Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Speak Out With Your Geek Out
This post is in conjunction with Speak Out With Your Geek Out week, which is a big round of blog posting to help all those people who have internalized the negative connotations of geekdom, even as we move into an era of computer phones, cloned organs, and widespread pop culture references to hobbits and orcs.
I'm not doing too badly for myself. I'm an emergency medical technician on my way to full paramedic and a published writer of fantasy and horror. I've gotten to travel all around the world, including Belize, Japan, Egypt, France, Mexico, China, and exotic Canada. I've worked on an archaeological dig, jumped out of planes, ridden camels across a desert, climbed cliff faces, swum with sharks, modeled nude, met one US president, and breathed for a cardiac arrest patient.
I'm also a geek on a number of different axises. I've always read fantasy and science fiction, I love and continue to read comic books, I enjoy role playing and boardgames, I love both western animation and anime, I've been in and out of massive online multiplayers since the web connections were pay-by-the-minute, I've made lasting friends through internet fandom, and I have, on more than occasion, larped. I've also met more than one boyfriend through these activities.
Being a geek isn't something that limits you. It's a passion. It's a light in your life that you can hold up when things are looking dark. It's having tried to live up to being a knight or a paladin, even just as an exercise. It's understanding the prime directive and knowing why it's there. It's learning planetary physics because you want to design a city in the clouds. It's knowing that with great power comes great responsibility, and having planned out what you would do if you had the good luck to get a radioactive spider bite. It's about a powerful combination of imagination, enthusiasm, and precision- about being able to ask “what if?” and then provide the answer. It's about an intimate familiarity with a body of work that asks over and over again “what does it mean to be human?” and “what does it mean to be good?”
I'm a lot of things in addition to being a geek, but I could never have been the whole person I am today without having imagined myself as an X-man, without having cried during Ender's Game, without having learned to draw every character in Ranma 1/2, without wearing a shine into my wasd keys in multiplayer games, without learning the mechanics of storytelling by relentlessly picking apart TV shows and putting them back together the way I thought they ought to go, or without the friends I made because we had these things in common.
And that's not all. I have a friend who used to win anime cosplay competitions. Now she does makeup and special effects for Hollywood movies. One friend who played the Star Wars tabletop roleplaying game with me is a practicing lawyer. Another is a professor. The biggest, sweetest firemen I know carries a toy tricorder in his pocket. The first guy I ever fell in love with could demand chocolate in Klingon. I once had a really surreal conversation with the front man for a punk rock band and the giant bouncer at the door about how much we loved dungeons and dragons and the renaissance fair.
If you're feeling down and alone, you shouldn't. There are a lot of us out here, and we're not always who you'd think.
If you're feeling like what you love makes you a loser, you shouldn't do that either.
The stars are the limit.