The art of fangirling: What it means to be a true geek

This article is probably some kind of expansion on my homegirl Emily’s article “A definition of geek.” I was also inspired to write it after seeing so many genuine people and true geeks during my weekend at Setsucon with Antipode Geek Bellydance. A recap post on the fun I had with the bellydancers is forthcoming!



“What is means to be a true geek? Stewie, dear God, please tell me you aren’t here to tell us how and why to geek. Could you be anymore presumptuous?”

Before your hackles get raised too high, and you knock down my door shouting “KILL THE BEAST” with pitchforks in hand, read this post. I’m not the entitled geek-shamer that the title may lead you to believe.

Geek doesn’t start in grade school for everyone, but we can see how the subculture of a typical high school has made the fangirl to feel ashamed of what they are. The noogies and wedgies weren’t reserved for the jocks or cheerleaders, oh no – they were given to the “geeks” – the nerds, the otaku, the academics, the Sci-Fi club, the theatre kids. And yet geeks today still treat other geeks of certain fandoms, or of no particular fandoms, with disrespect or even disdain.

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At Setsucon this weekend, I met so many genuine people. So many people who were in an environment that made them feel comfortable enough to be their true selves. Yes, some of them may have been considered a little bit socially awkward, obnoxious, or child-like. But the truth of it was, what some may take as being “socially awkward” was really just a fearless attempt to try to meet strangers who shared the same passions in a short 2-day span. What might be mistaken by some as being “obnoxious” was really just a boistrous excitement for a fandom. That their “child-like” attitude was them expressing themselves in a way that was unhindered by doubt. None of them held back in expressing what they loved, and why. They were being true to their geek selves. And it was glorious, and beautiful. But… it’s not always easy, and not all fandoms are necessarily created geek-qual.

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This chart, while hilarious, probably makes certain furry people feel like crap.

Yes, sometimes geeks shame other geeks. In the proverbial high school of geeks, comic book fans are giving LARPers swirlies, and Trekkies are giving Furries slushie facials. How can they call themselves geeks, when they know the stereotypes, and the way that the strange subculture of high school has made it hard for people who love something to feel comfortable expressing that love?

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Totally fluffy and loveable. Via aceofgeeks.blogspot.com

To be a fangirl, or fanboy, is to embrace something, ANYTHING, without fear of being shamed for it. And that goes both ways, for the taboo, and not so taboo. Maybe “furry fandom” is something that’s hard for people to understand, but it’s just as legitimate as any other fandom. Hell, you can fangirl about normal things too! Coffee, the stock market, football, Bieber, celebrity gossip, fashion, or nail polish. Things that weren’t always wedgie-worthy, YES, you can geek out about them. As Emily puts it in “A definition of geek“, a geek can geek out over anything they want to geek about. When you finally coming to grips with what you truly love and who you truly are, then you too can fangirl.

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You can definitely be a pizza geek.

People can have things that they like, but the fangirl comes out when you’re not afraid to be in a giant roomful of people and squeal excitedly about whatever it is that you love. It’s going to a convention with people who are being true to themselves, and being your true self right along with them. It’s that child-like enthusiasm of Christmas morning coming out all over again. It’s singing songs loudly and hoping others join in, without being ashamed. It’s dancing because you’re so excited that you don’t know how to express it other than to wiggle and jiggle your booty. It’s making a high pitched “Eeeee” noise like a “Woo girl” because you’re just so thrilled about something that you might explode if you don’t express it somehow.

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I guess a little anecdote is in order. I have a younger sister, named Natalie, or Noot Spoot. She’s 27, but she’ll always be 5 to me. And Natalie has always been a fangirl. She loves Disney, heart and soul. She unashamedly loved it as a child, she loved it through high school, and she continues to love it to this day. I was more jaded. I couldn’t fully embrace my love of Disney until I was an adult, even though I adored Disney as a kid and still loved it. When I was in high school, I felt like Disney was, well, for kids… and couldn’t really bring myself to say, “Yes, I’m not a little kid, but I freaking biddidy bobbidy love Disney.” Seeing my adult sister continue to express her unashamed love of Disney is what inspired me to finally come out of the “fangirl closet” and embrace something I always felt too silly or ashamed to really embrace.

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When I was finally able to say that I was going to love what I wanted to love, no matter what society might think about it – including Disney, which I had my own personal misconceptions about – that was when my true self was born. I began to surround myself with people who wouldn’t shame me for it, and who would encourage any and all geeks to geek about whatever it was they wanted to geek about – be it little kids’ cartoons, costumes, coffee or Christmas. You can geek out about anything if you aren’t afraid to reveal your love for it loudly, and without being afraid of getting a slushie to the face.

It’s very possible that I’ve made it sound like to be a true geek or fangirl, you must be EXCITED about something. That, I think is true, but perhaps you express it in a different way. I’m ENFP after all, and I tend to throw glitter at everyone and everything! I get excited, and sometimes I need to be calmed down a little bit. Some of you out there are not boisterous, loud, excitable types – and yes – you still fangirl. So to introverts and less squealy types, I leave you with this: As long as you express your love of whatever you love however you want to express it, without being afraid, then yes – you geeked it good.

The true geek of today is now the one who is unashamed of their love of whatever it is that they love, and they don’t shame others for their loves either. They scream, dance, squeal, and get real giddy over stuff. They accept the furries and the Beliebers. They are not going to let you dip their head in the toilet anymore, oh no – they are geek, hear them roar.

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5 Fandom Friday: My Favorite Things About Winter

I’m not winter’s biggest fan, certainly, but you could never enjoy the warmth without the cold. I guess it’s the Anna in me, and the Elsa rarely comes out – but she is in there, and yes, she does appreciate winter! So without further adieu, it’s time for my 5 Fandom Friday – winter edish.

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Wilson Bentley Snowflakes Photo from needsupply.com

Snowflakes

Anytime it snows, I have to imagine what’s really coming down… yeah, frozen hydrogen and oxygen atoms, whatever science people, shut up. Snowflakes are gorgeous, unique crystals in an unimaginable number of possible shapes and designs. I love those frosty little guys flying around like tiny little jewels. And they construct such magical things too! I totally get Wilson Bentley’s sick obsession.

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Photo from portlandmercury.com

Cuddling

Any excuse to try to get warm. I love to curl up in bed under loads of poofy blankies with all the pets and my hubby, and try to stay warm. The heater in our house has been acting up lately, so it’s been colder in our house then usual. That means – a cup of cocoa, a couple cats, a poofy puppy, a warm cuddly husband, and a blankie pile. Mmm!

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Photo from 1001bottlesofbeer.com

Winter beers

Mad Elf! Yum! I just love trying all the super spiced brews only available during the winter months. And I’m not too picky when it comes to beer and trying them. Hoppy, porter, Belgian, lager, wheat, I’ll try them all! If you’re on Untappd, let’s be friends!

spirit-hood

Photo from meowsaidmissy.tumblr.com

Cute scarves and hats

It’s time to get cute! There are so many adorable scarf and hats out there to wear in the winter months, like those from Yummy You, ModCloth, Spirit Hoods, or Japan Lover. Any excuse to wear something with ears, am I right?

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Photo from highheelsandlipgloss.com

The anticipation of spring and the Earth being reborn

I don’t really like the cold so much, full disclosure, so during the chilly winter months, I sit in patient excitement of the coming Spring. I imagine the sprouting leaves breaking through the soil and ice, the baby bunnies being born, the trees and their tiny green buds, and the life of the Earth being renewed as the wheel of the year continues to turn. Yup. I’m a hippie.


Leave a comment and let me know what you love about winter!

Things I’m Loving Lately

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Adult Wednesday Addams

Melissa Hunter has a Facebook page for Adult Wednesday Addams now! If you haven’t seen Melissa Hunter as a glorious vision of adult Wednesday Addams, trying to find an apartment, walking dogs, having a one night stand, or applying for a job, then you haven’t had a proper kooky and awkward spooky experience on YouTube. She hasn’t made too many videos, but I am hoping with the debut of this Facebook page she will be making more. Check her out, and like her new Facebook page!


Predestination! OMG Mind Blown!


This time travel, paradoxical, science-fiction mind-bender will definitely keep you interested, confused, and a little disturbed. I basically can’t say anything about the movie because I would hate to spoiler anyone, but – if you like thought-provoking movies or science-fiction, watch it!


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Retro Video Games

I’ve been reminiscing with my IGGPPC co-staffers about retro video games! Read this blog post we all put together about our favorite retro video games. Last night, I played Oregon Trail, and I can’t wait to dedicate this month to celebrating and playing all the classics. I also think I’ll be streaming my adventures this month (and maybe into the future!) so I’ve been working on a Twitch skin (which includes a nice screen shot from the horrifying Amnesia.) So stay tuned for my Twitch debut!

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Good Mythical Morning

Mark discovered a nice little gem on the YouTubes, called Good Mythical Morning. A couple of quirky dudes named Rhett and Link, who seem to do so much as “Internetainers” (Internet Entertainers) including #GMM. Their North Carolina accents are too cute, and of course, they eat weird food. Not a huge fan of them eating live meal worms, (poor wormies…) but the show is always a hoot.


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My new desktop background

‘Nuff said.


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Myers-Briggsing the Crap Out of Everyone

I’m an ENFP… like severely. And lately, I’ve been over-analyzing everyone about their Myers-Briggs everything. I am determined it is the only way to determine if you’ll be able to get along with anyone. Take the test, and comment to tell me your personality type!


Making up weird nicknames for Benedict Cumberbatch


Thanks for reading what I’ve been into lately. Comment with what you’re into! Check out a podcast I did this week with Defective Geeks and an interview I did with Megan on The Nerdy Girlie!

Who’s That Geek? It’s Steve Gadlin!

I met my kindred cat loving spirit, Steve, the way I meet most awesome people – through Twitter. Steve has brilliantly made his dreams a reality, and makes a living drawing cats. You heard me right. Drawing cats.

First of all, I cannot begin to give Steve enough props for building a career out of something so seemingly simple but genuine. That takes drive, charisma, and of course, a generally awesome attitude that makes people trust you enough to give you their hard earned money.

Steve has a charm and a charisma that can only come from not giving a frack what people think about you – and those are my absolute favorite kind of people. You can only be your true self if you are not afraid for people to think you’re a fool, and Steve – you’re my role model in that aspect. I love his attitude of not being afraid what people will think of you and try to live by that daily.


This is the beautiful drawing Steve gifted to me!

I love following Steve on Twitter because he posts fun and joyous pictures of cats he draws for people daily! I know you want to rush and ask him to draw a cat for you right now… But for now, be satisfied in his answers to these 5 simple questions.

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Love the hat, Steve <3


1. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a game show host. I liked the sport coats, the smiles, and the oh-so-smooth intonation!

2. You’re a food! What are you and why?
I’m a pickle. I eat a lot of pickles, and talk about pickles all the time. So if some magic creature was to turn me into a food, I’m sure they’d go with pickle.

3. What was your favorite cartoon, comic, or funnies strip growing up?
While I loved comic strips, I had a stronger affinity for anti-comics. I loved the parody comic strips they’d publish in Cracked and Mad magazine, all of which led me to start my own strip in high school called Silly Cat Comix. My favorite comic book was Groo the Wanderer.

4. Who do you cast to play you (real or fictitious) in a movie about your life?
Oh boy, that’s tough!! I suppose I cast Paul Reubens. But a young, pre-Pee-Wee Paul Reubens.

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Someday Steve, someday.

5. What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t feel good enough to follow their dreams?
Hey dummy! Follow your dreams! You live, then you die. So do stuff, eh? We’re all making up the rules as we go along. Sometimes following a dream is as easy as acknowledging it, and casting it out into the universe (or social media).

Thanks to Steve for stepping out of the litter box and onto my blog for a moment, and be sure to check him out at IWantToDrawACatForYou.com, and check out his new TV project – Steve Gadlin Starmakers! It started as a KickStarter and has been funded, so congrats Steve!

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5 Fandom Friday: New Years Fandom Resolutions

It’s back, another awesome 5 Fandom Friday post! You can learn all about the origins of this great project here. The general goal of this fabulous experiment in blogging is to smash creative blocks, crash into other geek bloggers online, and have a bash with all the nerds out there, fangirling and fanboying over their respective fandoms. Here are my New Years Fandom Resolutions.

1. Sell Word To Your Unicorn stationery and sticker at a table at a convention.
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Source: chkimbrough at Kamicon
It would be amazing to be able to “do the con” without having to do the con, if you know what I mean. They are so exhausting! You have to walk the floor, fight the crowd, get exhausted, and have no where to rest. When you buy a table at a con, the con comes to you! You can see a parade of all the fabulous costumes, chit chat and socialize with people, and make money doing it! My dear friend and co-staffer at the IGGPPC, Sparkles, is a lucky and talented girl who does this very thing, and it would be a dream of mine to find out how she does it – maybe even share a table with her someday! Oh dreams… maybe someday the joy of geeky and kawaii stationery sold in real life can be real!
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Someday my little store, someday…

2. Grow the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club website to 30,000 registered members and reach 100,000 hits a month average site views.
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I have some specific number goals for the IGGPPC, and with the popularity of the club steadily increasing day by day, I think this goal is attainable. We hit a whopping 85,000 website hits in August during our Geekies Award fame, and I’m hoping for something equally as awesome to happen to us next year, if not even greater! The IGGPPC has also revamped its system a bit for 2015, and we have some exciting new features and projects in store for Iggles. You can read all about it in this blog post. PS: We’re hiring staff, so please, apply!

3. Everyday Cosplay/Disneybound every Friday.
fluttershy-yay
My friend and co-worker Daina and I have been talking about doing Disneybound Fridays at work for some time now. But I just keep forgetting, or things come up… but not this year! 2015 is going to be the year of the Everyday Cosplay and the Disneybound. I will be posting them every Friday under the #Stewiebounding – so stay tuned. You can expect Fluttershy, Rocket Raccoon, Captain America, Elsa, Anna, and so much more.

4. Take a trip to see Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and of course, Disney World.
Via PopSugar
Source: PopSugar
I hope if I type this resolution out, that we will magically have loads of money to make this happen. They opened Diagon Alley in July, and I have been dying to go see it ever since! With an immensely immersive Hogwarts Express, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and even Celestina Warbeck with a live performance, I would sooner kiss a mandrake before I would miss it. And of course, my love of Disney knows no bounds. I would love to get back to EPCOT for the Food & Wine Festival and Halloween, 2 of my favorite times at Walt Disney World. And I would consider seeing what they have done on the grave of Maelstrom, not that I’m happy about it. #SaveMaelstrom

5. Attend a few Geek Girl Brunches, wherever I live.
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Source: The Crazy Bat Lady
Mark and I had planned to move to NYC in the spring, but now we just don’t know where we will end up. It’s between Philadelphia and NYC but all things depend on Mark getting a job. Once he gets an offer, we will probably take it – so the sky is the limit. But once we find our next home and settle in, I am planning on having some serious bonding time with my fellow Brunchettes in my local chapter of Geek Girl Brunch. Fancy drinks and fandoms? Count me in.


I hope you are keeping up with the fun that is 5 Fandom Friday – I know that I would be so without inspiration with it. I am so pre-occupied with the IGGPPC and other projects, that this fun creative un-blocking project has saved my ass several times now! What do YOU plan to do in the new year? Leave a comment and let me know!