This is me right now.
Star Wars was a turning point in my life.
I was eleven that summer, and the world of science fiction had already begun to tempt me to fully join the Nerd Side. I'd read Heinlein's Tunnel in The Sky, loved Lost in Space. My main genre was still fantasy.
Then, I met Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. It was love at first sight. I can still study the Brothers Hildebrandt poster for hours, the warm, sunset colors illuminating the abs Mark Hamill wished he had. I had a yellow t-shirt with the same iron-on transfer. I wore it until I outgrew it.
I decided I was Luke Skywalker's sister, Diana Skywalker, Jedi Knight in training. (Remember, we didn't know Leia was related yet.) My long suffering friends in the neighborhood, already used to my dead-serious games of make believe based on stuff they had never read, were dragged into my new obsession. My friend Stephanie was Biggs Darklighter's sister, of course, and we trained together in the field at the end of the street, whacking at each other with unstrung plastic archery equipment for light sabers. She was very good natured about the whole thing, but I knew she really wasn't into it.
I saw Star Wars eleven times that summer. All but maybe three or four times, I was alone.
It was then I discovered that sci-fi and fantasy fandom is sometimes a lonely thing. People don't understand you or your obsessions. When I did find somebody who knew what I was talking about, there was this great rush of joy and we could play with my Star Wars action figures and look at my bundles of trading cards. But nobody was really as 'into it' as I was.
That continued through most of my life. I'd occasionally find friends who were as obsessed as I was about my various fandoms, joined a D&D group, and did other social things with like minded people. But I was always happiest alone, writing my stories that we didn't call fanfic yet, dreaming about traveling other worlds, and re-reading my favorite books. Before the advent of the internet which made it possible for us to find Our People easily, many of us were clandestine, solitary individuals waiting for a sign that it was safe to reveal our secret obsessions.
I found friends who were like me. At last, My People! I married one of them twenty one years ago and we have been happily geeking out for that entire period.
And then, we had children. Muahahahahaha. And we warped them in our image. My daughter and I have conversations in fandomspeak that even my husband doesn't understand.
Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my family today was a joyful event. The moment that crawl and the brass fanfare came on my face started to hurt from smiling. Best of all was being able to share the 'in jokes' that JJ Abrams and crew inserted into the film. And my son, during an intensely emotional scene, putting his arm around me and saying, "It's OK, Mom." He understands my attachment to these characters, and that I have known them almost literally my entire life.
It was everything I hoped it would be. Well done, JJ. Thank you.
And I'm eleven again, even though I will turn fifty on Monday. But this time I get to share my obsession with my family and My People, all over the world.