Geeks, particularly superhero and comic book geeks, have a love affair with origin stories. How did the hero become the hero? What prompted her to start her never-ending fight for justice?
Since I am the protagonist of own tale, and since Father’s day is coming up, I’d like to share my personal Geek Origin story. It starts with my parents, Pam and Bruce.
Here they are, being naturally awesome, which is their usual state of being.
They are high school sweethearts who married at the ages of 20 and 21, respectively. I was soon to follow. While pregnant with me, my mom spent a lot of time watching Thunder Cats. (She likes to refer to herself as a “Thunder Cats Ho”). I’m confident that her cartoon-watching affected my gestation in a postive manner.
My earliest geek-related memories involve books and video games. Both of my parents read to me and my little sister CONSTANTLY. Bedtime stories included old poetry (my Mom’s choice), Doctor Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, James the Jaguar, and (my personal favorite) the Dungeons and Dragons Fiend Folio, which was my dad’s.
In fact, I currently have this book in my apartment. When I went to my parents’ house to take it, my dad even (adorably!) remembered some of my favorite monsters from childhood!
At some point during this young period in my life, I also become enthralled with Greek mythology (Possibly thanks to my parents’ love of the original Clash of the Titans movie). Greek myths–and especially Pegasus–were soon my first geek obsession. I collected pegasus figurines for years, and I have a near-unhealthy knowledge of Greek mythlogy, which helped me immensely when I became an English Major.
We also watched a lot of nerdy movies. The animated versions of The Hobbit, The Return of the King, and The Last Unicorn were big favorites, along with more popular movies like Space Jam.
Kaitlin's Prospective Careers (Kindergarten-3rd grade) - Pirate - Artist - Basketball player - Pegasus-riding super hero
I can also remember my parents having super nintendo Tetris play-offs in the basement of our first house, and my dad teaching me to play Super Mario. One of my best childhood memories was the day my dad came home and surprised us with a Nintendo 64!
The Force is strong with this family…
When Star Wars:The Phantom Menace came out in theaters, my dad was so excited that he pulled me and my sister out of school early so we could go see it on opening day. I was in the 4th grade, about the same age my dad had been when A New Hope was first released.
4th grade was also the age I met one of my best friends, Michelle, discovered Pokemon (both the game and the cards), and really got interested in Sailor Moon, thanks to the awesome comic book store in our town.
My dad is a HUGE comic book nerd. He’s been going to the same comic book store for most of my life and is friends with the store owner, Greg. My dad did a great job of encouraging my and my sister’s love of comics. We fastidiously collected the full-sized Sailor Moon manga comics, and as we got a bit older, followed the Buffy comics on and off again. When we drew pictures, Greg would post them on the wall of the comic book store for all to see.
My sister and I even went as Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon for Halloween once. Unfortunately, no photos remain from that fateful night, but I do remember my mom being nervous to let us out of the house because we looked like crazy, jailbait streetwalkers in our cobbled-together costumes. And even worse, no one knew who we were supposed to be!
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Middle School really sucked for me, but it was a definitive period in my Geek life because I had a group of super nerdy friends (and a wonderfully nerdy sister) to share my interests with. My friend Michelle was so obsessed with Star Wars that I’m convinced her knowledge is nearly encyclopedic. My friend Sarah, who literally looks like an elf, was a LOTR and fantasy fanatic. She and I started a LOTR fanfic at the age of 14 and continued it for an epic THREE YEARS. We never did finish our story, since our 17 year old selves had outgrown the characters our 14 year old selves had created, but the fanfic did inspire of a love of writing that I have never outgrown.
Kaitlin's Prospective Careers (4th grade - 8th Grade) - Egyptologist/ Mummy specialist - Ventriloquist/ Magician - Comic book artist (LOL) - Writer
Finally Owning the Geekage
I felt the need to keep my nerdy ways under wraps for a long time. I got teased a lot in middle school for number of reasons (such as the fact that I was TINY and under-developed), and I didn’t need to add fuel to that fire by broadcasting my love of Pokemon and Sailor Moon or my talents for Mario Kart. I don’t remember that much of middle school anymore. I spent the majority of those years hiding behind just about any book I could get my hands on: Tamora Pierce, Tabitha Lee, Garth Nix, Jane Austen, Tolkein, all the Harry Potter books that had been published at the time, etc etc.
I wasn’t particularly cool in high school either (surprise, surpise!), but I did Drama Club and took part in a special audition-only class where we wrote a mini musical. Eventually my body grew enough that I could stop wearing clothes from the children’s department.
By the time I hit college, I had reached my “caring what other people think” limit, and I broke free. I dressed up in crazy Halloween costumes, read what I wanted, got my nose pierced, and was genuinely enthusiastic about the things I liked.
Kaitlin's Prospective Careers (High school - Now) - Writer - Social Media Marketer - Professional blogging person - Lottery Winner - Wil Wheaton (Seriously. Can I just BE Wil Wheaton?)
Now, at 25, I’m pretty much the person I’ll be for the rest of my life. I’ve got a wonderful geeky family, awesome friends, and an amazing boyfriend who I frequently challenge to intense Pokemon Stadium battles. We talk a lot of smack.
If I could go back and give my younger self some advice, I’d tell her not to worry so much. I’d tell her that things get better, that eventually her boobs do grow in (yay college!), and that she WILL grow taller than 5 feet. And I’d also tell her not to be so ashamed for loving all the nerdy stuff, because eventually she’ll be one of the many geek sirens on the web, singing her nerd song for all to hear.
Mostly, I’d just tell her to not be afraid to be herself.