As far back as I can remember, I have always watched Star Trek. It was my first scifi. It was my first fandom. Spock was my favorite character and he was my first favorite actor. Star Trek and Spock were the beginning of my Nerdom. However, it was more than that. I had a very difficult childhood. My father was an abusive alcoholic. He would break every dish in the house, throw food out of the fridge, beat my mother and throw her into the broken glass and the mess. My mother would cry and clean up the destruction of the kitchen in tears, bruises, and blood. What does this have to do with Star Trek?
Star Trek, to a little frightened girl, was a place I wanted to be. Freedom, equality, and love. I wanted to be in a different world. I had fantasized that Cpt. Kirk and his crew had rescued me from the Monster at home, and took me away to the stars with them. I went on adventures with them. There was a place were people treated other with kindness and not the hatred I grew up with. When the screaming and hitting started, I would hide in my room and cry. When it was all done, I’d be placed in front of the TV and Star Trek was my home away from home.
When my father went to prison, my mother struggled. I was separated from my brother and sister (they were much older than I), and I found that I was alone a lot. Sure, the violence stopped, but the loneliness was profound. I was withdrawn and my tears hadn’t stopped. Cpt. Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the characters had been there the whole time I was growing up. They kept me company when I was left alone. They were familiar and they made me happy. I imagined they were my family.
There was a time when we were staying with different people every few months, moving around. At one of the places we ended up in, the “man of the house” was also a violent monster. I was alone with these strangers a lot. One day, he beat me black and blue. After he left me crying in a corner, I curled up under a blanket in the darkness, and I watched yet another episode of Star Trek. The next day, my mother finally came back and we left. In all the places we went, I was mistreated, neglected, abused…
I struggled with anxiety, loneliness, and even anger. I was so angry. I was angry at my father for everything. I was angry for being so alone. I was angry for being so scared. I was angry at myself. I was angry at those who hurt me, those who hurt my mother. I was angry at life. Spock was all about controlling your emotions, something I struggled with growing up. He was a role model and a teacher for me… when I otherwise had no one. I was far from being a Vulcan… but I could learn from one. Of all the crap in my childhood, there was one good thing. There was Star Trek. There was Spock, my mentor. There was Cpt. Kirk, my hero. There was Uhura, a woman who could accomplish anything. There was Sulu, Bones, and Scotty and the rest of the crew who all played a part in my “family”. There were worlds to explore. They taught me that there was more out there. My little miserable world wasn’t all there was.
If Gene Roddenberry could imagine such a beautiful thing, then maybe there are good people out in the world. I grew up watching the Original Star Trek, then the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and so on. All the rich characters that all played a role in raising this child from the screen of my tv. Comforting an abused and neglected child without ever knowing me in real life. I grew up into a strong woman and I found happiness in life. I have explored and I found all the great things I missed growing up. So, when I say I’m heart broken that Leonard Nimoy has passed away, it’s because he feels like family. I never got a chance to meet him in real life. He doesn’t even know I exist. Yet, I feel his death in my heart. This is what it is to be a fan. This is what a fan means when they say “You changed my life. You inspired me. I love you and I’m a big fan!” I send my love to Leonard’s family and friends. I can only imagine what you must be going through. I cry and mourn with you.
Live Long And Prosper