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?