The Gateway Drug

No one exposed me to science fiction as a child. I saw StarWars, but overlooked Princess Leia for the Ewoks, Yoda, and the Droids. (Most of you consider SW space fantasy, anyway.) It wasn’t until the age of 13 when Stargate the film moved my soul.

A few years later, I wouldn’t miss an episode of SeaQuest, and then I saw The Fifth Element and immediately fell in love with Milla Jovovich, LeeLoo, the Diva and everything else about that crazy film. It and Stargate were my staples, watched and memorized a hundred times. 

My inner geek had been awakened, but I was completely unaware. Until then, the only exposure to geeks I’d had was the nerdy guy in The Wonder Years . Paul Pfeiffer, I’ll never forget you – or Coach Cutlip or Karen Arnold, played by Star Trek alums Bob Picardo and Olivia d’Abo, respectively. While I’m a dedicated Trekkie now, in those days, “Star Trek” was something reserved for boys like Paul. For nerds.

Needless to say, like many other 13 year olds, I was struggling with self identity. While it would be years before I ‘d watch a full episode of Trek, my heart belonged to Stargate, to Dr. Daniel Jackson and the possibility of being transported through extragalactic distances of space. (Just wait until I meet the Tardis!!) I also wanted to be an archaeologist, and a paleontologist, and Daniel Jackson seemed a lot more accessible than Indian Jones.

I’d really love to tell you how I watched the premiere of SG1 and made sure to never miss an episode, but I can’t. In 1997, I was drowning in the thrall of high school. Between marching band, boyfriends, and learning everything I could about witchcraft after seeing “The Craft,” my attention was drawn away from the television. It wouldn’t be until the premiere of Stargate: Atlantis in 2004 that I’d watch a Stargate series live.

By 2004, I was a newlywed, and I’ve got to be completely honest: despite watching shows and movies based in science fiction and fantasy throughout my life, besides being the epitome of a nerd as Drum Major in marching band and President of the Writing Club, it wasn’t until I met my ex-husband that I realized what a huge fucking nerd I was. Holy Frak, guys – how do you NOT realize what a nerd you are until you’re 23?

My exhusband and I watched Stargate: Atlantis together and that’s something that I value doing with my partners these days. I remember having so much fun in sharing each episode with one another, excitedly pausing at commercial breaks to talk about what had just happened. We may have had a TiVo then, but pausing to talk about the show happened A LOT.

Many of my Star Trek friends tell me about how Captain Janeway or Beverly Crusher or Xena were their role models. (Yes, I know that Xena has no association with Star Trek except for THE AMAZING PEOPLE WHO LOVED THEM BOTH. She deserves a mention!) It wasn’t until Stargate: Atlantis that I found these women role models myself.

Teyla was everything I wanted to be: beautiful, brave, and fierce. Her body was fit and strong and my bisexual heart may have been a little overwhelmed and envious of her abs, but WOW did she blow me away. I really respected Dr. Elizabeth Weir’s compassion but logical thinking. She was who I felt a great leader should be, someone that was approachable and kind, but could totally go “Maximum Janeway” when needed.

(Of course, I didn’t call it “Maximum Janeway” then because I didn’t know who Janeway was, but looking back, that’s the best way to describe Weir when she’s ready to get things done.)

For a portion of my life, Stargate: Atlantis was more important to me than Star Trek, but came second when it was time to get my first tattoos. I did my Stargate pieces at the same time – the Atlantis gate’s origin point on my back left shoulder and the Stargate address from Earth to Pegagus galaxy down my left arm. I’m often referred to as “that Stargate tattoo girl” and that’s okay with me!

There’s a lot more I could say about Stargate, but I took the time to write this because Stargate was my gateway to science fiction. It was my gateway to self exploration, to the idea of reaching across universes (no matter low large or small), and to discovering a large piece of me that I didn’t truly understand.

Twenty-five years later, I’m damned proud to be a nerd. I fly my geek flag proudly and I fly it wherever I go. I’ve found a family and community within fandoms, whether Stargate, Star Trek, The Expanse, etc. or larger fandom culture in general. If I hadn’t fallen in love with Stargate, how much longer would it have taken me to find my wagon-train to the stars?

This is my Stargate story. I’m looking forward to hearing yours and I’m excited to work together to help Joseph Mallozzi get Stargate back on television again!

#StargateSuperdrive #Stargate #SG1 #StargateAtlantis #SGA #StargateUniverse #SGU