Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Origin of a Geek

I just finished a fantastic weekend! Planet Comicon 2014. It was an incredible weekend and I met some of my favorite Sci-Fi icons. This experience actually caused me to do some self-reflection. How did I tend to this secret love affair with Science Fiction and what caused me to finally come out of the closet? Well, it goes back to the days of the original Star Trek.

As a young girl, I would sneak in episodes of Star Trek. And yes, I mean sneak. I was absolutely captivated by the encounters of the crew with different life forms and the multi-cultural nature of the crew. I was always hungry for the next episode, but didn't want anyone to know. It really wasn't acceptable for a young girl to be interested in such things. Especially a young girl from St. Joseph, Mo. I remember actually pretending NOT to watch the show while soaking in every single minute.  I never discussed the episodes with my family, nor was it a topic of conversation with my friends. There was just something empowering about "boldly going where no man had gone before." But it wasn't just men. There were women, too.

By the time I hit middle school, I was very proud to be a straight A student, but I was also feeling a little rebellious. I proudly declared a Cyndi Lauper day in which I was promptly sent home to change clothes because I was causing a disruption to our learning. I didn't really mean to disrupt learning…I loved learning. But I also loved socializing. I was able to socialize by being on the yearbook team and through cheerleading. These were quite "acceptable" activities for a young lady to pursue. I easily became friends with people from all walks of life. I particularly enjoyed talking with some of the guys about D & D. I was actually lost during most of these conversations, having no background knowledge of D & D other than what I was taught at church. I was taught that D & D was of the devil, yet I found myself being reeled into their conversations regardless. And while some people might have called these guys nerds, I found them to be some pretty cool friends.

I participated in honors classes in High School, but most of the people in my classes were much smarter than me! I could not figure out who the heck I was! I was a cheerleader, in Biology Club, Latin Club, Show Choir and the High School Musicals. I was on the school newspaper and excelled with my History and English classes but struggled a bit through my Science and Math classes. Ok, well I struggled A LOT with my math classes. I was working desperately at being who everyone expected me to be. But I left the most important person out…me.

Many things happened between High School graduation and Comicon 2014. Most notably, I became an avid fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation and did not hide it, I began playing D&D (Pathfinder, actually), completed my Ph.D., binged on every episode of Big Bang Theory, caught up with Firefly, watched Monty Python, as well as several other Sci-Fi shows. I have planned and hosted several themed-based parties (Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Zombie Apocolypse, Secret Agent, Steam Punk, etc.) and dressed all out for every single one. I jumped up and down with glee as I hugged the neck of Jonathan Frakes, and got a tear in my eye as I shook the hand of Marina Sirtis. These people represent a part of myself that I have learned to embrace whole heartedly. It was actually quite spiritual.

The passing of time has given me the gift of confidence as I no longer try to play the roles expected of me by others. Instead, I have learned to embrace who I am and not worry so much about what other people think. I must also thank my husband for allowing me to evolve. He and I spend endless hours talking about everything under the sun. He is a brilliant game master who has been patient with me as I learn the intricate rules for D & D. He doesn't think I am goofy when I want to dress up (as in costumes) for events. Heck, he doesn't even mind when I make up events just so I can wear a costume!

I know that some people must look at me and scratch their heads. I am fine with that. I love this part of me…just as I love my "peace, love and happiness" part of me…my performer/vocalist/dancing queen part of me…and my serious educator part of me. Somehow it is just all goofy me. Amy Casey. Boldly out of the closet!

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