Did you guys know that there’s a Geek Pride Day? I didn’t until last year. It originally started in Spain in 2006 before spreading around the Internet to become an annual celebration of all things geeky. It’s tomorrow, and it is the inspiration for this weeks theme.
In case you missed them last week here’s a wee link to June’s questions 🙂
Seriously Geeky Sundays is a brand new weekly geeky prompt starting today. If you’re new then head over to the SGS information page to learn everything you need to know.
At the end of this post is a link-up for you to pop a link to your own answers into it.
My answers for week #8
What is your Geek origin story?
Books and 80s/90s cartoons were my gateways into geekdom. I didn’t realise what got me hooked on fantasy until I sat down to write my personal statement for my English Literature degree application; it was George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. I remember reading it with my dad when I was a kid and I absolutely loved the fantasy elements of it.
At the same time, I was the only girl growing up along with two other boys. We were all only children, one was my cousin who lived one door down and the other boy was a guy who lived a few more doors down from us. I was considered a tomboy by everyone because I was just as interested in He-Man, Ghostbusters, Thundercats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as I was Barbies and Cindy. I was extremely proud of my TMNT coin collection which I finished before the boys did.
As technology grew and developed my cousin and his friends would get into video games. As I talked about in my Games That Define Us piece I couldn’t play them (console games and me just don’t work), and it would be many years later that I became a gamer. But I stuck with the cartoons, and the development of satellite TV and the creation of the Cartoon Network meant I had access to even more. Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain Planet, Defenders of the Earth, Jonny Quest, Silver Surfer, Dungeons and Dragons, Moon Dreamers and more, all shaped my geeky interests. There was some Batman thrown in there too, as well as Muppets, Thunderbirds and Stingray and eventually Star Wars.
Once I was old enough to read on my own I started devouring anything I could get my hands on, mostly books about animals to start with. Then the entire world opened up to me – my local library. I think you only needed to be 13 or 14 to get books out of the adult section of the library. By that stage I’d already picked the small teenage section of the library dry of everything decent; mostly point horror and some point fantasy (that’s where I picked up my first Tamora Pierce book, Alanna the First Adventure). The Internet was still new and inter-library loans didn’t exist yet, so for several years before I was old enough to travel to and from the bigger town library, I made do with what was available in my local library.
If I thought a library opened my world up, you can imagine what the Internet did – it exploded it.
Suddenly I had access to everything. I remember wasting so much paper printing things off because I didn’t realise I could save them on my computer. I could find episode transcripts for shows I missed, order books off of Amazon. And even better I found people to talk to who didn’t think I was weird. I’ve said before that the Internet saved my life and it’s not an exaggeration. I was a severely depressed, bullied teenager and without the solace that people online gave me I would have probably have done something drastic.
I fell in with a bunch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer roleplayers, and from there I started roleplaying online. I started in a yahoo chat room, moved into yahoo groups and then eventually onto message boards. It was a very drama-filled period of my life and I quit several times, eventually leaving when I was manipulated out of a community I built and maintained for 12 years (a long, dramatic story which I’ve moved on from). It ended up being one of the best decisions of my life, and while I sometimes miss roleplaying I don’t miss the way it consumed my entire life or the never-ending drama.
It did end up teaching me to be self-sufficient in a number of fields. Over the course of 14 years, I learned how to code a website from scratch, graphic design, basic PHP coding, world-building, and so many other things that I would never have done if I didn’t have the passion of my hobby behind me. It came in handy when one of my Information and Library Studies projects was to design a website and I was the only one who could code!
Over the years I’ve had multiple domains and websites. I used to run my own RPGs, website listings, cliques and more. I was a member of the fanlistings community for a quite a while somewhere in there. Fanlistings are “an online listing of fans of a subject, such as a TV show, actor, or musician, that is created by an individual and open for fans from around the world to join”. If you’re curious about my old websites you can view their designs here.
Over the years my geek identify grew to proudly include blogger and gamer. I’m sure it will grow to include more as time goes on.
What does being a geek mean to you?
I always remember this quote from Simon Pegg:
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. … Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
As someone who is extremely honest sometimes to the point of being blunt I really appreciate his point, and the first time I read this quote I realised how right he was. So many people go through their entire life pretending to be something their not, trying to ensure that they make others happy or that they fit in. Geeks really don’t give a crap. I honestly owe my dad one for that because he has that attitude and he passed it on to me.
So for me being a Geek is about freedom, and loving what you want without caring what others think. It’s about finding solidarity with like-minded people because of something that makes you happy. Essentially it’s everything this prompt is about!
How do you express your geeky side?
By not shutting up about it! 😀 Get me started talking about something I love and I’ll keep going on and on. I have to try really hard to not gush when someone says they’ve read a book I know. I think I freaked out someone in my Masters class by doing just that! That’s why blogging is the perfect hobby for me. I can talk and gush all I want and no one can stop me!
In a more real-time/physical sense I express my geeky side with geeky fashion and accessories. I love geeky t-shirts, socks and bags, and as a stationery lover geeky stationery is an absolute must!
What are some of your favourite geeky websites and places to shop?
For geeky fashion, I absolutely love Sports Direct and George at Asda. Despite its name, Sports Direct has a wide range of clothing and some fantastic geeky items for great prices. Likewise, George has some great items, especially cute sleepwear!
For gaming T-Shirts, a firm favourite of mine has always been Jinx.com. They were one of the first places to do decent gaming T-shirts and while they’ve begun to move away from franchises you can still get some great stuff there. Use my code justgeekingby_870 to save 10% per order!
Etsy is my go-to for anything unique and handmade, and you can pretty much find anything there including smaller and unique fandoms.
Who are some of your favourite geeky celebrities?
I don’t tend to be a fan of that many celebrities for themselves because most of them tend to end up letting me down in one way or another. I prefer to admire them from afar and be a fan of their skills as an actor, author, etc. There are a few that I’ve either had the fortune of meeting or interacting with or have come to admire through their actions.
Those I admire are Felicia Day, Will Wheaton, the Supernatural Cast, and Melissa Benoist and the rest of the female cast of the Arrowverse shows. Felicia and Will I really admire for all the work they’ve done outside of their TV work/celebrity status. They’re both incredibly talented, hardworking individuals who love what they do and they share it with everyone. Felicia’s book You’re Never Weird on the Internet is a fantastic read and her total honesty about who and what she is has always been amazing.
Likewise, Will has been vocal about his difficulties with mental health for a long time now. I’ve not yet read his autobiography, but I’ve read a lot of his blog posts and other stuff he’s posted and it’s so refreshing to see someone with influence talk so candidly about mental health.
Another celebrity who has struggled with mental health is Jared Padalecki from Supernatural. The rest of the cast has stood by him and supported him, helping to create the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ campaign for people feeling suicidal.
As for why I singled Melissa out; for those who are unaware she announced earlier this year that she was in an abusive relationship. She chose to do it by Instagram TV in a deeply moving and hard to watch video so she could control the narrative, and honestly, she is amazing. Along with the rest of the Arrowverse ladies, she is part of the Shethority initiative that is described as “a positive place for women and the feminine to inspire, empower, and share”.
I’m also a big fan of the cosplayer Tabitha Lyons, who makes up one part of the father-daughter cosplaying/prop making team Artyfakes. Tabby is absolutely lovely, and while I didn’t quite have the courage to say hi when I saw at her at a convention her panels were great.
Finally, a shout out to the wonderful authors Adrian Tchaikovsky and George Mann who I had the pleasure to talk to at SFW last year. George is really just another one of us geeks and he’s currently creating some great videos with fellow author Cavan Scott on their youtube channel Strange Matter so go check it out!
Who are some of your favourite geeky bloggers?
I’m going to apologise right now because 1) I can’t list everyone I love and read, and 2) whenever one of these questions I always forget people. I’m going to limit myself to my top 5 geeky bloggers, and if you’re not listed it’s nothing personal <3
What I love about Megan’s blog is the wide variety of topics that she covers, and she puts her heart and soul into everyone one of them. Her mental health in the geek community series is brilliant and always on point, and she has some wonderful 30-day challenges that you can take part in too.
Sadly the wonderful Pepi has been super busy for a while now, however, her blog is still filled to the brim with loads of wonderful content including her amazing Geek Anthropology and Pop Culture series!
Vicky is one of those people who has a passion for everything shines through in her writing and her blog is filled to the brim with it! From Harry Potter to TV and book reviews, her blog has a bit of everything.
One of the most caring and generous people I know, Mariah’s blog reflects this through her attention to detail. Topics range from gaming, to reviews and opinion pieces, and each one always leaves me with something to take away.
Like me, Meghan’s Blog is a fusion of her geeky interests, life and disability. She has such a great variety of topics, and her book reviews span so many genres there’s something for everyone! I’m especially a fan of her baby name posts as I have a fondness for names from my roleplaying days.
Add your links below!
Taken part in this weeks prompt? Pop your link in the link-up below and check out some of the other participants too.
The link-up opens on Sunday 24th May 2020 and will remain open until Wednesday 27th May (GMT time zone).
Over To You
Wishing you all an awesome Geek Pride Day tomorrow, and every day! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about my background, and my geeky interests. Check out the links in the link-up to read the geeky origin stories of other bloggers and see their answers too.
What’s your favourite thing about being a geek?
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