Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Geeky Origin Story

Do you have any questions that you really just kind of hate? I do. In the world of geeks, one of the most asked questions seems to be some variation of "What is your geeky origin story?" What was the first thing you geeked out over? What started you down the path of geekdom?

This is a totally legit question. The reason I kind of hate it is that I really don't have an answer. You see, most people can pinpoint the first thing they geeked out over. They can tell you what show, movie, game, book, comic, etc. brought them into the world of geek. I can't. I can't pinpoint the first geeky thing I watched, read, played, or did. I can't say how old I was, who introduced me, what year, or how I knew I was a geek. It was just always that way.

You see, my geek origin story is simple: I was born. That's it. There was no big epiphany. There was no ah-ha moment. There was no one game, show, movie, or book that started it. My first breath in this world was the start of my geekiness. My first steps were on the journey of geekitude. My first words were likely something geeky.

In all honesty, I cannot remember a time before being a geek. I was born in 1980, so 'Geek' and 'Nerd' were not interchangable words, like they are now, when I was growing up. They had very different & distinct meanings. I was both. Always. I was the smart, nerdy, bookworm who played Chess & loved board games & puzzles. I was the geeky girl who watched Star Trek: TNG every week with my dad, was into Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and was watching horror movies in pre-school. I would rather have my face in a book than be around other people, and had very few friends.

My dad watched Star Trek & Star Wars, so I was exposed to them at an early age. I was an early & avid reader, reading everything I could get my hands on. Can I remember the first Sci-Fi book I read, or the first Fantasy book or the first Horror book? No. I have no idea what the first book I read was for any genre. I just know that those were my favorite genres for as long as I can remember. I know that I was reading SF/Fantasy shortly after learning to read & Horror followed closely after that. I know that I loved learning about Ancient Civilizations in 1st grade & that started me reading every Mythology book I could find. I know that I was in elementary school when I read my first King book, but I can't remember which book it was.

My best Christmas ever was when I got 2 Chemistry sets & a Fossil kit (I was always really into Dinosaurs). My favorite thing about summer break was that my parents would sign me up for Whiz Kids College (classes for kids held at the local Community College). It was at Whiz Kids College that I could take classes that weren't offered at school, even in the Gifted program. I took French, Astronomy, Model Rocketry, a Nature Science of some sort, and a few other classes.

My first games were board games & trivia games. Then, card games were added. Eventually, my parents bought us an NES, and a few years later, an SNES. I never owned a console beyond that. We couldn't afford it. Even now, as an adult, we don't have any video games in our house. I have put it off for years because there are more important things to spend our money on, but every so often I seriously think about getting one. We do have plenty of board games, trivia games, & card games, though, and a few DVD games.

I watched Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. I loved TMNT & generally watched X-Men & Batman, though I never got into comic books/graphic novels as a kid. Honestly, comic books/graphic novels weren't encouraged in our house. They weren't considered real reading. I was always reading something, though, usually several books at once (a habit which has stayed with me & drives everyone around me crazy). My toys were thrown, without care, into a toy box, but my telescope & books lived on shelves & were well cared for.

I always knew I was different (kind of hard not to). I almost never liked the same things my classmates liked (I was Elvira for Halloween in 6th grade while my best friend was Madonna). I listened to different music, watched different movies & shows, read different books, and played different games. While my classmates took dance lessons, learned piano, and did school plays, I tried to blow up my bedroom with my Chemistry sets, memorized dinosaur facts, wrote poetry about mythical creatures, played myself in chess to try to improve (my dad only got as far as showing me how the pieces moved), and immersed myself in my own imaginary world. I enjoyed learning new things, & some of my favorite memories are of visiting museums & zoos.

 My childhood is filled with geeky & nerdy memories. I cannot say where it began, because it was always there. I can't even imagine my childhood without the geeky stuff. What did I geek out over? Mythology, Ancient Civilizations (especially Egypt & Greece), Dinosaurs, SF/Fantasy, Horror, just to name a few. Do I still love these things today? Hell yeah!

I have shared my love of geeky things with my kids. I introduce them to as many things as I can and encourage them to find the things they love. They may love different things than I do, but that doesn't matter. I just want them to know that they can love whatever they want, that I will support & encourage it in any way I can.

If you ask my daughter what she first geeked out over, she'll tell you it was Harry Potter. If you ask my son, he'll say dinosaurs. My husband would probably say Star Wars. As for me, my geeky origin was my first breath in this world. I was pre-destined to be a geek. It was written in my DNA & has always been there.