I was trying to find another way to word the title for this post, one that was less bold, less dramatic, less cliché. But then I realised that to do so wouldn’t really do the impact that conventions have had on my life justice. To anyone who has never been to a convention this statement may seem a just a tiny bit melodramatic. To anyone who has been to a convention this statement will probably feel very familiar.
I said at my very first convention that it had changed my life, but I’m not sure that I knew just how true this statement was going to become. That weekend I ended up being the happiest I had been in a very long time, to the point where people at home commented on just how happy I looked in my photos.
It’s probably not very scientific at all, but sometimes I wonder if being that happy, that consistently ridiculously happy, for the whole weekend did something to my brain. Kickstarted it, or reset the hormones, or something. I just know that since that first convention my mood has been consistently more positive. It’s not that I don’t still have bad days, or bad weeks, but they’re not as frequent, not as intense, and not as long lasting.
Some of the more consistency in my mood could just be due to a shift in attitude to life that has come about from all the advice, and other perspectives, I’ve gained from these conventions. Sometimes it feels like the celebrities that I go to see are more like that cool older sibling that you wish you’d had. Most of them are a few years older than me, they’ve all been through their early twenties, made it out the other side, and they know what it’s like to navigate your 20’s in today’s day and age.
They’ve taught me so many life lessons, like not to be afraid of change, because that’s one of the few constants in life, but also that if change is a constant then even if things seem terrible right now then they will change eventually. They’ve taught me that it’s important to do the things that make you happy and to fight for what you believe in, to be true to yourself, to accept your awesome, to follow your dreams. And if you have a dream to work your ass off every day to make it happen. But also that it’s okay to not have a clue with where you’re going in life right now.
Going to these conventions has also led me to meet some pretty amazing people, both directly and indirectly. You get the opportunity to meet people that are like you, that share the same interests, that like the same things, that are on the same sort of wavelength. They also led me to the fan side of twitter, where I’ve connected with even more people that are like me. I’ve made friendships that span cities, countries, continents. Friendships that I can see lasting a lifetime.
Conventions have also changed my life in more indirect ways. They’ve made me a lot more confident, partly because they’ve taught me to embrace the fact that I am awesome as I am, thank you very much, and partly due to the fact I’ve had to woman up and actually talk to strangers. I’ve spoken in front of rooms of people I don’t know (still scares me slightly that one) and I’ve had to put myself out there. The first conventions I went to I went alone and I didn’t know anyone that was going before I went, so I figured that unless I wanted a very lonely weekend I was going to have to strike up some conversations.
Travelling by myself has also done wonders for me, I’ve been to different cities, often in different countries, and I’ve often taken a few days either side of the convention to explore. I’ve eaten in restaurants by myself, navigated unfamiliar cities by myself, gone exploring by myself. Being able to explore by myself has been incredibly freeing, it’s been amazing to be able to do what I want, see what I want, go where I want, whenever I want to do it. It also means that I’ve had to become very comfortable with my own company.
All of these things combined have led to a fundamental change within me. I’m happier, more confident, more comfortable in my own skin. I’m more at peace with where I am in life and with where I’m going even if I don’t know where that is yet. Though I sometimes look at myself in the mirror in almost amazement at just how far I’ve come.
And a lot of it is thanks to an impulse decision to buy a ticket to a little convention in London.