Speak Out: YANA (You Are Not Alone)

MaryLouWho September 15, 2011 No Comments »

I’ve always been a geek, but it was not so very long ago when I was afraid to speak out about it.  I didn’t have geeky friends and I didn’t know where to find them. I was sitting alone watching Star Trek reruns and didn’t have anyone with whom to share my vast stores of sci-fi knowledge. I just thought I was weird, and so did most of my friends. I mean, there were these mythical nerds out there that I read about on the internet, but it always seemed just a casual hobby for people I actually knew.

Then, at a sci-fi convention, I finally met them. Nerds. I mean REAL nerds. This-is-how-I-live-my-life-and-you-can-suck-it nerds. And they were my people.

So now, I geek out about being a geek! Of course I still have my obsessions with Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate, and all things Joss Whedon, but the community of geekdom is what excites me most. I’ve been to 6 conventions this year, with two more to come. Before, my most ever had been 2 conventions in a year! Needless to say, this has been one of the best years ever. While other parts of my life aren’t perfect, or even great, I have a wonderful social life.

That's me there on the left…my first cosplay at the tender age of 15.

Conventions are some of the best places to meet people, because you already have something in common with everyone.

They’re also some of the most accepting places I’ve ever been. I’ve never felt judged or intimidated while at a convention.

Most attendees know what it feels like to be bullied or made fun of and wouldn’t dream of inflicting that upon anyone else.

I don’t want to say it’s a gathering of freaks, but to the outside world that’s what it must look like. In reality, it’s just a flock of like-minded people, congregated to celebrate their interests.

Even within that unified group, there are many sub clans. Gamers, costumers, partiers, lurkers, panel attendees, and more. I’d probably say I belong to the costumer and partier groups. My first costume debuted back in 2003, but only recently did it become an obsession. I met my new geeky friends because of the first edition of my TARDIS dress. They are Doctor Who cosplayers as well, and we hooked up at a panel when a spontaneous photo shoot broke out. I’ve never looked back!

Thanks to meeting a few geeky seamstresses and tailors, I’ve learned to sew fairly proficiently. Half of my closet holds

costumes now, and most of which I made myself. I have a lot of fun sewing, bonding with friends over projects and problems, and finally showing off my finished product. Part of the appeal is being able to see your progress and really having something tangible when

This is my TARDIS dress, from October 2010!

you’re done; the other part is letting your costume help you make connections with like-minded people.

My favorite part of conventions are what my friends and I call “shenanigans.” Basically, we have a couple drinks and run around in costume. I guess it sounds silly when I say it that way, but it’s amazingly fun! We have a little liquid courage and get more into character than usual, showing off our costumes in the process. I guess it’s something you have to experience for yourself, but that’s what this week is all about! Encouraging others to join in the geeky fun!

So whether or not you’re a costumer, go to a convention. Stay in the host hotel if you can – trust me, you’ll have a lot more fun! Bring a friend if you like, but if you can be a little outgoing, you’ll make plenty right away. Don’t be afraid to approach other geeks about your interests…chances are they’re just waiting for someone to talk nerdy to!




P.S. Props if you get my title reference. 🙂

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