Embrace the Inner Geek

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I fought it for a long time growing up, my inner geek that is. I spent much of my early years of childhood (up until about age 11) trying to fit in. Be like every other kid in my school. I was athletic and it allowed me to hide amongst the so called popular kids. None of them knew me, none of them were my friends. I would play a game of basketball and slink back to my apartment (an apartment which I was growing increasingly frightened of).

In fact, I bet if you went back and asked any kid I went to school with up until 6th grade not a one would probably remember me. As my confusion over why I didn’t fit in began to become a large part of my life I began to increasingly turn to writing for escape. I didn’t know it then but what I loved would later define me as a big giant geek.

I may have been the only ten year old who could write a thesis on the Twilight Zone. Who could tell you the history and background of all the popular super heroes. I think I saw Star Wars 128 times (a slight exaggeration but not much). I stayed up late on Friday nights and watched Creature Features, delighting when a Vincent Price movie came on.

I never really talked about any of these things with kids my age. I knew there were others like me but I was not good at reaching out. There was some part of me which screamed, “look at me!” but it was always in my head. I would become the invisible kid. When we moved to San Francisco and a new school I simply decided to invent a new me. My first year there I spun stories as large as the Grand Canyon about who I was and what I could do.

I was popular for about a nano second. Interestingly, it wasn’t the stories which cost me. I lost my popularity long before I lost the stories. It was like I had some sort of albatross hanging around my neck and the other kids could see me for what I was. It didn’t matter much in the end. Those kids were bullies and it wouldn’t be long before I declared open warfare on their teasing tactics.

It was then I met Steve & Bill. We would be inseparable friends for the next few years. They loved comics, science fiction, horror, Bo Derek. Suddenly, I had someone to talk to about things I cared about. It changed me. I became less timid. The world didn’t scare me as much. I had places I could go hang out which were far away from the zoo I called home.

High School would be a weird time for me. We moved from San Francisco and away from my friends. For the next two years I was on a BART train as often as possible going back into the city to hang with them. I would eventually make new friends but it wouldn’t be until I moved out on my own where my life would really take off. Weekend long bouts of Dungeons and Dragons. Computer game marathons. I actually taught a class on comics at the local libraries.

When college ended I knew who I was but it would still take me years to feel comfortable in my skin. These last few years I have begun to realize my geeky self probably helped me get through childhood. Gave me something to identify with. A place I fit in. I wasn’t uncomfortable because I was different. I was uncomfortable because somehow I had let the adults around me as a child convince me I wasn’t important. That I didn’t fit in. They were right in a way. I didn’t fit in but it was their world view I didn’t fit into. I fit into mine just fine. Once I learned to embrace my inner geek my world became one of potential and possibilities.

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About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

One Response to “Embrace the Inner Geek”

  1. >Dungeons and dragons wow you really were geeky! I never fit in either. I wish I could have discovered some friends in school like you did… it was very lonely without any. Oh well at least I have a couple now :)

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