• Star Trek Saved My Life

    Captain Carter, circa 2001
    Captain Carter, circa 2001

    I credit Star Trek, in part, for giving me a reason not to commit suicide in the darker days of my teens. I was hooked from my first episode – a syndicated episode of The Next Generation on a Saturday evening. From that day on, Star Trek gave me a weekly respite from my life where I often felt alone and I expected to be treated badly. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had many dreams about walking the corridors of the U.S.S. Enterprise and being a member of her crew.

    Watching the Star Trek gave me hope. It instilled the idea that the future was going to be better, and that there would be people who confront hard issues with strength, conviction, and grace. It gave me hope that someday I might have a community of people who know that I was an abused child, who understand my pain, and who would stand with me and for me.

    Star Trek taught me about loyalty and integrity. The crew of the ship is devoted to each other and the mission. With each challenge they faced – whether an enemy combatant or a crew member facing a personal dilemma – no one went into battle alone. Their crewmates put their lives on the line to support them or called them out when they were wrong. They showed me what true friendship looks like. I’d never seen that level of devotion before. I was used to being used, ignored, or people who allegedly cared about me bail at the first sign of trouble. The Star Trek community (including the actors, writers, and fans) taught me even though I felt alone and dealing with emotional turmoil to daily basis, that I wouldn’t feel bad forever. It gave me hope to survive, that there would be a day at the time where I would thrive and be surrounded by people love and accept me as I am, and who wanted the best for me without selfish thoughts for themselves.

    At the Star Trek 30th anniversary celebration, a woman sang “Somewhere” from West Side Story. I knew I had to do this song when I studied voice in college. To me, this isn’t a ballad between young lovers from feuding families, but an anthem for all the outsiders who are looking for love and acceptance. The feeling I put into this song is the same feeling I get when I walk into a convention – a rush of love, acceptance, and comfort. I don’t have to explain myself there. I can look at my fellow Trekkies and everyone just gets it.

    I could go on and on about what Star Trek means to me, but I think the best way I can end this post is by saying thank you. Thank you Gene Roddenberry for creating this amazing program that sparked the beginning of this community. You gave me an emotional anchor from which to cling and rebuild. For that I will be eternally grateful. Thank you to everyone who put their hearts and efforts into continuing his vision. I never feel alone in the Trekkie community. Special thanks to Leonard Nimoy who appointed himself the honorary grandfather to anyone who needed it. You are dearly missed.

    Happy 50th Anniversary of Star Trek to us all.
    Live long and prosper.

    Trek Friends - We met at a Star Trek Convention over 1-7-01 Weekend.
    Trek Friends – We met at a Star Trek Convention over 1-7-01 Weekend.
    Gotta Love the Klingons
    Gotta Love the Klingons
  • Minimizing my Star Trek Collection?

    I always think about Star Trek this time of year. The future birthday of Captain Kirk is in March; First Contact Day is in April; and this year we have the next Star Trek movie coming out in May. I’ve already asked my friend and fellow Trekkie Scott Movie Mantz to let me tag along to the premier.

    A snippet of my Star Trek collection
    A snippet of my Star Trek collection

    Star Trek occupies a very special place in my heart. Some people say The Godfather has the answer to every question. For me, it’s Star Trek.

    When I was a kid, Grandma Lou would send my parents cash to get us Christmas gifts from her. I think my parents always gave us the money so we could get whatever we wanted. I always saved mine for the summer. I went to gymnastics camp and one of the activities was a trip to Great America – one of Paramount’s theme parks. I spent every cent at the Star Trek shop on postcards, t-shirts, figurines, and stickers.

    Starfleet Academy sweats
    Starfleet Academy sweats

    When eBay came into existence, it opened a new world for my Star Trek collection. I remember bidding until the last minute for the Women of Star Trek t-shirt. That thing was awesome. I did a lot of bidding on autographs of the Star Trek actors too. At last count, I have 46 autographed 8x10s. They used to hang on the wall, but now they’re in protective sleeves in a binder, on a shelf with my Star Trek Encyclopedia and Hamlet in Klingon. (I love that I have a book in Shakespearean English and Klingon – 2 languages I can’t understand.)

    When I started my minimalism project, it made me think about my Star Trek collection. I’ve gotten rid of quite a few things over the year, some of which I regret, but most that I don’t. A significant amount of what I have is in a box. It makes me wonder how much good it’s doing me in there. Depending on how much shelf space opens up, I might display more of it. I think I’m going to get rid of a fair portion of it too.

    I love this shirt, but it's too big now.
    I love this shirt, but it’s too big now.

    When I lost weight in law school, I shrunk out of all my Star Trek attire. I have the Starfleet Academy sweatsuit that was always too big for me and now it’s really too big. I was really bummed last spring when I realized I’m too small for my captain’s white dress uniform jacket. (I want to replace that because I liked wearing it and being called “Captain.”) And there’s also the cheeky, “If you’re wearing a red shirt – run!” t-shirt that makes me smile but is too big.

    There are other pieces of my Star Trek collection that may be leaving too, like my mini lunch box and The Original Series Pez dispenser set. I have a feeling my Klingon dagger will be part of the collection that I keep. We’ll see how many pieces from my collection that I used in this video will survive the clean out.

    As I’m cleaning out my stuff, most of the things I don’t use or need will be given away to charity. I don’t think I can do that to my Star Trek collection. Instead of giving those things away, I think they will be re-homed to other Star Trek fans, people who will appreciate them.

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  • SALK Day 19 – Why I Love Star Trek

    Today’s sponsor is my dear friend from high school, Sara Shea.  She asked me to write about why I love Star Trek and how it continues to be relevant in my life.

    I started watching Star Trek with The Next Generation when I was 13.  I saw my first episode on a Saturday night while I was waiting for Mom to finish making dinner.  It only took that one episode for me to be hooked.  Watching the show became a fixture in my schedule through adulthood.  I also sought out other Trekkies.

    I was often a withdrawn, angry, and lonely child.  My experiences with people taught me that most people could not be trusted and that it was every man for himself.  I had seen the dark side of humanity and I believed that that was how everyone was.  I had learned that trusting people led to being hurt and so it was better to be alone and trust no one.

    I fell in love with Star Trek because of the interpersonal relationships between the characters.  Each person was vastly different and yet all of them were accepted with their talents and their faults.  I admired the level of devotion between them – they never abandoned a friend in need.  They also had integrity. My experiences had taught me that people will be deceitful and hurtful if it benefitted themselves.  On Star Trek, I saw characters who did what was right – even to their own detriment, and they protected those who could not protect themselves.

    Watching Star Trek gave me hope.  It gave me a different perspective for seeing the world, to have hope that people could behave better than what I had previously seen and experienced.  It taught me that the battered and weak could become strong and empowered.  Star Trek gave me examples to emulate, of people who can support the unpopular but right argument.  It’s a hard thing to do, and often a lonely position to be in.  Star Trek was one of the things that taught me that I have a responsibility to be that person.

    There have been many times in my life when I felt like a freak – for being a geek, bisexual, and at times outspoken and aggressive.  Star Trek showed me that being different didn’t make me a freak; I just bring something different to the table.

    I love going to Star Trek conventions.  I love the overwhelming feeling of acceptance that I feel the second I walk into the convention hall.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet forward-thinking smart people.  For many of us, Star Trek is not just a show.  At the risk of sounding cultish, it’s a way of life; it’s a special perspective on the world.

    And in case you were wondering, yes, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Riverside, Iowa – the future birthplace of Captain Kirk.

    The signature of all of my emails is a quote from Star Trek: First Contact: “Don’t try to be a great man.  Just be a man, and let history make its own judgment.”  I love this quote.  It is constant reminder that my job is to work hard and have integrity.  It’s not my job to decide what my impact on others will be.  I give the attribution to the character, Zefram Cochrane.  It’s not a blaring announcement that I’m a Trekkie, but it lets my fellow Trekkies know that I’m one of them.

    Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Sara Shea.   For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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