This week is Speak Out With Your Geek Out – a week to let our geek flags fly, and show the world and ourselves that being a geek, no matter the stripe, is not a bad thing. From the Speak Out With Your Geek Out FAQ:
“The goal of this event is to fight labels and stereotypes that others would use to describe us. So far, people have spoken up that they feel like a geek because they’re devoted to math, science, their children, comics, games and a myriad of other topics. This event is designed to share our passions in a positive way with the community, to give voice to those of us who are normally afraid to simply love what we love and be who we are.”
Usually I say that I’m a general geek because I have interests all over the place and I can geek out over historical trivia and literature just as easily as I do speculative fiction or Star Trek. I dabble in crocheting, I’m learning how to sew, I write fiction, and I’ve been sucked into costuming over the past year. I play table-top RPGs on ocassion and I have small action figure and comic book collections.
So I self-identify as geek. Of course, I also volunteer at church and with non-profits, hang out with friends and family who are more “normal,” and generally enjoy life. I like to think I’m a well-rounded person with a penchant for hanging around interesting, creative types. Believe me, if you read or saw the amazing creations my friends make via the written word, leather, fabric, textiles, graphic design and photography, you’d want them in your life, too. Sometimes I think that my biggest act of geekery is befriending people who are cooler and smarter and more creative than I am.
My collection of friends aside, I think it’s fair to say that my preeminent geeky passion is the stories told in science fiction and fantasy–written and acted. Dad has been showing me Star Trek episodes since, I’m sure, before I could walk. I watched The Last Unicorn ad nauseum while HBO aired it during my childhood. Star Trek: The Next Generation was family bonding time for me and my parents, often leading to long discussions about an episode after it aired. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy carried me though fifth grade, which was a rough year for me in some ways.
I’m fortunate that my dad and step-dad are huge geeks. I grew up with Captain Kirk on reruns on television and I read my step-dad’s (well-used 1st edition) copy of Deities and Demigods before I was ever exposed to traditional renditions of Greco-Roman mythology. I’m so, so grateful that I was raised by three people who were willing to go with it when their daughter buried her nose in books during summer break, and could enjoy and talk about those same books. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons my teen rebellions against my parents were pretty mild is that we had so many common interests.
Hmm. When I started writing this I didn’t expect it to be a love letter to geekdom in general. But really, my geeky pursuits have had such a huge, positive effect on my life, how could it not wind up as a love letter to geekdom?
I love indulging in my geeky tendancies. Reading, watching movies or television, writing, gaming–these things bring me joy. My life is richer and fuller because I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much that I got involved in the online fandom thirteen years ago and made a couple of the best friends I have now. Because I was desperate to talk to someone else who’d read the Wheel of Time series I found a group of like-minded souls six years ago, and, again, made very very dear friends. My circle of friends and acquaintances is growing again these days because I stopped simply going to conventions with friends I already had (see the folks I just mentioned) and started making new friends at cons.
It’s so, so many kinds of wonderful to be part of the wider geek community; I simply can’t describe it. It wholly outweighs the sniping that can occur across and within fandoms.
So to my fellow geeks: thanks for making life more interesting. For the folks who create the things that I enjoy, large and small: thank you, so much.
I cannot–cannot–imagine how my life would’ve gone without this kind of enrichment.