Embracing Our Inner Geek

Growing up and being called a geek or a nerd was social self-destruction and being seen as the kid who was weird was awful for me. I quickly decided that I would not be a nerd or a geek and nobody would know that I loved playing video games after school or that I prefered to watch D rate horror movies and could call back almost everything going on with Batman in the 1990’s because I loved comics. 

I remember the first time I was bullied for being a nerd. It was in kindergarten and I had the coolest Batman Velcro sneakers ever. They had the HUGE 1990’s Bat Symbol on one side in black with an awesome bright yellow backlight shining behind and Commission Gordon was calling out for the caped crusaders help. On the other side of the show was a profile of the bat himself zip lining the top of a building. They were bright white and had a total vibe! I loved them. I also was the kid who loved tube socks with the color rings on them and I also coordinated the rings with the shoes I was wearing. So this day in particular, the rings were black. 

The day I decided to hide the person I was happened to be one of the brightest memories from my childhood. I was sitting at the lunch table in the multipurpose room and a girl who was wearing a frilly dress and ruffle socks looked into my soul and said “Alicia you are weird. Why do you wear boys shoes and socks, do you want to be a boy? Is that why you have boy hair?” It makes me sick thinking about it because that was the moment I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to wear what I wanted without being made fun of. I remember not answering her and she and her three friends started calling me weirdo. I ate my lunch, walked to the lunch lady and passed off my little tray. I went to the bathroom and sat in the little stall shaking. Little me didn’t care. I wasn’t going to change. Instead, I went home and told me my and she took me to K-Mart and we bought me everything Batman and from that day on I stopped shopping in the girls department for all of elementary school. 

Embracing the geek that I suppressed for decades happened in micro sessions. I played sports and debated in high school and early parts of collage. I was a national thespian award winner. I loved metal music and found my spirituality in music. I let myself experience fandom but never led on that I was a die-hard fan. I kept that secret. For 25 years I kept it. 

When I was finally able to embrace every part of my love for geekdom, I was in my early thirties and it was one of the most liberating feelings. I went from being in slacks and button ups daily to wearing every graphic tee I could get my hands on and not worrying about who knew I was playing what video game. I learned to love every part of myself and embrace the geek culture that brought the so much joy. 

As I grew with my new understanding of geek culture, I realized that there are fandoms that are socially acceptable and never labeled geeky or nerdy yet, when addressing a die-hard fantasy football player and their geekiness, I was met with hostility. Football wasnt geeky and fantasy football was nothing like Magic and other nerd things. This also was experienced with GOT and those who loved the Potter series or Doctor Who. GOT was socially acceptable because it was loaded with sex and adult themes and Potter and Doctor Who were childish. 

The examples go on and on but my favorite in 2022 is the love hate relationship with adults and Disney theme parks. Until the recent addition of Galaxy’s Edge to Disney parks, non Disney adults were vile to another adults who loved spending time in those parks because it was childish and creepy. But the moment Star Wars entered the parks, those conversations quickly turned and grown men expressed to me the emotional impact Galaxy’s Edge had on them when they saw the Millenium Falcon for the first time in full scale and in real life! Those very men, years before their trip the Disney, tried to cut me at the knees for loving the wonderful world of Disney. But when their favorite films from their childhood had a space to play in, it all changed. 

While more and more genres of geekdom become mainstream with introductions on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney, and with other large name brands, geek culture continues to evolve. And the need to accept and celebrate these moments with our clients is extremely important to help stop the stigma that still circles around the lunch room table. 

Thankfully, our team here at Geek Therapeutics has made it our mission to bring award winning education to all who seek understanding in geek culture and the communities that are built from common interest. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about geek culture and how it can be used in therapeutic practices, we offer a few 2 hour certified continuing education units on geek culture in therapy. Follow THIS LINK and join us on the journey of a lifetime!

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