Old School Nerding

A previous Tumblr post… accepting myself as a geek that doesn’t fit traditional wife/mother molds has been a life-long struggle.  I really feel like I lost myself for about 20+ years… from age 13 when the neighbor next door laughed at me for not being cool, to high school wanting to fit in (although nerded out about world politics); through my 20’s and 30’s where in DC your job and who you knew defined you.  There where highlights that I smile back at fondly- like my Driftwood crew in college who threw me a Star Trek costumed 21st birthday party.  My biggest regret is hiding that side of me for the past 30 years… so this blog was born.  Now onto my post from Tumblr:

Where ARE the 40ish year old geek-girls? 

With geekdom becoming cool, we see a surge of geek-girls … most under the age of 35… why?  Why so few 40ish gals in forums, meet-ups, at cons etc.  Then I had a “eureka” moment (while doing something once geeky now ultra-cool- COLORING)… the age of the internet.  Stay with me here.

Those of us that are the true Star Wars generation (the 3 original movies being in our elementary school days) were faced with a societal pressure that upon entering middle school/high school to put away our love of Han Solo and worship at the feet of Madonna. To become “Material Girls”.  To live high school like it’s a John Hughes film… and we did.  But somewhere hidden in some of us was still our longing for Han, Kirk, and Mario. We hid it… and we still do today (for the most part).

In college we were told we could have it all- career and kids. It was expected that was what we wanted. I graduated college in 1994. The very dawning of the internet. My senior year most of us had a “PC”… but it was merely a word processing unit. If you wanted anything more there was a computer lab of about 15 computers… 3 of which MAY have been connected to this newfangled thing called “the web”.  A few short years later all the rooms in my college were “wired”.  The girls just 5 or 6 years younger than me had a means to find other kindred geek souls that my age cohort didn’t… and by then we were busy having careers, getting married, buying a house in the suburbs, and having kids… as we thought we were supposed to do. Our dreams of flying on the Millennium Falcon… the ones we had as 10 year olds while we played D&D with the boys in the neighborhood were long gone.  We didn’t have a means to communicate with others like us when we needed it most- our tweens and teens, like the gals that are now in their 20’s and 30’s did.  Most gals my age felt the only way to make it through High School was to be “Pretty in Pink”… to conform.

Now, most of us/them are ensconced in that suburban parenting/career path… still conforming. Kids must play the “right” sports, go to the “right” after school activities  Finding a fellow full-fledged 40ish year old geek is rare  Sure there are lots of 40ish gals to talk to about Doctor Who, some may even read the same books as you… but finding one that embraces their geekdom… that’s when you find a gem

I’m glad that geeks don’t have to hide their geekdom during their formative years anymore… sure no one in your high school loves #10 like you do, but there are thousands out here that do… you’re not alone.  I admit there is some jealousy.  Oh how I wish I could have had a gal to chat with in high school about how much I loved role-playing Star Wars.

Why single out 40ish ladies? Because boys didn’t get the signals we did in high school… sure there was pressure for them to be “cool”… but a guy that liked certain video games could find others in their community without feeling like they were a complete failure.  

I’m thankful that I’m raising a young geek, who is fully embracing his geekdom. Sure he does feel like he doesn’t fully fit in in a school that is sports centered… but he knows he’s not alone. He has internet buddies, he sees others enjoying the same things he does… and he’s found an in-person community outside of school. Through him, I’m happy to be re-embracing my geekdom.  I never did fit in with the suburban mom crew… and now I know why- I wasn’t embracing who I am, I was/am miserable around them.  My hope is that as geek culture becomes more accepted and even revered that more geek-girls of my generation will feel less ostracized, come out of the woodwork and show the soccer moms that there is more to life than being “perfect”… there is passion, there are hobbies that give one immense pleasure, and there are others that can be great parents and NOT feel a need to keep up with the Jones.

May the Geek 40’s rise and be counted!