When I was a child I had to turn to others for the advice that should have been handed down from those whose loins I sprung from. I learned how to shave from my local vet, how to cuddle from the nice man in the park and how to make a shiv out of just about anything from my grandma. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t know these things, it was just that with them being convicted horse thieves we didn’t get much quality time together.

Nowadays though I just turn to WikiHow for help. I’ve developed a lot of useful skills simply by browsing the site during my time-off at the fat rendering plant. I developed my sharp wit through their website, along with my amazing ability to carry scissors safely. My favourite article at the moment is How to Come Out as Gay or Lesbian. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use these new found skills but as I’m neither gay nor lesbian, it hasn’t been easy.

I am however, a geek. And being a geek in such a cool world can be tricky. There have been times when I’ve thought of an appropriately funny Firefly line or felt like a game of Agricola but haven’t had to courage to speak up. Eventually I found the emotional fortitude to stand up proudly and shortly as a geek and come out of the unfashionable closet. I no longer nod my head agreeably when people talk about football. I punch rock stars in the face. I wear my heart on my knitted sleeve.

Most of you are probably thinking to yourself “I’m not that brave, I could never do such a thing.” Well, you’re probably right. It certainly takes a special kind of person to do what I’ve done. To make things easier for you I have adapted my favourite WikiHow article into one more suitable for my dear readers.

Realise that you’re making a brave choice and you will be much happier in the long run than if you tried to hide it

First of all, accept yourself as a geek. You are not a bad person for preferring Star Trek to The Slap. It will not be easy, but you will be a force for social change. Others will mistrust you at first, but this mistrust will eventually grow into the lukewarm acceptance that you are currently used to.

Be prepared

Don’t be intimidated by my use of the Scout’s motto here, I simply mean to think ahead about people’s reactions. Come out to those you trust the most first. Select some people from your friendship group who you feel will react the most positively. This won’t take long, because your friendship group is small.

Choose the first person you come out to wisely

Once you’ve chosen a trusted confidant, don’t ambush them with your news. Tell them you have something important to share with them, something that has been troubling you for a while. Help them to realise that you feel differently to others and have only just started to understand why. Start by telling them about the feeling you get inside when you walk past Minotaur on Elizabeth St or the fear you experience when getting changed in front of others.

Start coming out to more casual friends as you become more confident in your identity

Don’t feel you have to come out all at once. Once you’re a little more comfortable with your geekiness, try sharing it with a few other people. Again, think carefully about who you choose but try to branch out a little more. Remember, you only need a handful of people for a good game of Middle-Earth Quest or an Arrested Development marathon.

Choose the method of coming out wisely

Don’t invite your friends over for Grand Final day then spring them with a custom-made set of Battlestar Galactica uniforms for some role-playing. Think about how you want your geekiness to be seen by others. Not want it to be a big deal? Try slipping into a conversation or making a joke about it. Want them to take it seriously? Put on a serious face  and come right out with it. Don’t provide them with printed materials, they rarely help.

Be wise

You might be in for a rough time. Noogies, wedgies and virginity are all potential side-effects. Consider any people that you are dependent on who might turn their backs on you. Hiding your geekiness from them probably isn’t a good idea at this point so think about becoming less dependent on them. You’ll have to move out of home eventually so this might be just the kick you need.

Be proud of who you are!

Hold your head up as high as your scrawny neck is able. Consider the many notable geeks throughout history. Mila Kunis belongs to a guild on WoW. Megan Fox watches anime. Vin Diesel bears a tattoo of his Dungeons & Dragons character’s name. Sure, they may also have good looks, talent and money but at least a small portion of your Venn diagrams intersect. Remember that people have difficulty accepting that others can be as happy as them. They won’t understand why rolling a natural 20 is so special but to be fair, you don’t get why balls are so fun to play with.

About Adam vanLangenberg

Comic book defiler, board game desecrater, unwanted felon. @vanAdamme
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