As a freshman in high school, I watched my first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I mean, really watched it. Although I had seen episodes from the original Trek when I was younger, I hadn’t connected with the series. And then, in one moment of boredom, I turned the TV and found “Coming of Age,” the episode that truly made me a Trek fan.
Although I would later encounter the anti-Crusher group among the fandom, I wasn’t familiar with that debate at the time. All I knew was that I had found a show that included a young, smart character, and he was the center of a plotline that was intriguing. I was instantly hooked.
The next day, I went to school and excitedly related to my friends my new find. They were less than interested; indeed, they were scornful that I was a scifi fan. I would soon discover that none of my female friends could relate to science fiction. That didn’t stop me, though. I sought out information on Star Trek in every available moment, and for those of you who don’t remember those days, seeking out information on any subject required a lot more work pre-internet.
After a year or so, my parents realized that being a Trek fan was not a passing phase. My father, who had found a renewed interest in the series through my own obsession, decided that we would attend our first Star Trek convention. I had never been so excited as we entered that hotel where the convention would be held. And when I saw all of the fans dressed as their favorite characters and talking my language–that of a scifi fan–I knew I was at home. I was a science fiction fan, and that was okay with them. We would attend a few more conventions over the course of several years.
Star Trek gave me a new world for my imaginings, one in which there was unimaginable diversity and numerous adventures. Too, among the fans, I found a place where I belonged. Although I have not attended a convention in years, I still consider myself a fan. Trek gave a rural girl an escape that would give her world an added dimension, one that wouldn’t fade even into her middle-aged years.