"They thought to use and shame me but I win out by nature, because a true freak cannot be made. A true freak must be born."---Olympia Binewski
I discovered ‘Geek Love’ in a local bookstore (the now defunct John Rollins, Bookseller) when I was fourteen. At the time, I had no idea what I held in my hand; I was merely looking for the next thing to read in the way that only a lifelong reader (or an apex predator on the hunt) can truly understand. I took ‘Geek Love’ off the shelf based solely on the cover:
Hey, that’s me.
Sure, why not?
I grew up a lower working-class brown kid an affluent, overwhelmingly Caucasian suburb. By the time I found ‘Geek Love,’ my parents weren’t really together, but weren’t exactly divorced. I had been introduced to an older brother who I had always heard of but had never met, and had come to believe might actually be just a family legend (Sorry, Scott). I began to question the Lutheran faith in which I had been raised. I started to understand that I liked girls and boys. I certainly looked nothing like my blue-eyed, predominantly Dutch friends, and I didn’t really think along the same lines either. Here’s the part where, in many narratives, I would tell you how I longed to fit in, that I cried myself to sleep at night dreaming of having perfectly curled bangs. In actuality, the only thing that felt off was how comfortable I was in my weirdness. Something inside said I shouldn’t want to be unusual, but it was the only place that felt right. Reading ‘Geek Love,’ I saw a family that was different, and loved differently, but did indeed love. I saw the danger of fanatical devotion. Most importantly, I began to see the beauty in the bizarre.
‘Geek Love’ changed my life by helping to solidify the person I would become. I no longer felt I had to pretend to want to be something I could never be. I could just be the weirdo I always knew I was. That is an attitude I still hold today. I’m not for everybody, and some may even find me off-putting.
I’m OK with that.