Captain's bLog 052021.04 : Star Trek: A Love Story

Captain's bLog 052021.04 : Star Trek: A Love Story

Star Trek: Tara Midtgaard with Nichelle Nichols aka Lt Nyota Uhura

My love for science fiction and Star Trek in particular, came from my mother. My formative elementary years happened in the 70’s when there were only a few TV channels and we only had a black and white TV. The television was always on what my mother wanted to watch. It was always Star Trek or some sort of science fiction. Initially I was annoyed with my mother because I thought she was just watching Trek because Captain Kirk was handsome (he still is at 90!). Eventually I grew into the woman I am today, and I realized it was Lt. Nyota Uhura that made Star Trek so special for my mother.

All of my fellow Trekkies know the story behind Nichelle Nichols wanting to leave the show in the beginning and ultimately deciding to stay because Dr. Martin Luther King convinced her to stay.

He felt the world needed to see African Americans in a positive light. Lt Uhura was the highest-ranking female officer on the Enterprise. She was beautiful and intelligent. She was a role model for my mom. My mom was a role model for me. My mother was one of the first African American flight attendants with United Airlines in 1969. Mainstream beauty ideals in the 60’s and 70’s were very different than today. So, like Nichelle Nichols, my mother felt becoming a flight attendant was a wonderful opportunity for representation. It also afforded my single Black mother a formal undergraduate and graduate education that helped raise two children alone.

Tara Midtgaard Star Trek Cosplay

In the 80’s and 90’s I watched The Next Generation (TNG) with my mother, willingly and eagerly this time around. I fell in love with Star Fleet and Federation ideals. I was certainly in love with Captain Picard!

I already had a pretty developed sense of empathy and caring for others in my late teens, early 20’s but Star Trek infinitely reinforced that for me. I became a neonatal intensive care nurse where empathy, caring and patience are valuable assets. Star Fleet taught me dedication, honor, and fairness. I proudly wear my Star Fleet delta to work. Once, someone challenged me asking if it was official dress code for my organization. I rattled off the organization’s mission statement and values compared to Star Fleet/Federation ideals and my colleague was speechless. Not only do the two ideals align, Star Fleet exceeds my organization’s mission and values!

I spend 36 hours a week at work. I am lucky, happy, and ever so grateful to be there. If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. Star Trek was the stone that caused the first ripple in the pond. Everything important in life I learned from my mother and Star Trek.

Oh, and it is an absolute HONOR to cosplay Star Trek! (Especially at MFB where all fandoms are welcome!).


Tara Midtgaard, guest blogger for the Community bLog