A moderately long time ago in a remote Ohio town absurdly far away, there was a young girl named Kathleen who decided when she grew up she would be a Jedi. Unfortunately, a short time later, reality set in; her mother gently informed her that girls who were nerds were “just plain weird” and she didn’t really want to be viewed as that, did she?
When this homeschooled chicken first started college full-time at 16, she was scarred by her first encounter with nerds. It was unfortunately with one of the bad varieties; they were purposefully rude and offensive and they seemed to have a distinct aversion to personal hygiene.
These nerds belong to a special class, according to my good friend So Purely French Antoine. They were groups of gamers and, as any exploratory nerd knows, encountering them can be a permanent turn-off from geekdom. I theorize that because they operate on the fringes of normal society, they reinforce their own frightening subculture.
Regardless of why, they sufficiently managed to frighten me away from embracing my nerddom … until one day I Netflixed the new “Star Trek” movie. And, just like that, with the simplicity of throwing a switch, I became obsessed. I became a Trekkie.
Around the same time, I became close friends with two Finnish exchange students. They taught me their language and instilled in me an indelible appreciation for Finnish culture. I was still a nerd girl at heart, but had very few like-minded friends from whom I could seek guidance. I was apparently hiding it so well that it was hard for me to make new nerd friends.
That was when I met So Purely French Antoine. Antoine and I were set up through a language exchange (as you can probably gather, I have a thing for languages) and, purely by chance, we clicked. And he was all-nerd. We chattered in French and he became one of my first nerd mentors. A few weeks into our friendship, he was already pressuring me to play DotA.
For those of you in the know, DotA is a MOBA mod for a map for Warcraft 3. For those of you outside the know, that means that DotA is a game inside a game. It’s a MOBA (a multiplayer online battle arena) and it’s a modification made for a map of the popular video game. Over the course of one weekend, I installed and reinstalled Warcraft 3 no less than 22 times until it finally worked on my Mac and I had a chance to attempt the game.
I failed at DotA.
In my defense, I didn’t know I’d need a mouse. I was using the trackpad, with a very bad internet connection. Half the time I couldn’t see my avatar and I kept getting disconnected. By the time we had finished three games, I had died many, many times. Antoine was thoroughly frustrated with me, and I was fairly certain gaming wasn’t for me.
That was when I met my Militantly Nerdy Boyfriend Alex. I was convinced I was unlovable and, furthermore, I was very happy being single. He proved me wrong on both counts and took a more full-immersion approach to my nerd training. I’m fairly certain he has my enculturation mapped out down to the finite details. And he got me into video games that I actually enjoyed.
The would-be Jedi grew up. She became a rambunctious screenwriter, a pseudolinguist, a really bad fashionista, and a Finnish fangirl—but, above all, no matter how many labels she wears interchangeably, there’s that one label she wears proudly now.
She is a nerd girl, and these are her voyages, bravely exploring new worlds and civilizations, going where that little Ohio girl could never have gone before…
Captainess Kirk a new column running on Kate-book.com every other Thursday at 10:30 am. It is written by the fascinating Kathleen Kirk. For more of her adventures, follow her on Twitter here and check in for future columns.