Every nerd, geek, and fangirl has a unique story that tells how they came to love the things they do.
This is mine.
Growing up, I didn’t really have anyone in my family that was into the geeky things of the time: no D&D playing cousin, no Trekkie uncle, no fantasy novel reading sibling.
Even though I often trailed after my big sister, wanting to do everything she was doing, I was also perfectly content on my own. I had a vivid imagination and could entertain myself for hours. Even from a young age, I was headstrong and a bit eccentric. I definitely marched to the beat of on my drum.
The first time I can remember liking something that no one else around me did was early in middle school. That was when I discovered Sailor Moon. I was in awe; it was like nothing I had seen before. It wasn’t long before I ventured online (something that was still novel as we had only had it home for four years or so at this point). I didn’t know what I was looking for but I was eager to find anything I could related to the show. A whole new world was about to open up before me.
Soon, I was reading fanfiction and looking at fanart long before I knew those words existed. I also started to look for other anime as I found the sci-fi and fantasy undertones absolutely fascinating.
As I transitioned from middle school to high school, my interests started to shift more into sci-fi. Reading was where most of my attention was focused, but I also started to watch more movies in the sci-fi genre. I devoured the classics, I searched for the new. There was also a book within reach at all times, a habit which continues to this day.
It was during my sophomore year that something monumental happened which honestly changed my life. I was finally introduced to the world of Harry Potter.
The funny thing about this it is, that by the time I came around to it, the first three or four books were published and the first two movies had been released. But for whatever reasons, I wasn’t interested and I didn’t have anyone around to try and convince me otherwise. Then, as fate would have it, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, the Sorcerer’s Stone was on HBO and I finally convinced myself to watch. The rest is simply history.
I was completely and utterly entranced. Within the next two weeks (if that) I bought and read the first four books, catching up to where the series was. Since I was still in high school, I would spend what time I could reading fanfic and participating in various online communities. I was in a fandom, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
From then on, though high school and into college, I attended every midnight book release and movie opening (fun fact: when the Deathly Hallows book was released, I got a warning for speeding at 1:00 in the morning in my race to get home and begin reading). My love for the series has never, and will never, diminish. I may not be as present, but it was my first fandom and I will always carry it close to my heart.
My horizons were still pretty limited at that point. I found comfort in the things that I knew and loved. I had control over them, something that I was lacking in many other aspects of my life.
Then eight years ago, after a monumental shift in my personal life, I was finally able to really come into my own as a geek. It was always there, simmering away quietly beneath the surface, but rarely did you see it manifest outwardly. This event forced me to focus on myself and discover what I wanted in life, to define what success and happiness were to me.
I didn’t become a different person, I finally became myself. The transformation was subtle and gradual but ever so wonderful. As I became more confident in myself my desire to delve deeper into all of geekdom intensified and there was nothing that could stop me.
It’s been a windfall of geeky, fangirling awesomeness ever since then. Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, DC, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, Star Wars- the list goes on. I wasn’t new to them all, I was late to the party on some, and others I’ve been along for the whole ride. Regardless of when I came around, I was going to be there until the end and beyond.
Until recently, with a few notable exceptions, I was mostly alone in the majority of my enthusiasm. And that suited me just fine. I was happy to keep to myself in the perusals of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.
But as my confidence grew, so did my desire to finds others who loved the same things I did. One of the most enjoyable things in life can be excitedly sharing a mutual interest with another person. So for the last two years I’ve worked on expanding my network. But even with newfound confidence, it’s been slowing going. The fears I thought I’d overcome were still there: will they like me, will they think I’m weird, will they dismiss me or not understand what I’m trying to say.
It seems like such an easy thing to be able to do but the reality is that is for many it’s not. I’ve come to realize that, regardless of my age, I will always have these social apprehensions. The important thing is to not let them stop me from forming connections with some of the amazing people that are in the world. It hasn’t been nor will it ever be the easiest thing for me, but I’m nothing if not a determined person.
And so there you are. That’s my story.
I have no intention on slowing down in my relentless quest to read, watch, and experience everything that this marvelous explosion of geeky wonderfulness the world has to offer.
Because right now, the sheer number of genre shows, blockbuster movies, new comics, and expanding franchises is unprecedented. There really couldn’t have been a better time for me to embrace and cultivate my geeky side.
And as Simon Pegg and John Green have both said: being a geek is the best thing ever.
So call me a nerd, call me a geek. Because it’s not just a name or label or style, it’s a way of life (oh god that really does sound corny but it’s true!). It’s a huge part of who I am and I’m unbelievably proud to be one.