This week on May 4th, fellow geeks all around the world celebrated Star Wars day. For me it’s a day that celebrates nerdery in all its glory and you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate it. Any day that celebrates something so geeky is good with me!
I have to be honest, Star Wars isn't really a fandom I'm really a part of. I've seen the original Star Wars films but that's about it. I enjoyed them but the universe didn't really entice me in.
I heard someone on the radio once talking about how there was a window of time to get into Star Wars. It might have been Marcus Brigstocke on his ‘I’ve never seen Star Wars’ Radio 4 show. I also can't remember what exactly he said (doing well here, aren't I?!) but it was something along the lines of you were more likely to be a Star Wars fan for life if you were introduced to it as a child. If you were between the ages of, say, 5 - 8 when you were introduced to Star Wars then the magic would just stay with you.
I don't know how true that is but I do find it interesting. I first watched Star Wars with my now husband in my early 20s. Is that why I never immersed myself in that world? Why I don't really know my Imperials from my Rebels?
All this has made me wonder… If you're introduced to things typically classed as nerdy when you're younger, are you more likely to embrace that when you're older?
Do some people come into this world more inclined to be a geek?
Or can you simply come to it naturally as an adult?
So we never watched Star Wars growing up but we did watch everyone's favourite treasure hunter… Indiana Jones. (If you said Brendon Fraser's Richard O'Connell from The Mummy I will forgive you, however, in this context you are incorrect!)
I was probably in my early teens when I first watched Indiana Jones and it was in my early teens when I first started reading Harry Potter. Those things did stick with me. I still turn to Harry Potter now when I'm in need of a bit of comfort or escapism . And I'm not saying I wanted to be Indie growing up but following an education in Ancient History and working in the heritage sector maybe means I'm not not saying that either…
It was my Mum who introduced me to those things but she also tried to encourage me and my brother into sports. She had been an excellent footballer and she encouraged my brother and I to give it a go. Turns out neither of us were the competitive sport types; I think she was relived when we both took to swimming - at least we were doing something active.
My Dad was really into gadgets and he loved computers and computer games. He's sadly no longer with us but we always say that he would be in his element in this technology age and would absolutely have every gismo going. Before the internet existed, we used the PC to play point and click puzzle games like Gobliiins, Woodruff and The Curse of Monkey Island (still a classic. Hands up if you're excited for the new game!)
Given the choice we would have chosen computer games over football anytime. I wonder if it would have been the same if both parents had been avid football players? Would we have made the same choice or would that choice have been different because our options were different?
Would we have just enjoyed both because, as much as they are made out to be in popular culture, the two don't need to be mutually exclusive.
Or were we just natural nerds?
Sadly, I didn't embrace the nerdery at school. Like many awkward teenagers, I was quiet, just wanted to fit in and I liked what everyone else liked - mostly boy bands and the Spice Girls!
But even as we navigated that tricky growing up, we always had a safe space to be ourselves and to be encourage to have hobbies and interests.
I don't know what made me suddenly feel comfortable in that space and embrace all things geek. I imagine it had something to do with having grown up, finding who I was and, most importantly, being at peace with that.
But I also think starting to make cakes had a lot to do with it - realising that I was in my element when I was making character cakes and realising how much I loved that people wanted to order cakes and character cakes that meant so much to them. Whether they were 4 or 40!
This really allowed me to be proud of the things that light me up and also feel comfortable trying new things, new fandoms and wanting to encourage people to do the same. I want people to feel comfortable coming to me and asking for their Harry Potter cake or something with a Disney Princess theme.
I'd found a safe space to be able to do that. I was always encouraged at home to do what made me happy and then I was able, through my business, to find a little corner of the internet that allowed me to do the same.
And I think that is what's most important. Whether you have been a nerd your whole life or whether it's only as an adult you've found your thing and that group of friends you can enjoy that thing with, that's all that really matters.
You don't have to be a certain age or raised a certain way to be unashamedly enthusiastic about something.
Embrace, get lost in it and fully enjoy it.
Yours in Nerdery,
Tallulah's Bakery is a place where you can share your nerdery through cake and treats.