Star Trek turned fifty this week! As a diehard trekkie from the age of twelve, I couldn’t let this anniversary go by without trying to put into words what Star Trek (still) means to me after all these years.
I was just a young geeky teen when reruns from the 60’s show were on TV every Saturday night. I soon found myself completely mesmerized. Kirk and Spock, yin and yang, camaraderie, friendship to the death. They were opposites in so many ways and yet they weren’t at all. In fact, I had crushes on both of them—I could never decide which one I liked best. (Well, okay, Bill Shatner…what can I say!)
Some might think that in the 70’s, with the women’s movement just gaining momentum, there was not a plethora of strong women role models for girls. I would have to agree. Even the female characters in the show, with a few exceptions, often tended to be more sexy than smart.
But the crew of the Enterprise was endlessly brave. They were courageous beyond belief. They literally boldly went where no man has gone before. (And yes, it says “man” not women” but hey, again, it was the 1960’s.)
They were problem solvers. They didn’t shrink back when confronted with something terrifying. Great life lesson there! (And so useful in the cutthroat world of publishing, lol.)
They had a sense of humor even in the midst of some really bad stuff going down. Another survival skill.
The subtext in this show, for me anyway, was—it was okay to be smart. It was okay to be different. It was okay to be exactly who you are. Spock, despite all his internal conflict with the two halves of his seemingly irreconcilable personality, was who he was. He didn’t try to become someone else. Message: okay, so you’re a geeky teenager. Life will get better!
Lastly, this series fired my fledgling writers’ imagination. I was so overcome by it, I started to write my own Star Trek stories (I hate to call it fan fiction, as I was in the sixth grade. More like a hot mess, but hey, it was stories!)
I admit, skipped the latter-generation television series (I’m a purist) but I’ve seen every Star Trek movie, including the last (I cried when the Enterprise broke into bits). I consider myself so, so lucky to have loved this show which taught me so much about bravery, courage, diversity, and just being yourself. Star Trek, live long and prosper! I <3 you!