Some of my closest friends are either on the road south, right now as we speak, or are already getting into some fun times in Atlanta, Georgia. Dragon Con, for the 32nd year, is going down this weekend and I am still up in North Carolina hoping everyone has a fantastic and safe time! I have family stuff planned for this Labor Day weekend and I was not able to take off from work, but I am also feeling like I am missing out and there is some real regret for not making the journey this year.
I remember when I first heard what Dragon Con was truly about. It was described as equal parts costume contest, geek-fest, and PARTY! They said there were thousands of people at the convention with a huge parade and group meet-ups happening all weekend long. I heard something about celebrities being there, but not in the scope of their attendance nor of panels of any kind. I thought to myself, Yeah, it sounds like it could be fun, but I don’t think it is for me. As I grew closer with my new friends and learned more about Dragon Con, I was urged to go and that all would be revealed. I still didn’t know what the whole thing was about, but I listened to their stories and imagined the spectacle.
I would see the delight in Laura’s eyes as she shared with me her plans before the Con, and the same twinkle when she would tell me crazy stories of what happened after the Con. I remember Jeff showing me prototypes of armor and weaponry he was fabricating, and I wondered what other amazing costumes would be debuted that year by other Warhammer or Warcraft enthusiasts. I remember Zach’s nonchalant coolness and John’s almost electric eagerness before each Dragon Con. It sounded like a major deal and a whirlwind experience… and I missed out on it year after year.
Strangely, I noticed that I began to develop a bit of a depression around that time each year. My friends would prepare and talk about it for months, then disappear for almost a week in some sort of Fellowship of the Con journey. They would come back with stories and riches. I always thought whole process sounded like a bit of a hassle and a big personal investment with preparation, scheduling, transportation, and lodging. But, I still felt like I was missing out on something special.
I was only able to go to my first Dragon Con because of misfortunes at my previous job and because John needed a roommate to share his hotel cost at the last minute. I was able to throw together a costume and us two fellows had an interesting journey of our own down to Atlanta. After a tram ride into the city, we got checked in and walked into one of the hotel concourses. That is when I learned that all of the stories were true; it’s a spectacle and a huge branching event that spills over into every inch of floor-space with whimsy, frivolity, and quirk!
I went to great panels and I was surrounded by the widest variety of colorful characters you can imagine. I could see how my friends had loved their experiences, and yet somehow, things felt a little off for me personally. I was expecting to see the convention through THEIR colored glasses so much that I hadn’t really thought of how I would see it through MY OWN colored glasses. It was a different feeling and experience for me, where I could see where the fun was happening, but I wasn’t feeling it myself as much.
I always wanted to be somewhere just slightly different from where I was, like I was one step out of time with the moment. I wanted to be in a group when I found myself alone, or I needed more space when I felt too surrounded. I wanted to be watching people from a good perching spot when I was down on the floor or squeezing through hallways, continually on the move. I was having a good time, but I knew inherently that I wasn’t having enough fun, or I didn’t feel as if I was doing things the right way to soak in every second.
What I believe I learned most is where my ability to go with the flow and be satisfied with all things has an end, and where I might have uncovered real social anxieties. I am learning more of what I can handle, how I need to regulate myself throughout the day, and how I need to recharge. I am glad for this realization so that I can continue forward attending conventions and making them absolutely worthwhile! Supercon this year was my first step forward, taking control and making the convention my own.
Again this year, I am feeling rather down about not being there. I feel like I am missing out on making memories with my friends as our continents begin to break apart from the friendship-Pangaea we have created over the last 5-10 years. I want to be at all the panels that might serve to inspire the FoundryCast brand and push it to the next level. I want to see the costumes and to be good enough to show off some of my own.
Mostly, I am glad my friends are getting to have a good time and let loose a little. It has been a weird and rough year since last Dragon Con and these people deserve to blow off some steam and to revel in all of the fun to be had there. I will be excited for Zach’s posts all weekend and to wrap up with him in a live podcast sometime next week. I look forward to hearing his stories, to see Laura’s pictures, to catching up with Jeff and John about all of their adventures. So while I am still feeling down that I didn’t get to go, I am excited to hear how it went.
And hey…. There is always next year.