When I was first approached by Ashley and the team at Her Universe about the “Year of the Fangirl” project, I could not have been more excited, I knew that it would be an amazing chance to get to know other fangirls, and hear their stories. (And then they told me that the first post they wanted me to do was about me… I love writing; in fact, it is what I hope to someday do for a living; however the one thing I don’t like writing about is myself.) All kidding aside though, this project is one of the greatest ideas I have heard in a long time. To be given the chance to help fangirls from around the world build connections, and to hopefully help bring together the community, has got to be one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.
Science fiction and fantasy have been passions of mine for a very long time, since the first time my dad read me “The Hobbit” as a bedtime story. I got lost in the worlds created by authors like J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling. Though my passion started with mostly fantasy books and movies, I found a love of science fiction a little later on. In fact, I didn’t discover the wonders that lay beyond the stars until 1999… Right before the theatrical release of Episode I, a very good friend of mine, who had always loved Star Wars, found out that I had never seen the original trilogy, and decided right then and there that we were going to have a Star Wars movie ‘marathon’. I fell in love with the movies from the start, but what really started what others have called my “obsession” was the first time I realized that there were books that continued the series. I have brittle bones, and spent a lot of time in the hospital, or laid up at home in a cast, and the one thing that got me though was always reading, because even if my body would not allow me to do everything that I wanted, when I read, the only limits that I had were the limits of my imagination.
Not long after seeing the Star Wars trilogy for the first time, I broke my leg, and ended up in a cast for about 6 weeks. In the first week of my recovery someone who knew that I had enjoyed the movies sent me my first Star Wars book (The Courtship of Princess Leia, by Dave Wolverton). That book got me through a tough time, and from there on out, I was hooked. I read every Star Wars book I could get my hands on, and I began to collect Star Wars memorabilia. Over the years, my collection of Star Wars books has grown to number over 300, and it will continue to grow as long as they continue to publish them. Star Wars opened my eyes to the fact that there was a whole new universe for me to explore, and the more I learned about it, the more I loved it.
Over the years I have been introduced to and become a fan of Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Firefly, and so much more. I love the movies and television shows, but my favorite part of all of these fandoms (aside from the amazing people they have introduced me too) remains the books.
My discovery of the universe of science fiction has led to the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people one could hope to know. Whether it’s Traveling to Dragon*Con, talking to people in online message boards, or just starting a conversation because of a Star Wars shirt that one of us is wearing, becoming a part of the science fiction fandom has introduced me to some pretty incredible people. My best friend and I started talking for the first time because one of us happened to mention being a sci-fi fan while we were working together, and we struck up a conversation.
At Dragon*Con 2010, I had the opportunity to speak to Ashley for the first time, when I asked her about the chances of seeing characters from the Expanded Universe featured on Her Universe merchandise, which in turn started a conversation about the books, and the Expanded Universe in general. I had heard of Her Universe before going to the Con that year, but after meeting Ashley, and hearing her talk about her mission to make a community of fangirls who could share their passion, and support each other, I knew that it was something to keep an eye on, something that would truly make a difference.
I have come to realize over the years that I will never fit into society’s definition of “normal” and while at one point, it bothered me, now I embrace it whole-heartedly. Knowing that I will always be considered different has given me the freedom to be myself, because I have decided that if people are going to judge me, it should be for who I am rather than for how I look, or the disability that I have. I am a nerd, and I am very proud of that fact, and more than anything, I want to help others embrace their inner fangirl, and to help them show the world that they are proud of who they are!