A little while ago, both Leigh Hart over at Comic Book Daily and Brent Chittenden over at Geek Hard (also known as the really fucking awesome dude who married the Mr. Comic Book Goddess and myself back in September) pondered what it meant to be an ageing geek.
Since I turned 33 a little earlier this month (yes, I’m a Scorpio baby, it explains a lot), I’ve been wondering the same thing. My path to geekdom was a little more meandering than most. I wasn’t always a comic book geek. I read comics as a kid but fell out of it when I felt like there weren’t any characters that I could really identify with. (One of my earliest memories is reading the Wonder Woman book to the left.) Looking back and reading the books that were published during my youth, I really wish that I could have had a gatekeeper (or the internet) to show me that they were there. I just needed to look a little harder (and find a comic book store rather than the local mom and pop convenience store).
During my 20s, I fully embraced my geek self. I did a Master of Arts degree in comic books for crying out loud. I ran a comic book store or two. And then, for reasons I’m not quite sure of, I went off and did a MBA when I was 30. Now, I have a “real” job. I have a husband and have “real” responsibilities that include paying my bills and making sure that there’s healthy food in the house. The days of Kraft Dinner and ramen for dinner are over – though, I will admit that I occasionally dine as I did as an undergrad because that shit is delicious, yo. All that being said, my apartment is still filled with busts and toys and comic books. And I’m pretty proud of that. So, despite my adult persona, I’m still very much a kid…and a geek at heart.
But while I’m an adult, I’m still trying to find my way. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. (Short answer: Comic book blogger. No, seriously.) The longer answer? I want to integrate my geek self and my adult self a little better.
I’ve been over this before and part of growing older has been that I’m way more cognizant of everything and anything that I put online – especially when it comes to being a pro-choice, pro-porn, sex-positive feminist. My politics are polarizing and, while being in Canada helps, I also know that the causes I support might cost me down the road. I’ve accepted that, mostly. But every single time I want to reblog something I have to think about how other people – people who have never met me – will look at it and interpret it. It’s gotten exhausting. Whether this is due to age or the pervasiveness of our digital identities and the blending of those boundaries in our everyday lives or whether it’s due to the fact that I’m too old for this shit remains to be seen.
And, in the last little while, I’ve fallen out of comics. Just a little. This whole NaBloPoMo exercise was to try to get me to get back into writing about comics. Real life had intruded and through nothing more than a lack of time pushed it back. It was something that I’d get to later when I had more time and then all of a sudden I was a couple of trades behind and scrambling to catch up.
There were other issues as well and I’ve been working on putting those thoughts down onto paper and it’s been so intensely difficult – not to mention exhausting – to keep fighting to gain some kind of respect as a female geek. I’m tired of constantly having to justify my participation in fandom and, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve given up fighting the good fight. I’m tired of being tuned out and I’m facing some kind of feminist geek fatigue.
So, what’s the solution? I’m going to keep fighting the good fight, but I’m going to start making more time for it in my life. I’ve asked myself if I’m too old to be a geek or a nerd (or both). I don’t think so. I think that I just need to have a it better balance. I think Brent said it best when he wrote
It’s all about doing what you enjoy and making time for you passions but also having enough sense to space it out with everything else in your life.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!