Yes, this is technically Day Two, but I got behind. So sue me. I'm still doing it anyway!
What words of reassurance do you want to share with people who feel embarrassed about their hobbies?
Two word: don't be. I used to be totally embarrassed about roleplaying on the internet. Firstly, when I tell people about it, they give me weird looks because most of them don't know what exactly it is or they think it's something sexual (role playing does not always equal sexual, people!)
Once you begin to embrace your hobby, you'll really start to enjoy it more fully. If you're embarrassed by telling people about it, then you aren't ever truly going to enjoy it.
Why are you proud to identify yourself as a geek? Can you do this in a way that doesn't condescend or sound elitist?
Oh absolutely. I'm not elitist in any sense. I know that there are many, many better writers out there than me. I'm a great writer, sure, but I humble myself against those I've worked with who are far superior at what we do, especially for the fact that we just do it for fun.
As for why I am proud to identify as a geek, I feel like it is a bit of a club that I can belong to and not be lonely in my weirdness. No matter how oddball I might feel, I know there are others out there who share my passions and hobbies and will geek out (and speak out!) with me. :D
True confessions: If you have engaged in nerd rage or edition wars, what would you say to someone who said they weren't going to try your hobby because you were too negative?
I haven't ever really nerd raged, I don't think, but there have been times where I have been a bit negative about role playing. There are some aspects to all things in life that can be a downer, but you take the good with the bad and try to let the positive outweigh the negative.
Roleplaying tends to become cliquish a lot, because people form friendships as well as routines with certain players that they get used to and they just don't like to break out of them and that can be frustrating when you're trying to break into a game and you can't get people to play with you. Roleplaying also gets dramatic quite a bit, as generally you are dealing with girls and women, with an age range of anywhere between 13 to 40 so the maturity levels vary heavily and it does create difficulties among the players on the real life side of things.
But that doesn't mean you can't get through it. You can always get through it. I've created true, long-lasting and meaningful friendships through my roleplaying and I would never want to give up because I have had a few bad experiences. And I would never want someone not to take it up just because they've heard a few negative things about it. I promise that when you find the right group and the right game for you, it is magic!
When was the first time you realized you loved your hobby (or vocation)?
I realized it the second I started doing it, really. I reaffirmed it when I tried to stop and always came back to it. I started roleplaying in 2003, when I was 17 years old and still in high school, and I've carried it through my college years and now into my adult years. And I don't know when or if I will ever stop doing it. I've taken breaks here and there, but I always go back because it's something I enjoy doing and it's something I can always enjoy doing. It helps me hone my writing skills and it keeps me interactive with people that I may not ever meet, but at least lets me speak to others across the world and learn about their lives and interests and cultures as well as have fun while roleplaying together!
Is there a hobby or vocation you think you'd be passionate about but haven't had the time/courage/opportunity to learn?
Oh there are loads! And there are loads that I've tried to start up and just haven't had the time and/or resources to do. (1) I've really wanted to do sewing and cosplay. I'd love to make some outfits, I just don't think I'd have the craft skills to achieve the awesome outcomes that others do. (2) I've also wanted to try doing vidding. I've actually looked into starting that, but never got very far. I'm hoping I can do it on my Mac with the built in software that comes with it, but I don't know if that's really possible. We'll see. (3) I wish I could draw too, but I can't, sadly. I would love to illustrate my own stories and bring my own characters or settings to life.
I'm sure there are tons more, but that's all I can think of offhand. There are loads of things to do though and I encourage anyone who is interested in something to at least give it a try! Or ask around and see someone else who has done it to see if it would be something you'd be interested enough in pursuing more.