Nine Worlds Convention – How It Helped Me Be Myself

NineworldsIf you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have noticed a plethora of updates this weekend just gone tagged with #nineworlds. Last year I went to Nine Worlds, a completely new geeky convention launched through a Kickstarter, together with 2-month-old Zephyr in tow. Maybe I was a bit crazy! It was awesome though, so awesome that I decided to go again this year, sans kids, for the full three days and with a room at the con hotel.

Nineworlds-Iris-Zephyr-2013Me and Zephyr last year at Nineworlds 2013

I don’t know if I can fully express how much I love this convention, and how much I loved going. When I try to think about it my mind just kind of goes like “OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE PEOPLEWHOQUOTEBUFFYINCASUALCONVERSATION BOARDGAMING INTELLIGENTDISCUSSIONSABOUTSTUFFTHATMATTERS OMGOMGOMGOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

This was a big step for me and also a big learning experience. I think in all areas of my life I am so good at talking myself out of things, especially because of guilt or ‘not deserving’ things. Trying to arrange three days away from my kids (especially Zephyr who hadn’t had a night without me since his birth, and still wakes up 1-3 times a night for breastfeeding), on a weekend when Andrew would be working and staying away from home as well, was a huge obstacle in my mind. In the end though, I felt like I wanted and needed to make it work.

I think that ‘wanting to make it work’ and then making things happen has been a thread in my life this past year or so (I think since starting therapy). I really recognise that I have this tendency to let things happen and then complain about it afterwards (bit of a martyr-syndrome), so this year I have been taking charge of my own destiny if I may use flowery language like that! It started with art and taking it (and myself) more seriously, dressing slightly differently (more geeky tshirts!) and generally giving myself permission to really be myself. Not the version of myself I think I should be, or what I think other people want me to be. It’s a constant checking in and asking myself my motivations and reminding myself of my true path and intentions. It’s a huge relief.

Being-Myself-Steampunk-EarringsPracticing ‘being myself’ with some new steampunk earrings!

So, Nine Worlds, the ultimate safe space to be yourself! But scary, because LOTS of people, I went by myself, I’m an introvert, grrr aargh! It was a conscious effort to push my boundaries. To allow myself to be myself, in public, with other people. Probably slightly helped by the fact that I didn’t know anyone, because you’re not working with an expectation of how you should act or the person people expect you to be.

Jennifer describes perfectly the ‘introvert attends con’ experience:

I worried, as usual, that I wasn’t talking to people enough, and that when I did I wasn’t very good at it, or that my need to take frequent breaks meant I was missing stuff, but this is my normal reaction to being in a big place with lots of people.

Trying to shift the attention on to ‘what I am doing’ instead of ‘what I’m not doing’ has also been something I’ve been working on. So often I find myself getting frustrated because I’m in this headspace where the focus is on what I’ve missed out on or what I haven’t done or what I could’ve done differently. It’s a surefire way to drive yourself crazy and in essence you’re choosing to be unhappy with what has already happened.

So the awesome things I DID do, let me tell you them!

A shitload of board gaming. Something I really miss since having kids as it’s harder to go out to the board gaming group I used to attend. I’m totally trying to make my kids into mini board gamers as soon as possible =p

Board-GamesClockwise from top left: Dixit, Firefly, Puerto Rico, Pandemic

Absolutely brain breakingly hard Whedon quiz. Stuff like “what was the first airing date of X” “match these 10 episodes to the correct writers” “which Firefly actors did voice acting for Halo3”. Also, apparently I am very competitive when it comes to these things lol, I get full on adrenaline rush (I think that’s why I like Eurogames, they play down the competitiveness).

Whedon-QuizOur awesome quiz team, we came 4th

The most super awesomely awesome Once More With Feeling and Dr Horrible singalong with piano accompaniment. This was absolutely the highlight of the whole con. A huge room filled with people who know pretty much all the words by heart and who love this as much as I do, singing their hearts out (nobody spontaneously combusted, pleased to say). AND Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer cosplayers acting out the freezeray scene. MADE.OF.AWESOME.

Whedon-SingalongWhen Dr Horrible wants you to sing, you sing. His wish is your command

Other highlights: Metaphor in Buffy, Free Is a Lie, Women In The Creative Industries panel, Whedonverse and Portrayals of Mental Health discussion, edible knitting with strawberry laces (!! I would show you the bracelet I made but I ate it…) and The Neuroscience of Swearing.

All in all it was three days of basically continuing this journey of discovery that I’ve been on. Finding out who I really am (or who I also am, as well as mother/wife), what I like doing, what I’m interested in.

HURRAH! Awesomely inspiring. Also, so much costume and corset love at this con, I really want to do a series of steampunk art! Whimsy steampunk girls, how does that sound?

Have you ever been to a con (geek or otherwise), what was your experience like?

An Update

If I wait until I have something interesting to say I don’t think I’ll ever write another blog post. I should really set aside some time every week to write something.

Jupiter

He is now about 10.5 months and a real delight! Don’t all parents say that though? I’m not a big fan of other kids (lol I actually feel much more comfortable saying this now than I did in the past) but I absolutely adore Jupiter and could talk about him 24/7.

I’m glad I’m not a full-time mum though (it’s a mixed blessing). Being with a baby all the time is really tough and working full-time (from home though, so I see him a lot, which is great) allows me to have a much better mental balance.

We’re currently introducing a bit more of a routine for him. Mostly focussed around his sleeping at night and napping. He’s really at that point where he needs it (and so do we!).

He’s very chatty, although doesn’t say any specific words yet with any consistency (he may have said ‘dad’ a few times and ‘byebye’). He’s crawling like a trooper, SO FAST. He loves chasing the cat. He’s also pulling himself up to standing along the furniture and ‘cruising’. He can stand by himself for a couple of seconds at a time, so I think he’s well on his way to walking soon!

Violin

My violin playing has really gone up a gear. My friends and I had a little performance before Christmas where we played a few pieces we’d been working on and loads of Christmas carols to which the audience sang along. I was very nervous but it was lots of fun!

We’re currently aiming towards another concert during the Easter weekend and we’re playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It’s bloody hard! Having two lessons a week currently, plus trying to get in 30 minutes of practice a day. I’m really excited as I love this piece but also totally feel I don’t have enough time to really get it into shape.

It’s so nice to have a goal to work towards though, it really helps with the motivation.

Misc

Taking Jupiter to visit my aunt in Holland in a few weeks. Very excited about this!

Signed up for horse riding lessons again (I had to stop when I got pregnant). I’m on a waiting list though, so I have no clue when I’ll be able to start.

Playing a bit of Star Wars online. The single player aspect of it is very strong and immersive, which is good as I only have about 2-3 hours a week to play so it’s pretty much a single-player experience for me at the moment. I miss grouping up and raiding from back in the day when I played World of Warcraft a lot but I just don’t feel I have the time needed to invest in this, nor the desire to be honest. The biggest thing I miss is the people I used to play with. My WoW subscription expired a month ago or so and I don’t see myself renewing it. *small tear*

I am learning to drive!! Been taking lessons since September. I passed my theory test the other month and have my practical booked in about a month’s time. I’m nervous, but still have quite a few lessons booked to really brush up on everything and practice lots.

The all important ice stone

I know some people might be confused or unclear on this. But just to dispel any doubts about whether the ice stone has melted:

http://hastheicestonemelted.com