First off, let me just address one thing that’s occurred in my family over the past month because all people seem to ask me about is a certain happy event. I am hypersensitive to my family’s privacy in this matter (plus my sister said she would murder me if I brought it up) so this will be the first and last time I address it:
We are thrilled. My sister is a superhero.
Confession time, people.
I am a geek.
I quote Agent Prentiss on Criminal Minds when she says “I can fool people for days, weeks even. But sooner or later I blow my cover and I say something so geeky.”
I am proud of this geekery. I used to cower before words that connoted any sort of negative aspect to social life. Geek. Nerd. Dork.
I’m not a geek/nerd/dork in the technological sense, although Dad just got an iPad and I did freak a little bit when I saw all of the things it can do. But my geekiness stems from the worlds of literature and film. If there were a ‘phile’ tag to pin on me, it would be both of the cine and biblio variety. It’s why I would rather die than get a Kindle. I live for the feel of a book between my hands, the thumbed down corners, the highlighted passages, the words I don’t understand and have to look up.
Now, I’ve read in some papers that real nerds don’t like it when so-called ‘non-nerdy looking girls’ call themselves nerds or geeks. I may not look like a nerd at first glance, but oh my stars and garters, let’s just look at the evidence shall we?
In sixth grade my science teacher said to my mom in a parent teacher conference that he noticed I would read books that emphatically did not have to do with Punnett Squares underneath my desk. Mr. Zaccarro, the wonderful creature he was, told Mom “I know it’s wrong of her to do that, but I don’t want to discourage her reading.”
In eighth grade we were assigned creative writing prompts. My group convinced me (read: forced) me to compose the entire thing by myself. My revenge was in crafting a very long, very complicated fantasy based the myth of Daphne and Apollo, complete with very long and antiquated words it took my classmates eons to pronounce. It was a good day.
In highschool I discovered friends through the wonderful world of online blogging that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart (yes, I have a LiveJournal. No, I will not give you the address.) and began joining writing groups. I wrote about Parisian bohemians, ancient vampires, Greek mythos, and even succubae. My friends, all brilliant and creative, remain a core group of friends that I am fiercely devoted to. When I publish my novel (which I intend to finish once school stops eating my brain), it will be dedicated to them. Long live the Evil Eight.
On a typical Saturday night in college, friends of mine would go out to such glamourous hotspots as Hilltop Apartments to party and booze the night away. Or, if they were feeling frisky, they’d hit up Huskies, Ted’s, or UCONN Pub. I would sit in my room, order DP Dough Calzones (the O’Zone should be renamed the Ally’Zone), blog, RP with my friends, and watch Lord of the Rings and attempt to learn Sindarin.
Then, things changed. I graduated school, gained self-confidence, lost weight, stopped dyeing my hair black. I didn’t think I needed geekery, although sometimes I would lose myself in a Harry Potter marathon and talk to my geeky friends until all hours of the night. But I got other interests. I thought once I had a ‘real’ job, or once I hit it big in NYC, that part of my life would have to be set aside. Time to put away childish things, and all that.
Well. We all know how that turned out. As Snooki so elegantly puts it, “WAH.”
And now look at me. I’m right back where I was in college. A total and utter geek. I had to cancel hanging out with my best friend two weeks ago because I had to read The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. I read King Alfred The Great’s Pastoral Care at the gym the other day. I forgo playing with a certain wonderful peanut because Alice in Wonderland needs to be read by tomorrow or else.
But now, I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud. It seems that the things that keep me sane are the exact same things as what kept me afloat in college and high school when I felt adrift. I find myself lost in the worlds of Beowulf, of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole, of Antonia and her life in the Nebraskan plains among the scarlet grass.
Even in my drama classes, I felt like the geek that made really bad, obscure references. Everyone looked at me when they needed answers to a question that came from the bowels of geekdom. Either me or my two guy classmates who were our resident comic book geniuses.
Now, I go to class and…I’m surrounded by geeks, too. We geek together over these iconic characters. I was terrified at first when I stepped foot into my grad classes, but they all seem to understand that my situation is a bit different than theirs, and they help me whenever I need it.
It’s the undergrad classes, surprisingly, that are really making my life shine. Today I left Children’s Literature positive that I had a great idea for my final paper. Actually, I had about ten ideas. I have no idea how I’ll funnel them into one thesis, but I’m sure as hell going to have fun trying.
Of course I still love to sing and act. It’ll always be a part of me.
But what did I do every single day when I got home from acting class? Before even opening a play or rehearsing a scene?
I would write. I wouldn’t care what I wrote about or if it was the greatest thing since Kafka turned a man into a roach (nightmare!). I would write and write until my fingers threatened mutiny. Honestly, I’m shocked I don’t have carpal tunnel.
I have entire volumes of short stories. Three novel ideas. Six adaptations. And I was terrified to write down any of it because I didn’t think it’d be good enough. I never wanted to make money off of it. To quote what I said to the people who initially rejected me at UCONN, “I just want to write, and write well.”
Here’s to learning well.
And here’s to the geeks.
Elan sila lumenn o’mentielvo!