It's Dangerous to Go Alone, Better Take A Camera
I haven't been to a convention in years. I used to go frequently, but that tapered off as life started to happen. I lost touch with a lot of the nerd things I loved doing because I always felt there were other, more important things to do. They were all dumb excuses so I decided not to listen to them. Instead, I decided to celebrate the fact that I jumped on a great team that pay me enough to feed my nerd habits by going to my first con since 2008 (holy crap it's been that long?). It was a whim so I didn't have anyone to go with, but I did have a shiny new camera that I have no idea how to use so I packed it up and was on my way. The con in question was The Los Angeles Cosplay Convention which was being held in Long Beach because of reasons and it was unexpectedly glorious for several reasons.
I Had Forgotten How Chill People Were
Going alone to anything can be a little intimidating. I go alone to a lot of places, I'll be honest, but it's mostly movies and nice restaurants. I like going to new places alone first so I have time to just take everything in before taking anyone else. I feel like I'd miss something if I take someone with me for random discovery adventures. That could be a poor way of approaching life, but that's the way I've chosen to do it. But a convention has a way different feel to it and I was immediately intimidated the minute my feet touched the convention floor.
First of all, as stated I've stated twice now (I think) I'm new to this whole having a nice camera thing. I'm walking around with a camera bag and a DSLR with a neat little 50mm lens thinking I'm going to have a fun time until I see these guys carrying some serious equipment. One guy had two cameras with hefty looking lenses and a few of them had light set ups. It all seemed hyper professional. I immediately thought I had no business being there and I almost bugged out. How wild is that? I got scared in a place that I'm supposed to feel the most comfortable in. A place with a bunch of like minded people gathering together to nerd out about the things they love. Social events, man. Rough. But then I decided to stop thinking and just start taking pictures.
That's When Cool Stuff Started Happening
I met someone with very expensive looking camera equipment. He said what's up to me when he saw me taking snaps. When we got to talking he actually helped me with my settings and we just talked about cons for a solid fifteen minutes. We nerded out about the stuff we love in an event dedicated to nerding out about the stuff you love. Weird, right?
Then I started talking to everyone about everything. I hung around the vendors for a while and bought things to support their endeavors. I bought a justifiably expensive wand made out of black and white ebony and a leather wand holster because why would I not get a holster for it? I'm not a plebeian. I'm not as big into Harry Potter as I used to be, but man this wand was a solid purchase. I started handing it to people I was taking pictures of so they could use it randomly as a prop. I also met a nice young woman who was selling cute animal related art. I purchased a corgi pin from her because corgis. I named him Benson and he's my camera corgi. He's attached to my camera strap for all eternity now to give me good vibes and to remind me to take on the day with the same enthusiasm and joy as a corgi. That sounded less weird in my head.
There was also a crap ton of amazing cosplays. The stuff people pull off and make with their own hands always blows me away. I don't have that much patience so I have nothing but admiration and respect for cosplayers and the work they put in. It seemed like every fandom was represented which was heartening. Also, there was this kid dressed as a tiny Rey. She was the cosplay MVP on sheer cuteness alone.
Actually the MVP title might be tied with this tiny Groot.
Anyway, I was telling you a story. Let's continue.
I Ended Up Meeting Some Solid Human Beings
I'll be real with you because I feel like we've gone on this journey together of me telling you a story and this is a safe space, I'm rubbish in social settings. Setting aside the fact that I've been in sales all my life, interacting with people I don't know is eternally frightening. Have you ever walked into a store and walked around pretending to look at stuff because you're working up the courage to ask an employee a question? If your answer to that is "yes" then you know exactly how I felt at the con. I paced around like a lost child for a hot minute trying to drum up the mental fortitude to actually connect with people. It's was mentally exhausting, but it somehow paid off because I met people that helped make the con even more memorable than it already was.
If the only thing that happened was I got to take a few good pictures, bought some nice prints, and booked it, I would have been happy. What happened instead was that I met some great people that, for some reason, let me hang around for a while. I ended up having dinner with a couple of cool folks. I didn't know anyone and I had somehow become totally okay with that. No idea how, but I just sat there and sang Disney songs with people whose names I can't really remember. I'm terrible with names and also they served drinks at the con. My small brain can only do so much.
So is there a point to this story? I mean, probably not. I just wanted to tell you about that time I decided to throw anxiety to the wind to try and meet awesome people. So I guess there's one point I can make...
It's Not Dangerous To Go Alone, Go Have An Adventure
Am I going to see the people I hung out with again? Who knows. I have this pile of cards and scraps of paper with contacts that I have to sort through. But for one day I was with people that made life seem pretty alright. To be honest, that makes all the difference. Being good to each other is immensely important. Especially now with everything that's going on. Being able to go somewhere and just be with good people has immeasurable value and even if I never see those folks again, I'm glad I met them. If you read my last rant, you know I struggle with stuff. We all do, but doing fun things like going to cons helps to lift off that weight every now and again.
So if you're never been to one, get up and go to a con. There are a lot of A+ people out there who are always down to clown. Don't have someone to go with? Screw it, go by yourself. It takes a lot of effort to try and meet new people, I know, but that newness is important and kind of refreshing and what better place to do it than at a con?
So! Thanks to The Los Angeles Cosplay Convention for throwing an awesome event. Thank you to Misty, Ashlynne Dae, Gabby, Morgan, Mike, et al for letting me hang around. Many apologies for any inconvenience caused. And thank you for reading this all the way through if you did. Now it's your turn to tell me a story.