When Did I Realize I Was A Geek?

by Elsa S. Henry, founder and author at Feminist Sonar, and the new community manager for Storium.com

It all begins for me with a Sherlock Holmes book. I can remember it, clear as day. A thin volume containing the Hound of the Baskervilles, and another containing The Last Vampire, and another with The Red Headed League. They were marbleized in style with an oval Sydney Paget illustration in the center.

It all begins with Sherlock Holmes, but it certainly didn’t end there. My geekery has always been rooted in the written word. Whether it is my lifelong love of Sherlock Holmes (as a child I insisted that I was going to marry him), I had a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery themed birthday party.

Elsa GeekGirlCon When Did I Realize

But what really makes me a geek is that I have always loved to play “pretend” for lack of a better word. I created a whole world to play in (and yes, sometimes we would play Sherlock Holmes), and as I grew older that love of stories turned into a love of doing theater, roleplaying, and the occasional LARP.

In high school, I spent so much time at the comic book and gaming shops that I made friends. We played RPGs on the “Geek Stairs” (the back stairwell of our high school), where we would eat lunch, hang out, and often roll dice. Prior to those years, I had been teased for loving books and playing pretend, and when the days of free play outside ended, my refuge for open play became the theater.

So, I became a geek because of my love of words, stories, and creating new places from scratch. I guess that’s why, as an adult, I’m a game designer and disability advocate who works fervently to create access for people with disabilities to video games and roleplaying games. Because for me, without the stories and the books and the ability to play, I would have been lost. Without the support of my family to continue doing what I love (even when it got me teased in school), I wouldn’t be writing this article.

I’ve been a geek for most of my life, and as an adult, I now work in the industry of geeks, and I married someone who loves books as much as I do, who also enjoys going to Barcade (a bar with arcade games from the 1980s), and I never stopped telling stories.

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One response to “When Did I Realize I Was A Geek?”

  1. Sarah Corn says:

    The image of Alanna’s original cover shocked my nostalgia bone this morning. I devoured that series over and over and over again in middle and high school. Haven’t seen that cover since I bought a newer edition and stopped relying on the library copy.

    Thank you for the mid-week happy!

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