Growing Up Geek
written by Trisha F. (@LatentBlonde)
The rise of the nerd is upon us. Everywhere you look, from media and Hollywood to literature and real life, it has never been cooler to be "uncool." Everyone is wearing glasses, tech-savviness is seen as a requirement, and dare I say pant legs are getting shorter? As a lifelong nerd in a pretty atypical sense, I am reveling in the embrace of geek culture. I’ve never been ashamed of walking on the nerdy side, but my childhood obsession with fashion and good genes have provided me a lucky out—nerd on the inside, chic on the outside. I never got teased or bullied, but I’ve always been immersed in sci-fi and fantasy, video games and computers, and Japanese animation. I sometimes experience surprise from people when I reveal my knowledge about all things geeky, but it seems like such an omnipresent and huge part of me the surprise itself is strange to witness. I grew up geeky, and I owe it all to my amazingly nerdy family.
Although my parents also came from decidedly non-nerdy roots (dad was a year-round athlete playing baseball, football, and track and drove a red convertible and my mom pretty and outgoing), they both managed to be huge nerds. Dad was always into science fiction, from the major novels Battlefield Earth and sci fi periodicals like “Analog.” My dad read us The Hobbit as a bedtime story, and continued through the Return of the King. Mom has Korean notes in the margins of Tolkein and Bradbury. When renting movies my dad’s choices were always the ones we liked best—“Red Planet,” “The Fifth Element,” and “12 Monkeys,” it seemed like anything he chose was destined to be good. My dad also introduced me to anime, which remains a huge love of mine to this day. We started with “Mermaid Saga,” “Guyver” and “Tenchi Muyo!” Mom loves science fiction movies and television, so one of the few shows we were allowed to watch was “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” She was strict, but we always were allowed to go to the theater by ourselves to watch the “Star Trek” movies. I also saw every single remastered “Star Wars” film when they were rereleased, from Episode One to “Return of the Jedi.” Of course, growing up a nerd, I had already seen the original three many times. My parents liked technology as well, so we had everything from sound systems to record players, video cameras to cell phones.
"the middle of three girls, I was a doting younger sibling and a role model simultaneously... it was my job to make peace and facilitate communication between my sisters, who have a significant age gap that I managed to bridge"
Since I am the middle of three girls, I was a doting younger sibling and a role model simultaneously. I felt like it was my job (who am I kidding, still my job) to make peace and facilitate communication between my sisters, who have a significant age gap that I managed to bridge. Luckily, some of that glue comes from our nerdy upbringing. My older sister has always been a computer nerd. We’ve had computers almost as far back as I can remember, from Commodore 64 to word processors and modern machines. She learned Perl and C++, had us on the internet and played multiplayer online games. I idolized her and wanted to be just like her, so I tried some coding and immersed myself into online fandoms. I didn’t take to it like she did, but she is a huge insight into me knowing about the technical side of geek culture without dabbling myself. My younger sister and I shared a love of anime, and more artistic than either of us other girls, she would draw amazing characters and reproductions from the anime we liked watching. Taking it a step further, she even started reading manga and playing some of the games involved. She has cosplayed Kitana from “Mortal Kombat” and Faye Valentine of “Cowboy Bebop.” Probably the biggest system gamer of all of us, my younger sister mastered the levels of “Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” beating bosses for me when I couldn’t keep up. She loves her handheld systems, too, from the DS to the newest Playstation. To this day I prefer watching others play first person video games. I introduced my sister to the world of fanfiction and we began to fangirl out about a multitude of books, shows, and games.
Without my family, my nerd side would never have flourished. I can’t even imagine not obsessing over anime and pouring over my favorite science fiction novels. Even though my dad has passed and my mother and younger sister live far away, I feel like our shared loves of all things geek bring us closer together and give us even more reason to stay in contact with one another. My older sister lives close enough to spend time with, so we continue to bounce nerd ideas off of one another, she advises me about which technology I should choose when it is time to upgrade, and general geekery. I am a nerd, and quite proud of it.
Trisha is a true geek at heart and a die hard Whovian. Also very active in the Yelp community as a member of Seattle's Elite squad with Justin Prince, check out her Yelp feed and also follow her Instagram and Twitter. She brings a fresh perspective to geekdom, look to more contributions from this absolute Lifted Geek.