Accidental Self Discovery

Growing up I always knew that I was different, like most stories go I didn’t exactly fit in with the other kids my age. Even though I loved playing video games, watching pro wrestling, and was obsessed with Saturday morning cartoons, I always had trouble interacting with others at school, church and life in general. I was constantly told that I was very mature for my age. My perspective on life and humor was that of a middle aged man, a Ron Swanson if you will.

As time went on I would get teased about my glasses, personal interests, and at the time my Drew Carey crew cut. Yup, I was asking for it, but I still had no idea why I didn’t belong. Even at church I had a couple of friends in kids ministry, but I often felt on the outside looking in. We all loved Jesus, bible stories and fruit snacks, but I had a hard time connecting with them. 



It's easy to say that I didn’t have many friends growing up, but once I entered Junior High and High School, I soon discovered others who shared an interest in my fandoms and offbeat sense of humor. I became part of a tribe that loved Anime, DnD, Pokemon Cards, Futurama, Weird Al and Sci-Fi. I finally felt heard and comfortable to fully be myself, even if I was still trying to figure out who that was.

Unfortunately my new friends didn’t share my faith, they were either atheist, agnostic or grew up in church but lost interest when they got older.. Despite the differences in our belief systems, we still got along and never let that divide us. My friends knew I was a practicing Christian and they respected that, and I did my best not to condemn their beliefs or tried to shove the bible down their throats. Instead I would invite them to our school’s Christian Club, or whenever we had prayer at the flagpole. 

Every so often we would engage in a peaceful discussion on why I believed in God and why they didn’t, or why some had a different view on the purpose of god. Believe it or not, they conversations never got heated and fists never flew through the air, instead it was more of a learning opportunity for both sides.



During lunchtime, my friends and I would stay indoors in the Physics classroom. Unlike the other social groups at our school, we would rarely hang out at the quad. It was there that you would find the Jocks, Metal Heads, Ravers, Greasers, Cool Kids, Hippies, that one Punk Rocker in the corner, Grungers, Bullies, Party Crews, Cholos (aka Gang Members) and Goths. Back then my High School was a real “Saved By The Bell” archetype when it came to having a plethora of social groups.

One day my friends and I were hanging out and I began to scan the classroom. I watched everyone as they were either playing Magic the Gathering, working on scale models, or getting a head start on homework. As I sat there eating my homemade burrito, I suddenly realized that all my friends were Nerds. Immediately I came to an epiphany… If they’re Nerds and I share their interests… that must mean I’m a Nerd too!!! My mind and heart started racing, I quickly reached over and tried to grab a friend’s inhaler to help me keep breathing. No wonder I didn’t fit in with other people, I’m a nerd, and that’s okay.

I know it sounds silly and you may ask,”Didn’t you know that you and your friends were Nerds? How can you not know?” I can honestly say that I didn’t, Nerd Culture wasn’t as mainstream back then as it is today. Yes, back in my century Nerds existed but were often portrayed in the media as over the top stereotypes. It wasn’t considered cool or widely accepted to express your fandom in public.

Unless you were ready to get picked on, only a few would bravely wear a comic book themed t-shirt, let alone dress in full cosplay. Only a few would publicly share their love for RPG games, building computers, reading fantasy books, and watching Sci-Fi movies. Society would categorize us as misfits, outcasts, or dare I say losers. So automatically some would have trouble accepting their true identity and place blinders over their eyes. Because of this, easily one could look into the mirror and not realize their true self, but once the blinders were removed… it would all make sense. Even more so, I would come to realize that being a nerd is awesome, it’s like a new level in my life was unlocked and I was ready to explore it.



Now that I’m a little older and a little wiser, I've been discovering ministries, podcasts and other like minded people who are both Christians & Nerds. People with a passion to reach out to the nerd community and share the gospel with them, while being able to connect through a love of fandoms.

This is what I hope and pray for, that this clothing brand can also bridge a gap between these two cultures. I want to be able to provide something that I didn’t have growing up in church. I want these designs to be used as a way to evangelize and to open an opportunity for discussion. I know some will argue that you don’t need “Christian Clothing” to reach people, and there is some truth to that. Yet I believe that having Christian clothing, even more so Nerd-Themed Christian clothing, can help to break the ice in a unique and relatable way.

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Manny Montanez

Founder of Quiet Mountain Apparel

Manny Montanez is the creative mind behind Quiet Mountain Apparel. With over two decades of experience in ministry, he has dedicated his life to serving others. This includes serving in worship, youth and multimedia ministries, as well as missionary work in Liberia, West Africa.

Combining his love for God with his passion for nerd culture, Manny established a clothing brand that uniquely merges faith & fandom.Through his designs, Manny seeks to inspire, uplift, and connect individuals within both the church and nerd communities.

Join Manny as he shares insights, inspirations, and stories of faith and creativity on "Where Faith & Fandom Unite".