As we approach our official one year anniversary of Total Geek Live, I want to take a moment to celebrate what being a geek means. It’s not about knowing the difference between Superman and Captain America. It’s not about getting the highest score on a video game. Yes, those are parts of being a geek. But at its heart, being a geek is about curiosity. It’s about diving into a new world and wanting to know more about it. Video games, science fiction and fantasy, comic books, and table top games are areas where we find something that we love and want more of, and to learn more about.
When I came across Spider-Man for the first time as a kid, I was hooked. I wanted, no, needed to know everything about him. How he got his powers, why he was a super hero instead of villain. It’s what compelled me to start really reading comics and seeking out other characters and teams that challenged my thinking. Those four-color beginnings started me on the geek path, but it was Star Wars that solidified my geek status. Lightsabers, the Kessel Run, Ewoks, and even the Death Star all opened a new world to me.
Finding other geeks to talk about comics or video games wasn’t always easy in a small town. On top of other awkward phases in growing up, showing an interest in geek things didn’t make me more popular. If being a geek was cool, my coke bottle glasses protected me from that. You didn’t dare say you were a geek, much less go on and on about it with your friends. But I didn’t care, I learned so much about being good and honorable from Luke Skywalker, from Flash, from Batman. I distinctly remember the very sad day that I said good bye to my Star Wars bed sheets. I was turning 12 and while I had held on to action figures and toys far longer than my classmates, I knew that I at some point had to let go of childhood things.
Except that really isn’t the case. Sure, I grew up and became a (mostly) functional adult. But my love for all things geek grew too. I realized in college and after that those formative years with super heroes and legends instilled in me a lifelong creative obsession that led me to create stories and worlds and adventures that I hope will one day inspire more geeks out there. I learned to embrace the geek in me and be proud of that.
The things that made us different and stand out as kids are really what make us the most special; we should celebrate that. Encourage kids who show artistic talent. Support them if they want to find a way to colonize the moon. Show them that the uniqueness that sets them a part from everyone else will be the things that allows them to be amazing adults.
But geek culture isn’t restricted to those the world of super heroes. You can apply your geek card anywhere. Love reading about ancient civilizations or seeking the truth about Cleopatra? You could be a history geek. Love computers and tech? You could be an IT geek. Love creating art of any kind? You could be an art geek. Love music? You could be a band geek. Love animation? You could be a Disney geek.
Stand up and be counted. Stand up and be a part of a worldwide community. Big Bang Theory and Community have made geeks more relatable to the world at large, and because of them we see a wider acceptance of geek culture. You can hardly walk through a store without finding displays of geek merchandise. In fact catering to geeks of all stripes is a billion dollar industry. And that says nothing of the conventions all around the world that raise geeks up and highlight their cosplay, artist skills and more.
Being a geek made me who I am today, and I am so proud to be me. If you love and appreciate humor, curiosity and knowledge, you too may be a geek. Stand up and embrace your geek side.
It’s All Geek To Us