ConCarolinas was a dream come true, but maybe not in the way you think. Yes, I went there as a guest and I was on panels and people watched me with rapt attention (I think), but honestly, the fans were icing for me. The ConFam was cake.
I’ve spent a lot of my life drifting in a sea of “I don’t belong” with a serious paranoia of people who draw up alongside claiming to be willing to let me be part of their band. I generally pull away from those who offer to be my friend because I’m afraid I won’t be good enough to keep it. Eventually, the novelty will wear off and they will find someone new they like better.
I do not anticipate that fear will ever go away.
Back to happier things, so many of the people I met over the weekend were wonderful. Welcoming, supportive, nice. For the first time in a long time, I fit in. I didn’t have to be the smart one; I was surrounded by smart ones. My sense of humor didn’t stick out or make people look at me weird. The references made sense, except about television cause I haven’t significantly watched TV in years and I’ve never had a Netflix subscription.
I went somewhere and people seemed sad when I said I was leaving. ConCarolinas is in Charlotte, NC. I live in Savannah, GA. Not a super long way home, but far enough that I don’t wanna wait too late to get started lest it be midnight before I reach my bed.
I want to go back. I got to stand out just enough to know I was among those with whom I don’t have to. I belonged. There were, as there will always be, moments when I was panicked and confused and looking for the nearest exit. My life is lived between those moments like a sentence exists around and because of the punctuation. They will never go away.
Next year, I will try again. I wish I could tag all the amazing people I met, some of whom I’ve been aware of for years via magicalwords.net, and some who were wholly new to me. I want to thank everyone for making a n00b panelist feel like she had something worthwhile to say.
Great Con, thanks for everything.
Oh, and if you want to hear me on a panel, head over to Chris A. Jackson’s blog and snag the audio recording of “Where’s My Brainjack” in which we doom and gloomed all over the future of humanity and technology.