May the 4th is coming up. For the non-geeks out there, this is known as Star Wars Day.
I don’t like Star Wars Day. Not because I don’t like Star Wars. I love Star Wars, in fact! Well…I like most parts of Star Wars.
No, the reason I don’t like Star Wars Day is because absolutely every geek on the planet will go shouting to the world how awesome Star Wars is. Why does that make me nervous? Because I’m afraid the rest of the world will hear. And yes, this is crazy person logic.
I don’t know what it is, but everytime someone starts speaking loudly and proudly about one of their fandoms, something inside me cringes and gets embarrassed. I get overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm that people show for their fandoms. How I have survived Errol’s enthusiasm is a mystery to many.
Now, those who know me know me as a proud geek. I talk about my geek loves on facebook, on twitter and during pub nights. Heck, I’ve started a career based on my geeky loves (an unpaid career, but a career nonetheless). But every night I will go home and wonder if I’ve unleashed too much of it on the world
You see, my openly geek pride only developed in the last five years or so. Before this, I was a secretive and silent nerd. My closest fellow geek friends obviously knew I was a geek and I would take great joy in sharing in their love of all things games/fantasy/sci-fi.
But even then, I was very careful in just how much enthusiasm I showed. Take my music for example. The majority of what I listen to is movie scores. I love them. They help me write and they let my imagination go wild. Unless a song is funny, I don’t often listen to the lyrics. If I like a song, it’s how the sound of it makes me feel more than what the words are saying.
You would think I could admit this to people. You would think that I could talk about a simple thing such as music to my friends, ESPECIALLY my quirky geek friends. But what was my reaction when someone would walk into my room while I was playing my music?
(I dare you to watch that for 9 minutes…)
If this were highschool, it would make sense. Highschool is a cess pool of judgement (although I was lucky to have the couple of friends I did). But this isn’t highschool. It is the adult world, where you discover the wonderful truth that not many people actually care about whether you’re a geek or not.
Actually, it’s even better than that! Geek has become much more mainstream in the last few years! Half the facebook posts I see are pictures of Star Wars or Game of Thrones or Patrick Stewart. Somebody makes a joke and most of the world laughs with them. It’s actually a glorious time to be a geek!
And yet, every May 4th, I slump down low in my chair, chest tight, fists clenched, terrified for everyone who is proclaiming their love of Star Wars to the world because SOMEONE. MIGHT. HEAR. THEM.
Am I ashamed? Am I afraid of being overly enthusiastic? Does enthusiasm overwhelm me? Am I afraid that people will find me annoying? Is this just some residual terror from my days of being bullied? Do I not like sharing my hobbies and interests and want to hoard them for myself like a dragon hoards gold? Am I just afraid if I reveal my love of Star Wars but don’t know enough about it I’ll be shunned from the geek community?
The answer to all of these is yes. I’m crazy.
It’s not just geek things either. One time I went to a friend’s church service. I was raised United. If you’re United, you don’t even necessarily have to believe in God to be a part of it. It’s the Facebook of religions. But still, there is a formal, somewhat serious tone to services. People come in, they sit, they listen and contemplate, and then they leave.
Pentecostal is…the opposite of that. Suddenly I was surrounded by exuberant Christians who loved nothing more than to let everyone know just how much they loved Jesus. Which isn’t a bad thing. But for a private worshipper like me who keeps 99% of her religious views to herself, it was fairly terrifying.
And so it goes with all geek things. Oh, I’m improving, bit by bit. When I was 24 I learned wearing geeky t-shirts is a good way of weeding out potential geek friends. At 25, I discovered that reading comics in public, while not getting me a boyfriend, certainly got me more male attention.
At 26, I went to my first convention, and boy was THAT a test on my nerves. Most people revel when they discover a large group who share an interest they thought only they enjoyed. Me? I panic.
Crazy, enthusiastic cosplayers EVERYWHERE! People yelling, screaming even, random quotes! Telling the guests that they loved their shows! Don’t tell the guests! THEY’LL THINK YOU’RE WEIRD! AAAHHHH!
I’ve grown to love them now thankfully. And only now a I figuring out that being enthusiastic about the things you love can lead to good things. Now I’m writing entire plays on my video game obsession. And wouldn’t you know it, people are listening.
But May the 4th…is still overwhelming. It will be my Everest. In many ways, I have changed a lot. I will even talk to non-geeks about my geeky hobbies. When I find out someone likes something I do, I’ll get excited and start a long discussion.
But there’s still that small part of me that will remain guarded and quiet. I don’t think wanting to be private is a bad thing. Besides which…Star Wars fans can get scary.