So tomorrow, God willing that everything goes well, I will be on a plane to Florida, and then two hours later I will get off that plane and head straight into the heart of GeekyCon 2015. I registered practically on a whim back in March, when my friend Leah talked it up. I figured I'd ask my parents to make the ticket my birthday/graduation present, and well, here we are.
But I'm not completely excited. Sure, I'm excited to see Leah again, and go to book signings, and dance my face off. But I'm also really nervous.
It's not that this is anything new from me. I've always been hesitant about going anywhere that had been planned in advance. I dont' know why; some strange facet of my anxiety that decides that if you say you're going to spend an hour somewhere, then you are basically shackling yourself to some kind of horribly unable-to-get-out-of nightmare. And things I'm not used to, like starting a new job or going to a convention I've only ever heard of, definitely ratchets up the nerves by a hefty margin.
But do you know what I'm most nervous about? Like when I stop to think about it, and wonder, what's the worst that could happen?
I'm scared that I won't be considered a real fan.
The identity of a fangirl has had an evolutionary process over the last decade or so. This isn't new information; the geeks have inherited the earth, as we always knew it would be. But I've never been the kind of person who injects witticisms and super-subtle/obscure references into my daily syntax. The thought of dressing up in legit costume, not just fancy or pretty outfits, is unfathomable. And as an introvert who has almost always struggled with making friends, the concept of things like Meetups, and interacting with strangers on the basis of similar likes, terrifies me. I'm constantly worried about making sure I put in all the right nuances in my speech, that I show that I'm a true fan, that I know all the background knowledge, that I was here before things got cool. Though the hipster culture has been beaten within an inch of its life into ironic submission, the drive to be original and genuine is immortal, and for me, original and genuine Jordan is not loud. She doesn't lose her mind in front of other people, unless they're family or really, really close. She grew up in schools, even in a home to an extent, where if you got really excited about something, and only wanted to talk about that thing ever, you would be met with mocking laughter. With, "oh my god, you're obsessed!" With, and this is essentially a paraphrase/conceptualization, but, "what a nerd."
And it's not just nerves or anxiety. I'm a naturally quiet person. I'm drawn inward. When I get excited about something, sure I'll freak out, but I've never been a person to fixate on a single thing for very long. If I did, I'd never survive those waiting periods between books (this waiting period for Sarah J Maas' next book? Torture). It's been that way with music, too; I've never been a person who was a Fan of X Band, but the person who is more likely to say, "I found these songs by X Y and Z, and then I heard this one album that was pretty cool."
I don't really know where I'm going with this. I remember posting something somewhere like this a while ago on another blog. Back when the last Harry Potter movie was releasing, I was terrified at the thought of not being a true fan. I'd had a long stretch of time, essentially from the Deathly Hallows book launch to the final movie's release, where I hadn't read/watched/experienced any of the content, for various reasons, and thought that I didn't deserve to consider myself a fan, or even a "true" fan. But that post was about overcoming that fear, and recognizing that my experience was just as valid as anyone else's.
I know my experiences in fandom are valid. The very fact that they exist makes them so. And I don't expect to be ridiculed at this Con, or even feel like "my kind" is put down. Everyone I've spoken to about GeekyCon talks almost entirely about how welcoming and safe an environment it is. It's a celebration, after all! But when a celebration exists in a rather singular way, I can't help but feel as though my experience becomes somehow less valid. This is a "personal problem," as an old friend loved to say, and I'm sure it won't impede on my rabble-rousing. I just thought that this time, I would type out my fears; let the noise of keyboard clicks drown out the silent calm before the storm.
I'll post pictures and such once I get back from Orlando. If anyone reads this, stay tuned.
(P.S. Another anxiety: I have eleven books that I could ask Holly Black to sign, but does that make me a crazy person?)