Coming Home to the Convention

Conventions are a topic we've covered a number of times in previous blogs, videos, and podcasts, but I'd like to touch upon the subject again, with both Raleigh Supercon and Dragoncon looming close. It really is an important thing for me to talk about, because like many other convention-goers, it is a core component of my identity as a nerd. It's hard to overstate how important heading off to these events each year are to me. Many years in the past, and certainly again this year, I've eschewed all other vacations, trips, or fun time off during the rest of the year to ensure that I'll be able to attend my 10th Dragoncon in a row. What makes going to a nerdy convention so special? More than anything else, it is community. I think over the past couple of decades, nerdy hobbies have become more acceptable and common; I'm not saying nerds like me aren't marginalized or bullied in the same ways that I was when I was a kid, but thanks to the internet and social media, at least it's easier not to feel alone in your hobbies. And I think that lies at the heart of why conventions are so amazingly therapeutic for me.

A convention is a place where I can be myself without ever worrying about judgement. It's a place where I know everyone around me shares my hobbies, my passions, and many of my life experiences. It is a place of welcoming comfort, which is something we all need in our lives. This year, The FoundryCast will be present at two conventions: the second annual Raleigh Supercon, which we were thrilled to attend last year for its first iteration, as well as the 31st Dragoncon in Atlanta, GA. Cyrus and I will be covering Supercon together, and I'll be livecasting and blogging from Dragoncon. Hopefully, through our coverage, we'll be able to share some semblance of the experience with those unable to attend.

But my best advice, if you're nerdy like us but you've never attended a convention? Do it! That is, I'm sure, obvious advice, and sometimes is easier said than done. But I know plenty of folks who are hesitant, afraid they won't enjoy the experience, or that if it isn't Sand Diego Comic Con, it isn't worth bothering with. Nothing can be further from the truth. I've gotten some real joy from even the smallest conventions I've ever attended. Being around even a few hundred excited nerds is energizing and fun. The key is to make every convention your own. You can't allow other's expectations or interests to tell you how to enjoy yourself. You can dedicate your time to panels of your interest, meeting celebrities, talking to comic book artists, checking out cosplay, partying down, or mixing all of the above together.

Any convention can be fun, no matter where it is or how many people are there. It's too easy these days to feel disconnected and distant from your fellow nerds, ineracting only through youtube videos, twitter, and the like. Conventions are the best way I know to feel like you really are part of the communities that we love and dedicate our lives to. Standing in the lobby of the Marriot on Saturday night at Dragoncon is one of the few times I feel like I am truly me.