should be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy.

You are in a unique spot in time. You were born in a place where wrestling is having a renaissance, amidst a very welcoming and progressive fanbase. You have parents who will happily guide you as you find your own fandom. You will easily be connected to people all over the world who already love and care about you because of how wonderful, generous, and kind your family is. If there are things in wrestling that interest you that they don’t know about, they will find you someone who does to help you. Those people are going to teach you other cool things, too, about music and food and books and theater and film and all that life has to offer. All because of wrestling.

Before you came into this world, we weren’t sure what you would be. And to be honest, I don’t think anybody is ever sure until their time in this place is through. But because we knew so little about you, we called you Bumpasaurus, because you might be anything – even a dinosaur. (Side note: if you turn out to be, in fact, a dinosaur, I’d avoid Jack Haskins at all cost.) But now you are here and you are a Nathasaurus – still capable of becoming anything and everything. And in the best possible place to achieve whatever that may be.

Wrestling’s the best, kid. Trust me.

– The Lady J


In This Community

It’s December first and the holiday season is upon us. With Thanksgiving in my rear-view, it’s time to turn my attention to the coming holiday season, and eventually the new year. It’s hard to avoid – there are fairy lights in the trees here in the DMV, and spruce wreaths on the doors. Everyone is starting to bundle up, even though it’s not actually cold here yet.

While I sit in this coffee shop and wait for my friend to get out of work, watching the Georgetown preppies and the business-suit clad politicians bustle by, I am thinking about community. I am thinking about the people I have chosen to surround myself with. Not only did I pick up and move to a place where I had a built-in support system, I have become a more active member of an online community that I love so much.

Last night’s episode of RAW was garbage. It was undoubtedly the silliest nonsense I have ever seen. Sheamus’s promos are not good. Roman Reigns stealing the title was not good. There being stakes and then no stakes in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match is not good. Even the New Day are starting to irritate me. But the process of watching the show last night was some of he most fun I’ve had since “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses came on the radio after “Alice’s Restaurant” on Thanksgiving. And why was that, if the show itself was such a car wreck?

Because of the community. I don’t know how I became acquainted with all of the people that I regularly interact with on Twitter. Some of them have been with me a short while. Some of them have seen the evolution of The Lady J from mere Twitter handle through to this blog. Some of them even knew me when I was just a weird litmag editor who talked about CM Punk a lot. But the people who I talk to on a Monday night are some of my favorite people in the world. Maybe I don’t know their real names, or what they look like, or what they do for a living, but they put me in such a great mood that when someone asked me around 1am how RAW was, I actually said “great! It was hilarious.”

The community of people who watch WWE shows is wide. It includes the kids who keep WWE from creating the TV-14 programming I would prefer. It includes the Full Sail audience whom I abhor. It includes all of the rude, grammatically-impaired trolls that just like to rile people up. But it also includes me and all my friends, who are angry and disappointed, and TRYING to find a reason to continue watching even when the only thing we pop for anymore is each other.

I don’t know when things will get better. I hope someone at WWE listened to Mick Foley on Steve Austin’s podcast today. I hope someone is on the internet reading some of the passionate, well-written analysis demanding better for the talent as well as the audience. I don’t claim to be among their ranks, but I will continue to voice my opinion as well. And until it does get better, I will continue to watch. Not even with real hope, but because that’s what my friends and I do on Monday nights. We log onto our computers and open Twitter on our phones and put each other over.

I’m in this coffee shop tonight thinking about how lucky I am to be a part of something, even when it’s trash, that we are all so passionate about. The thing about fiery passion is it lets you know you can feel something powerful. There’s a story about a woman who didn’t know her husband was cheating on her until she saw him screaming at his secretary. You can’t get that angry unless there’s also love. And that’s how I feel about WWE right now. I’m angry because I love this, and I want it to be better. Not just for me, but for my friends – all of you out there who I don’t know, but sort of do, and love fiercely.

The Lady J Says