One of many conditions that all people probably share is the the cruel inner whispers of doubt about who we are, what we can do, and where we belong. I have always felt like an outsider. No matter which party I go to, what crowd I’m with, etc., there is almost always a hushed little mean girl in the back of my mind, reminding me in bored, condescending tones, “You don’t belong here.”
Saturday at Dragon*Con, this voice was sent to its room to think about its actions and not come out until it’s ready to behave.
Though I have always appreciated geek culture, I have never quite been a part of it. I like to save the world and everything, but most first-person template video games give me motion sickness. There are many anime shows and movies that I enjoy, but others leave me wrinkling my nose and muttering ridiculously logical things like, “She can’t possibly function like a normal human being, let alone fight crime with those things bouncing around. How does she even stand upright?
Finally, while I’m not opposed to SciFi, I never got into it since there are never any horses in space.
Taking into consideration my weak inner ear and firm dependence on reality and legitimate body proportions, I can’t in good conscience declare myself to be a geek. I don’t fit in with that subculture.
However, I do relate to the people in it. And, evidently, there are a lot of people in it.
No matter what the subject is of a given panel or track at D*C, there are people that are keenly interested in learning more about it. Lines of fans passionate enough to spend time and money on fashioning costumes, buying tickets, and even booking overpriced hotel rooms consume the streets and major hotels of Atlanta each year. Some are just there to party. Others are there as tourists. Some are there to get their geek on. However, there’s a great thirst at Dragon*Con, a thirst to not only learn more about a given subject, but to open up its skin, climb in, and curl up in a happy little geekball.
Too much? No, it’s not. Trust me.
Aside from the desire to learn and discover new loves at Dragon*Con, there’s also a desire to share that love and knowledge. People stop each other and comment on the accuracy of one another’s costumes (or if they’re like me, they just scream “OH MY GOD IT’S DOCTOR HORRIBLE AND CAPTAIN HAMMER!” or “HOLY CRAP WHAT’S THAT?!”) It’s hard to feel like an outsider. There is a sense of community where even the most alienated can feel at home. That sneering little voice of doubt is silenced. After all, this is a gathering that consists at least partially, if not entirely, of people who have felt marginalized by society for much of their lives. They’ve been jeered at, shunned, and insulted because of the whole wear-its-skin-and-curl-into-a-geekball thing. At Dragon*Con, no one is singled out for being too passionate about the things they love.
What else is Dragon*Con for, if not to celebrate that overenthusiasm?
For those who are curious, yes, I dressed up. Along with 50 or 60 other fangirls, I dressed as Kaylee Frye from Firefly, a short-lived show deeply misunderstood by TV executives and deeply loved by its fans. ( Author’s note: There are horses in space! ) Even random cops on the street complimented my Kayleeness, and passersby exclaimed how cute a couple my boyfriend (dressed as Simon) and I were. Meanwhile, that nagging voice didn’t utter a peep.
There’s no moral to the story. No underlying themes to unwravel. If you want to go to D*C but fear you aren’t quite geeky enough to make the cut, go to D*C anyway. A dicussion from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland comes to mind:
“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?”
“You must be. Or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Go wherever you’d like to go and do whatever you’d like to do. Those annoying doubts and insecurities will take care of themselves.