When I was a kid, everyone was excited and happy about going to the moon and how the future was going to be automatic joy and robotic service and intellect more powerful than our own, the inhuman intelligence of science and technology, were going to make our future perfect.
I resist the temptation to whiplash into the tar of cynicism. We really did believe we were going to change things and make the world a better place. As I endured the place my family left me to, the vistas opened by reading and the ideas presented in Star Trek were seed in a very young, very active, and very different mind.
I was too young to understand Spock wasn’t real at first. For a short time, I thought that television and its content was live, because, well, there it was on the screen and clearly they were nowhere around. But laughter and derision taught me better and I became intensely interested in how such things get made.
I never had the money, time, and opportunity align to do more than dream of making such things. But in my head, there are so many tales and stories; they are sketched on palimpsest memory that fades over time… no different than any other material, I suppose. Cerebral celluloid? They flow together after a while, but that’s ok because they always turn into more interesting things as a result.
ANYWAY…. I loved Spock in a way that transcended attraction or even possessive interest. He was my first guru of the ironies of the neurotypical; his mock-emotionless tone immediately countered by all the layered threads in vocal production, I could hear both what he said, what he didn’t say, and frequently sat mesmerized at how easily and readily those around him appreciated, accepted, and acted in accord with him.
I wanted that. And somehow, for reasons I didn’t understand, I never seemed to find it.
But I always found what I needed in thinking about Star Trek and Spock.
Spock wasn’t emotionless. He was masking. Just like me.
Spock wasn’t without feelings. He repressed himself. Just like me.
Spock wasn’t slow or stupid. He understood that there are just some things no one else wants to understand or care about.
He had the same struggles as me. He had the same challenges. When Pon Phar came and he lost his mind, I finally knew that there IS a context in our human experience that reflects mine…. but I also learned that expression of that in any way, shape, or form is met with immediate and summary derision, dismissal, and indifference.
I loved Spock because I felt like Spock and Spock felt like me.
All I wanted in life was to live long and prosper, just like anyone.
Just like you.
Just like all of us.
In a lot of ways, Mr. Nimoy gave me something I did not have and which I sorely needed. I might even go as far as to say the presence of that character, in that time, was more important to me as a little abandoned girl who was “too different” than mere words can hope to convey.
As I grew up, I became aware of how many “different” kinds of people live in our shared world, on this little blue dot. And I really thought I invented the concept of ‘neurodiversity’. I’ve spent my entire life reinventing the wheels of others – some I’ve improved upon, others I’ve abandoned. That’s what happens when you don’t have formal education – you have to struggle and map this stuff for yourself and repeat the process of the work to understand it in a way that mere memorization cannot manage.
But in every case, the manner and method I found, eventually, was uncovered, discovered only because I decided way back then that “I am ‘a Spock'” and that this was not only ok, but exceptional. I needed to understand my “spockness” deeply and well so I could help others understand me. Who knows, maybe help many others be understood too?
The polity and parity of “Spock” is probably one of my earliest and most treasured touchstones. It may well be THE thing that allowed me to cope with all the rest.
I do belong. My being is known at least in some manner in this life. While many injure and disregard me, I know that at least one pattern of being that is accepted and acknowledged and appreciated.
While that was a horrible idea for me as a brain and a person, it was precisely what I needed in a time when that list was long and without checks.
I didn’t stop referring to myself as “Spock” until I lost it all in the dot com bust. I felt like I didn’t deserve the name. That, my friends, is a sucky feeling. I just became “an alien” because all the right connotations were there and, to my knowledge, there were few hate groups involved. Seemed a good spot to land.
I didn’t stop referring to myself as “an alien” until I met my husband. He’s autistic, likely ADHD as well, and, well, he’s a Spock, too.
All of this being my usual over-blown way of saying something much simpler than it deserves to be:
Thank you, Mr. Nimoy, for everything.
(image By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)