So showed coworker my new tattoo. He’s got full sleeves and was like “Awesome!” but also said “huh. And surprising. Wouldn’t have expected you to get a trek tattoo.”
And I said, “well it has a lot of meaning for me” and he said cool, will have to tell me sometime when we aren’t holding up the line at lunch.
And it was weird as a statement but then I reflected I don’t always express my geeky interests. He doesn’t know. He knows I was fangirling SWTOR and dresssed as Rey for halloween but didn’t know about how I watched TOS as a wee little Aylaa who of course liked Uhura because she was the girl. Who thought spock and kirk were funny because I could understand the 1960s style production as slapstick comedy and missed the groundbreaking aspects.
He didn’t know I discovered TNG in 5th grade. He didn’t know how much I liked Deanna because her hair was flawless and she sat on the bridge and was kinda and embodied all the caring I did not get from my peers, or Beverly because she was a doctor and awesome or Tasha because she kicked ass. He didn’t know that I liked Wesley because he was me- the too-smart kid who often saw issues with what adults did. but unlike me, Wesley was given agency and respect. He was wish fulfillment and I was at the age he was intended for. It was heartbreaking to grow up and go online and find that “everyone hated Wesley.” I didn’t. He was me.
He doesn’t know that when Voyager came out I could see myself again in Kathyrn Janeway and in Torres and later in Seven. He doesn’t know that I found my voice telling relatives “Yeah so, I’m into star trek. and Scifi. And babylon 5 and the matrix. Can you maybe not give me clothing or guess at what I want? I’d really like a subscription to Star Trek Magazine or trek or star wars books.” And that when I found my voice, I asked for Star Trek.
He doesn’t know that in Trek I found Hope and understanding and celebration of differences. I found a humanity no longer at war with itself - because in 3rd grade we went to war in iraq and kuwait, there was war in the balkans, there were terrifying things all over. A post-scarcity society where money didn’t matter - because money was a finite, hard to acquire resource that allowed you to have a leisurely lifestyle and enabled you to go on vacations or get the things you wanted and a lack of which had turned my father into a 6-days-a-week workaholic because he had a family and employees relying on him. Status was gained by how well you do the thing you love, not by looks or by ownership. Learning was valued. Discovery was valued. Exploration for its own sake was of value. Science was good.
Star Wars gave me the Black and White of Good and Evil. The simplicity of the heroes Journey with robots and lasers as a skin. Babylon 5 gave me a future where we’ve gone to the stars… and met ourselves. Where Humanity is one of many races and when we get to space, we still want mom’s lasagna. it was real but forward thinking. Still hopeful but scrappy. Stargate gave me humanity holding on to the rollercoaster by our fingernails, with pluck, determination and teamwork we survived. I loved these science fiction shows but Got something very different from each and I loved the variety.
But Trek gave me Hope. Even when they went to war, it was about being better than ourselves in an honest and not jaded way. Trek was there first.
He only knows that we worked professionally on a Trek-related product for a few years. It was a job to him and he thought it was okay. I was a fan. I don’t think he understood that.
He doesn’t know what Kathryn Janeway meant to me, a female geek, seeing a woman, a scientist, leading a crew. He doesn’t know that TNG got me through the end of Elementary school and the beginning of middle school when children were cruel. He doesn’t know that Voyager saw me through the transition from middle school to highschool and then into the beginning of college. He doesn’t know that I, and many other freshmen, went hunting for a TV in the dorms those first few weeks of college because Voyager was ending. He doesn’t know we sat together and watched them come home. He doesn’t know about me dragging my entire family to Philly so I could go spend the weekend at a convention and meet most of the cast of Voyager. He doesn’t know it was *my* ship and I chased the perfect season for seven years and while I never found it, I treasure the characters and my fan experiences. He doesn’t know that I am collecting the cast’s autographs on my copy of Endgame II (Beltran is the one I am missing).
He doesn’t know of the friends I have made because Star Trek was a shared love. He doesn’t know I have a group of lifelong people I can always go back to, because we were on a Trek/Wars BBoard RPG. He doesn’t know I have met many other wonderful, fantastic and creative people, most women like me!!! Who Like Scifi!!!!!!! He doesn’t know I started writing long-form fiction beginning with Voyager fanfic. He doesn’t know Trek books got me through when I was too young for “adult novels” but hated the YA offerings of the early 90s. He doesn’t know it was where I found I had a voice. He doesn’t know when children were cruel, Deanna was kind, Torres was tough and Seven was smart. He doesn’t know.
Yes, I love star wars and babylon 5 and Stargate. And I have met people through those and was impacted by my love of those as well.
But Trek was first.
I’ll always have the friends I’ve made. I’ll always have the time I worked on the Trek property I did. That is something that isn’t going to change. So that is why I got the starfleet symbol, Coworker dude.
Edit: Edited to add more because Voyager….. Voyager <3