But Take the Fight Outside, Buddy
VanCon 2013 was my first Supernatural convention. I went all out–Gold ticket, all the major photo ops and autographs–because it was going to be my big splurge, my one and only convention. Ahem. By re-up Sunday night there was no question I was coming back the following year. VanCon 2014 was my second convention, and I’ll be attending 2 more in 2015.
I give up a lot to go to Supernatural Conventions. No sob stories here; I work and I budget to make them happen and I do it with a smile on my face. They are that important to me.
My first convention was a revelation. I was excited to meet friends I’d only talked to online and to see my favorite actors in person, but I had no idea what I was in for. I got a hint of things to come as soon as I got out of the cab at the Vancouver Wall Centre. My friend D., who I’d never met in person, came running down the stairs and out into the courtyard to give me a giant bear hug like we were long lost sisters. Yeah, conventions are kinda like that. Giant bear hugs from strangers because now you’re family.
The convention weekend is a social microcosm. Fandom might have its own set of rules, beliefs, norms, and values, but fandom is a virtual world that overlays your day-to-day life. For a few days, convention is the magic that turns virtual fandom world into your day-to-day life.
But, and here’s the cool part, convention culture exists separate from fandom culture. Just as a con weekend is insulated from the “real world,” so too is it mostly insulated from the fandom world. In relation to both the real world and fandom world, convention is a safe place. Fandom has its factions, but at convention we are all one. Check it out, we had so many different types of fans staying in one hotel room this year, it was like the frakkin’ U.N.
It is awe-inspiring to be in a place with 1000-2000 other people who adore something with the same consuming passion that you do. You don’t have to preface anything, you don’t have to explain yourself. You can jump right in and form an instant bond with just about anyone. Because they get it. These are your people.