I am a typical introvert. My favorite kind of activities are ones that I can either do alone, or within a small, trusted group. I like to read books, go to movies, have conversations, and play video games. I like to garden and write and, on occasion, cook a nice meal.
To me, group events, like awkward family gatherings and community events are torture. I’m that person who, at parties, hangs out with the dog. And I am absolutely at ease with that. It has a heavy influence on what makes me such an attentive reader, and a detailed writer. It has helped to make me a more intellectual, thoughtful, and comfortable person.
That’s why my day yesterday was undeniably atypical. Yesterday, I attended my very first convention, and I must say, it exceeded my expectations.
You see, I am quite used to being the odd one out. The one who always has a book on hand, the one who doesn’t want to participate in party games, the one who doesn’t care for gatherings with more than a couple close friends at a time. I’ve always been a bit of an outsider, and it’s something that has given me more than a little pride.
But it has also come with its downsides, such as school bullies, peer pressure, and constantly being misunderstood. For example, if a group of people is having a conversation about something that I have no knowledge of, such as a clothing brand, I am content to listen. I don’t like to participate if I have nothing to offer. Talk to me about a good book and I’ll light up like a Christmas tree. Some see that as being awkward at best, rude at worst.
What does this have to do with the convention? Everything, my friend. Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people like me. People who are proud of their love for LOTR and Zelda and Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed. People who enjoy books and TV and games with passion. People who get lost in fantasy without feeling apologetic for it.
Yesterday, I was in a building with tens of thousands of people that were there because they are passionate about something that was completely imagined and created by other people. From Harry Potter to Alien, there were people in costume and merchandise for sale for just about everything. We added items to our collection from Zelda, LOTR, Walking Dead, GoT, Vikings, Batman, Star Wars, and X-Men and could have kept going if we hadn’t set a limit.
And to my pleasant surprise, I wasn’t the one that doesn’t fit, I was one of many. And somehow, with all of our jagged corners and awkward angles, we all fit together.
And no one was weird. No one was a loser. No one was “too into” something. No one liked the wrong things. Everyone was a nerd, but in the best way. The atmosphere alone was full of excitement and interest and awe instead of stress and hurry and self-absorption.
I can only imagine that it is similar to how people who enjoy sports feel when they go to a live game. To be surrounded by so many people that you could find similarities to is a very profound and heartening experience.
I can only assume that extroverts experience something similar to this quite often, as they enjoy more outwardly social activities with others. For me, it was rather overwhelming to consider going to such an event just because of the sheer number of people who would attend. The first time that we went to Ikea, we walked in, saw how many people were there, and walked right back out.
But at the convention, it was surprisingly quiet. There weren’t any obnoxious hollering jerks, there was no shoving or cutting in line. It was like a fairly polite, mostly soft-spoken mass of people with shared interests. And it was fantastic.
Needless to say, I think I have awakened a rather hungry beast inside of myself that can only be fed with more conventions and fan activities. I’ve even started to think about getting into cosplay.
All in all, for a nerd, or a geek, or an extrovert, or whatever else you want to call me, it was an experience that I won’t soon forget. Whatever you enjoy, make sure to take some time in your life to join with other fans and artists. It opens up a whole new world of inspiration and solidarity that will make you proud to show your true colors.
Have you ever been to a convention? Would you ever go? Are you an introvert, or an extrovert? How does it affect your writing?
I’ll be on Facebook until next time.