It's been nearly 2 years since we, along with 90,000 other nerds descended on Seattle in search of art, culture and nerdiness. Truth be told, I've missed it and yet I was extremely apprehensive about rejoining the Emerald City Comic Con culture this year, especially since the dates were moved to December and really...we just had SO much else going on. It wasn't until I was packing up and we were driving down to our hotel that I had what I like to call "that feeling."
If you've been a follower of my blogging you'll remember the last post I did about our time at Comic Con - the feelings of absolute inclusivity, kindness and more. It's an otherworldly experience, both literally and figuratively - and with everything lost over the last 18 months, I didn't realize how much *I* needed it - no matter how different the Covid-Era con would be and no matter how much "stuff" we had going on. Sometimes we need to be forced into taking a break.
As we ascended the escalators for our first day, the feelings returned. Costumes, laughter and lots of friendly chatter were around - albeit subdued. ECCC limited attendance and also required 100% mask wearing (and not the costume kind.) Nevertheless the feeling of hope had returned.
We were privileged enough to enjoy 4 days and a staycation in downtown Seattle for this year's ECCC yet again. It's become a tradition and as we get older, we realize that having a room to head back to, avoiding traffic, and giving ourselves a bit of a break are all necessary aspects of going to a convention like this. Normally there is late night gaming, networking meetups and more Seattle stuff to explore when we leave the convention floor. This year marked one of the only trips we took - so despite the hesitation in the beginning, I quickly relaxed into being away from home and responsibilities.
What I embraced next was "that feeling." The one I wrote about in year's past. No matter how subdued ECCC may be, there's an overall feeling of "I belong." After 18 months of fighting hard TO belong, to take up space, to stand up for what I KNOW is right...this feeling of belonging came so easy amongst nerds. While I sometimes feel like an imposter in the overall nerd world, the simple fact of ECCC is that it doesn't matter. You don't need to be able to quote Firefly or BSG, you don't need to have the most vintage copy of Spiderman nor do you even need to dress up. Simply being YOU is enough at ECCC and I always leave feeling a longing for that in everyday life. In fact, since the last ECCC in 2019, I've strived to recreate that feeling in my life. I have started to be more ME and less apologetic for who I really am - nerd or not. I've rid myself of friends that no longer put in the effort, I've recused myself from groups that gossip and snark and I've stepped away from toxic relationships that only leave me feeling more like an imposter than anyone needs to. Because what I see at ECCC is an "all-in" mentality for inclusivity - whether that's body positivity (something I've worked HARD on in my pandemic life), acceptance of neurodivergance, or just the overarching storyline of spreading positivity like glitter. The happiness to simply BE among your peers - even though it's likely you don't know each other. The ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone - vendor or attendee and find common ground on something (or not! that's ok and welcome too!)
Speaking of peers - you're bound to find someone you know in a sea of Seattlie-ites and it was a welcome warm fuzzy feeling to connect again. I had the honor to get to see a friend on her first ever panel. To see her thrive and succeed in sharing the thing that SHE loves (makerspaces.) I loved seeing another friend who I've watched grow up - working at her college's booth and ready/willing to give us hugs every time we saw her. And on the last day, when Joe had other plans and I had an extra ticket, it was absolutely wonderful to get to share ECCC with a fellow Market Manager that I've only really met over Zoom. As event organizers ourselves, we had the "wink-wink-nod" look when we saw the efforts that Reed Pop and the ECCC crew put in to make this happen. It was just so nice to share something so new for her as another common ground and experience we can hold close to our hearts as we head into the 2022 market season.
I suppose my desired point is this: find the people who make you feel this way in every day life. Find the things that give you joy and embrace that you love them, no matter what anyone says (and if you have people in your life that feel the need to say something about your passion in a negative way...maybe find new people.) And also, fuck diet culture - because hating yourself thin never worked for anyone - there were actually several panels on BODY POSITVITY and YES, we need a hell of a lot more of this please.
We live in a world that becomes more divided every day and as cliche as it sounds, find joy in the little things and find your people to spend the precious time with that we do have.