I attended my first comic con in April, the Salt Lake FanX convention and wrote the following. I’ve decided to finally post it to the blog and follow it up with my new observations from this recent Salt Lake City Comic Con.
Written in April, Geek vs Bully
At 31 years old, I’ve come to a realization regarding the Geek and Bully mentality and impact which is frightening and shameful. Simply put, at 31 years old, I’m still very embarrassed and shy about my love for scifi and fantasy, Star Trek and Star Wars, video games and comic books, and Legos and Action figures. Yes, I’m still a child at heart. I didn’t grow up with comic books, my indulgence in the medium came to fruition in college. However, not too long ago I attended my first comic con and realized, I’m not as brave and haven’t accepted myself in ways the other attendees have.
Shortly after arriving at the comic con, I immediately began judging others in my mind with thoughts like, “Wow, you really should have checked yourself in the mirror before stepping outside.” But a friend of mind corrected me and said the individuals most likely did check themselves out in the mirror and were proud of the costume they put together and proud of being a fan. The only thing I was proud of about myself at that moment? Nothing. I immediately felt horrible for judging them even if only in my mind. What’s wrong with me? And then I realized, I was picked on for years for liking Star Wars and Star Trek. If anyone caught me playing with an action figure after the age of 10, yes it happened, I was bullied and teased. So much so, that I tried to hide what I liked to read and watch throughout high school and into college. I tried to like the books my family liked, but they didn’t hold my attention. In college, I found the section of the campus library with fantasy novels but didn’t rent them. I’d grab a copy, hide in a rarely used section of the library, and read in secret. I didn’t want to borrow the copy and take it back to the dorms for fear I’d be ridiculed.
Fast forward almost ten years, I’m married, have children, and slowly collecting collectable figures, not just action figures. I love my e-reader because at 31 years old, no one sees I’m reading a Star Wars novel. I can’t bring myself to openly celebrate May the Fourth without hiding behind games and activities I’ve made for the kids under the disguise it is to introduce them to Star Wars.
Seriously, I’m 31 and need to get over my issues. My wife mostly thinks my geek side is cute. Every once in a while it overwhelms her. But the bullying mentality needs to stop. It keeps me wanting to hide parts of my personality, and it shaped my initial thoughts when seeing others at comic con. Bullying isn’t just mean, it can warp the mentality of individuals for years to come, and it’s just not cool. Why do we put up with bullies? No matter how many articles I read trying to explain their behavior, I’ve never found an adequate reason. Regardless of the reasons, it’s negatively shaped who I am, and I want my children to know it’s absolutely perfect to like nerdy things.
THOUGHTS ABOUT SEPTEMBER SALT LAKE COMICCON
Over the last few months since FanX, I’ve struggled to come to grips with who I am and how I will present myself as an author at these events. On the recommendation of my critique partner and fellow SHU grad, Cody Langille, I joined the HWA and the local chapter so I could help with the booth at the comic con this last weekend. As I walked around the convention center, I’m proud to say I didn’t feel so judgmental and actually proud for the other attendees. I enjoyed this comic con much more than in April because I allowed myself to enjoy and bask in the wonders there.
I networked with people and meet new artist whose style I like and could see doing cover art or illustration for my children’s series. We learned a lot about running a booth which gathers attention and how we can increase our coverage at future events. I’m glad I got to go and openly embraced my nerd side. Stay nerdy my friends.