Sometimes it is difficult to be the weird one in the family. Not only in terms of my religious beliefs…but in all other ways.
I’ve been a geek/nerd ever since I was tiny. I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since 1997, when my school librarian lent me the copy of the British version one of her family had sent to her, following that avidly even through today (thank you J.K. Rowling for creating Pottermore). I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since about 5-6, when my uncle played Episode IV for me and my sister at his house, where Han Solo was one of my very first crushes. Then there was The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and all things Tolkien – which I first read the prequel Hobbit at about 7 years old, and started LOTR. I was fascinated by the Elves and the languages he created. And the final of my major “geek-doms” to be picked up – Star Trek. I remember seeing “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, “Requiem for Methuselah” and “The Trouble with Tribbles” as the first episodes I saw…I was about 8 or so. I was home sick from school, and because I was sick my sleep schedule was screwed up, so I remember seeing these episodes on about 11pm or so, and being in awe of how groundbreaking they had to have been for being from the ’60s (which I thought was ancient history at the time).
Needless to say, in my family being a “geek” is not cute. It’s not trendy and it’s not really well-looked at (outside of my wonderful uncle who buys me all sorts of geekery for my birthday and Christmas every year). I spent my whole childhood getting relentlessly mocked by my family, or in some cases more subversively told that it was “stupid”, and no one thought it was a good interest to have. – That stuff is hard to hear as a young child.
I clammed up a lot. I had some friends who shared a few interests with me. But I was always the geek or the nerd. Hell, my own father mocked me relentlessly for wanting to see Cowboys & Aliens when it came out right before my birthday in 2011. He was the worst, telling me that it was stupid and that only idiots would want to see such a “tacky” movie.
I’ve learned how to embrace the fact that I’m a geek since I left high school. College taught me to be myself and to be proud of my interests. So I’ve gotten far better at holding my ground if I find something interesting. I’ve gotten better at brushing off the nasty comments I get in regards to my 4 major geek-interests. Even though from about 11 onwards I also began to add anime and manga into my “geeky” interests, I’ve managed to keep myself interested and firm in enjoying what I like. I’ve managed to ignore how people made fun of me for any of my less than mainstream interests.
So even though I’m doing much better, things like this kind of crush me.
See, that comment at the bottom? That’s my grandma. And while I appreciate she is welcome to her opinion on Star Trek TOS, really I did not want hate on my being happy one of my favorite TV shows is nearly 50 years old. I was sharing something that made me happy and was very important news in terms of Sci-Fi television and film. So I was sharing for my friends who are also Sci-Fi fans, and who enjoy Star Trek, or even just like parodying it. Perhaps it galls me because any time I mention something about Star Trek, or some piece of merch I’m interested in, or news about one of the actors….every single time she has to respond with that exact phrase. Every time.
So it’s draining. And I know that I’m the only one in my family that truly loves Star Trek. I’m conscious of that, so I make a concerted effort to not overload my family with “Star Trek this” and “Star Trek that”, because I know no one else cares as much as I do. I make small mentions, or when something major happens. That’s fair discussion, and not overwhelming. I’ve always found it a bit patently unfair that this is the reaction I get from family nearly 95% of the time when I mention one of my interests.
I do the same thing with my other interests. I don’t talk a lot about them, not with family. It just causes me unnecessary troubles. And even though I’m stronger and I’m comfortable in my geekdom – I don’t need nor want to subject myself to being cut down for every interest that I have. I realized at about 20 years old that I don’t need to get cut down just because I’m into the geeky, weird things.
It’s taken time, and I’d say 90%+ the time I do well at just brushing things off. But every so often, something just gets under my skin. This was one of those things. So really, this is just a vent on how stressful familial relationships are. (I love my family, I really do…but I don’t like the stress that some of these relationships put on me)∗