Sunday, June 19, 2016

PrideCon Weekend! Lessons Learned

Pride And Con In One Denver Weekend
What Is This Madness?!
Whatever It Is, We Like It!

So, some thoughts:
Denver ComicCon was, as always, a wonderful event. This year I had so many friends running tables and was elated to see them doing well. I saw so many people enjoying themselves!
My favorite nerdy podcast, Beyond The Trope, is strutting their stuff at the Podcast Corner. Emily, part of the group, poses here as the grown up Hazel (of Saga, a must read comic) with her wanted poster.

The wonderful Sarah Menzel is there at Booth 400, rocking it.
 The beautiful Moko Press table of Robin Childs looked lovely as ever at booth C042.

 My friend Karen Lechenberg is selling her geektastic prints for her company, The Mona Chewy,  at booth H309.
 Native Realities Press  is there and keeping it real at booth AA23. Karl Christian Krumpholz is an oasis of snarky calm at booth AV066. Sherry D. Ficklin, J. James McFarland, Dylan Edwards and Vivian Caethe are all there, and She Paints With Blood is beautiful at Booth 204.
 I could go on, but I'm starting to sound like an advertisement. So, moving along! 

Myself, I took it easy this year. In years past I've powered through all three days of events and spent the following week EXHAUSTED. This year, I did a one day event, and at times even that felt overwhelming. In fact, when I first hit the merchant's floor, I almost turned around and walked back out.
Instead of running as my anxiety suggested, I went to a panel. I sat and listened to a wonderful discussion on self publishing, and I remembered that I like people! Especially the off beat ones. And I remembered that it's okay to have moments of fear. What's not permitted is surrendering to them.

I also remembered, in this time when the world seems so dark, that connecting with others helps us cope with our problems. I suffer from two issues that cause social problems; anxiety and hyperinsulinemia, which is an insulin issue that can result in me acting quite odd as my body runs out of glucose.
I cope with these issues by finding a quiet corner or space until the problem passes. It's amazing who you'll meet in the quiet corners. While my blood sugar straightened out, I sat and chatted with a couple of ladies who've been together thirty years and just got married. They gave me chocolate covered peanuts, which I accepted with grateful, shaking hands.  I commiserated with a mother and daughter who both suffer petit mal seizures that leave them in the same kind of situations I end up in when our bodies act up on us. I talked with an exchange student who was feeling overwhelmed by having so much going on around him, just like me. We talked, we joked about our issues and we laughed, and we realized that we weren't all that strange, and not nearly as alone as we had thought. Later, a sweet man walked me up from Pride to my apartment. We talked about Con, Pride and his wonderful costume; a rainbow American Flag with 49 holes in it covered by crochet mandalas. Each mandala had the number of strings denoting the age of someone who died in Orlando. He told me 'I went and gave my parents a hug before I came to Pride tonight, you know? Just in case.' The words nearly made me cry.

Some years I take copious notes in panel about a wide variety of comic craft subjects: social media, dialogue, pacing, layout and style.But this year, I was learning other lessons.

  • Our differences do not divide us. Our egos do.
  • Having a weakness does not make you weak person. It makes you a person who is resourceful in your way of living; you are faced with challenges and you learn to overcome them. You are a resource. Not a liability.
  • Treating your own needs as less important is really, really not helping. If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay to sit down. If you're feeling run down, getting guilty about skipping a day of Con is dumb. Pay attention to your body, and you'll have a lot more fun.
    (this includes your stomach. Pack water and a decent lunch. Con food is expensive and, often, it's crap)
  • We must take care of one another. We do better together. All of us.
  • People need stories. We need to tell our stories, and we need to listen to the stories of others. We are made more human by sharing our stories. If you have a story that will help someone else in this world, that will uplift or affirm someone else, then you have a sacred duty to tell it.

So here's my takeaway from the weekend: hold your head up, take the hand of your friend, your neighbor, your cousin in this great family of humanity, and keep walking. It's a long road, but I think we're going somewhere good.

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