In the past many had a view of those into geeky hobbies as purely being overweight men living in their parents basements. They were imagined as being awkward and reclusive, not coming out to see the sun and engrossed in childish pursuits. As times have changed and geek culture has become a big part of the mainstream those views have changed. Today you can go online and watch people playing your favorite games for money and competing in professional esports events. In the world of video games we have personalities representing our hobby on late night talk shows. As it tends to do the fads of the world have changed and this time it's led to all that was once made fun of being cool.
As I write this post, it's Thanksgiving. At my house my brothers, sister, and other family members are around and everyone awaits dinner. Growing up in my family has given me a lot of perspective on how different people perceive each other. I am the geek of my family obviously and proud of it. One of my brothers shares many of my interest, but being an art teacher and much more the creative type, he looks at video games, comics, and Rpg's from a critical perspective. He analyzes how everything is made and how its parts become a whole. Most other members of my family have no similar interest. I live in rural north easter Kentucky so like most people in my area they grew up with a common sense approach to life. They learned to work hard from an early age, and with their hands. My oldest brothers are more interested in cars and similar matters. Although suprisingly my middle brother knows quite a bit about Star Trek.
Being around them all got me to thinking about that old sterotype of geeks. Growing up I was the wierd one of the family. My brothers and parents didn't always get me. My mom was understanding, but my dad never got why I liked the stuff I did. Of course he was still watching very old westerns until the day he died. It occurs to me that there is as usual a reason people looked at people like me in such a way, but they never had the chance to understand. Wherever you 're from most people around you live their lives in a similar fashion and share common views. There are always those of us though who just don't fit. Wether it be just a difference in personality or something more like a mental or physical health issue, for some they have a reason they like different hobbies and subject matters. Maybe I should say "liked" as I have pointed out that today the culture is diiferent.
I fall into that something more catagory. I am a person who is not in great health. I have been type 1 diabetic since I was 12 years old. I'm 41 now. Looking at me most people don't pick up on my problems as I try to keep myself as healthy as I can and maintain my independance. Growing up though my disease caused me challenges and obsticles people porbably dind't think about. For instance I had to take insulin shots at certain times of the day, so going out at anytime I wanted wasn't easy. I had to and still do have to watch my blood sugar and that puts limits on my eating. Because of this I often stayed home. I didn't play sports. And wha'ts a kid to do in that case. Fnding some kind of escapism is almost essential to just deal. I found that in video games. From the Mario games to Rise of the Dragon, on to Metal Gear Solid I kept myself entertained. I grew up the guy in front of the screen who stayed home and when he did talk to his friends he knew way too much about a subject others found nerdy and uncool.
I get why they viewed me that way. Until you're in another person's situation you just don't know them. Pile on top of all that my social awkwardness, I was probably hard to get to know. Now I want to make it clear though. While I never had a real problem with bullies I remember seeing people mistreated in my school days. That behavior was and will never be okay. While people like myself had problems with breaking out our shells it makes no excuse for those who take advantage and try to bully others for being different. And more often I saw others not even try to be friends with someone, because simply they didn't understand that person.
We live at a time know though where society readily views new hobby trends and interest as an oppertunity to find something cool. People who are growing up like I did have an oppertunity to let people get to know them and socialize, with much less fear of embarrassment then before and I hope a lot of kids embrace it.(Adults too) And on the flipside I hope people who aren't as prone to geek subjects look at the oppertunity they have. If they meet someone who seems shy and closed off, but holding the latest game they are headed home to play, they might want to say hello and with an open mind try to make a new friend. They may find they like this stuff too. I know a few out there are going to say I'm exaggerating and it's all good for the geeks. People don't treat us like outcasts anymore. But trust me, there are still a lot who are just as I've described. The good thing is that you are right, we aren't the outcast anymore. More and more everyone is getting to see what it's like to be us and are joining in the fun we have. It's a good direction we're headed in.