I got back from GenCon two days ago and it was amazing! For those of you who don’t know what GenCon is, it’s essentially a giant nerd convention (http://www.gencon.com/) that focuses on board games, but also has RPGs, LARPs, art, crafts, nerd celebrities, and more. It’s probably the biggest nerd convention too, with around 75k people in attendance this year.
Last year was my first year there and I went with my ex and his college friends. It was okay, but I wasn’t terribly impressed. I almost skipped this year, but I ended up getting into an event I just couldn’t miss and decided to go. (For those of you who are curious, I got to play an RPG based on the books of one of my favorite authors- Brian McClellan- with Brian! It was pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever done.)
I forgot how incredible it is to be among fellow nerds. I spent most of my life feeling like I needed to hide my love of fantasy books and later of role-playing games and wishing I had more socially acceptable hobbies. I’ve recently become a lot more open about this which has, much to my surprise, been an incredibly freeing feeling. But nevertheless, there’s a difference between acceptance (people who appreciate my nerdiness but aren’t fellow nerds) and passion.
On the second to last day of the convention, I impulse bought a really awesome hat (I’ll link a photo of it when I get home). It’s basically a steampunk pilot hat that’s soft and fuzzy. Of course, I wore it the rest of the convention. I actually got a lot of compliments about my hat and was very pleased- I thought I looked pretty cool. I wore it home and my parents were visiting when I arrived. One of the first things they did was look at my hat quizzically and ask me what it was. My dad, trying to be cool, said “Wow, you really love Captain America!” (It’s not at all related to Captain America).
I love my parents- they actually spent most of that day helping out around my house, which was AMAZINGLY appreciated- but they really don’t get my nerdy side. It was a jolting realization that I was back to normal life.
At GenCon though, my hat made me cool. My flexible dragon that I wore around my neck made me cool. My purple d20 earrings with matching d20 dragon necklace made me cool. There’s no better feeling than being among “your people.” I love my non-nerdy friends too, but once in awhile it’s really incredible to be appreciated and admired for the stuff you love- the stuff that most people tease you for.
Don’t ever let anyone stop you from doing the things you love or being among the people you love!