Tag Archives: Conventions

Performance Anxiety

I want to spend the weekend in Boston. There is a convention there that I very much want to attend – Arisia. At Arisia will be a very high concentration of my friends from all over the US: California, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois and of course, pretty much the entire Eastern seaboard. I’ve missed all of these friends deeply over the last year even though I’ve been able to catch some time with them and I’ve been looking forward to this convention for a while now. But the thing is, I really don’t want to go.

Getting to Arisia involves spending four-ish hours on a bus and right now, that is the second to very last things I want to do. The only thing I want to do less is getting on another fucking airplane. Twenty-fourteen was amazing for a number of reasons – one of them being the number of new and exciting places I traveled to – but it has me 99% burnt out on travel. The grass is always greener and last year the other side was a home I didn’t have. Now I have that home and even though I logically know that it will be here waiting for me when I get back from Boston, it makes my skin crawl to think about getting on that bus.

It’s been difficult to write about my issues with traveling. I don’t want to seem ungrateful and I know just how magical it all looked. The reality was much different. I desperately missed my friends and family. I was frequently ill and the stress of traveling only made things worse on my body. A simple trip ‘home’ was expensive, time-consuming – usually at least fourteen hours one way, and involved dealing with customs and immigration. Usually by the time I got ‘home’ I was exhausted and barely had energy to enjoy the time with the people I had traveled to see. It was beyond difficult.

It’s not Arisia’s fault that it is the year anniversary of all that starting. I’m sure that I’ll have a great time there. But that doesn’t make me feel much better about getting on that damn bus.

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In My Bubble

While overall I’m having a smashing time at Capclave this weekend, there was one encounter last night that I could have very much done without. My personal space was invaded, and someone made a remarkably inappropriate comment about what I was wearing. Why why why are these still situations that we have to deal with?

The Comment

Well into Saturday evening I made my way to the elevator lobby with my friend Sherman to go do something that I can’t remember. After waiting a few minutes, an elevator arrived and several fans spilled out. Most took a right turn down towards the parties but one walked right up to me. He bent 45º so that his face was only about an inch from my chest and said “Your shirt is ripped, I think you need a new one!” He then laughed, stood back up and starting making his way to the right down the hall to the parties.

What do you even say to something like that?

It should hopefully be understood that that was a hypothetical question. I know what you say to something like that. “Fuck off.” “Get out of my personal space.” “Please don’t say that to me.” “Don’t ever say that to me, it’s in appropriate.” “I don’t know you, please leave me alone.” But I couldn’t say any of those things. I was so stunned by the encounter that my mouth refused to form the words. Instead I laughed nervously, mumbled something about liking the shirt that I was wearing as is and scurried onto the elevator with my friend.

The Shirt

This situation makes much more sense once you know that I was wearing, am while I’m going to show you, I’m loathe to do so. Because no matter what I was wearing, this behavior was absolutely inappropriate. At no point did I say to this guy, “Yes, you can bring your face an inch away from chest and talk to them like they are sentient.” At no point did I say that to anyone this weekend, because that would be fucking weird. My shirt did not say anything on it other than ‘DC17’ and I can think of no language in which that phrase is an invitation.

This is a picture of the shirt that I was wearing that I sent to my husband earlier in the night.

Not an invitation

I feel like I should explain why the shirt looks like that, but I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have the urge to explain what I was wearing, because it shouldn’t fucking matter. But I will, and I will be disappointed in myself and the world that I live in while I do.

One of my good friends Sydnie had the fabulous idea to DIY customize her DC17 bid shirt a while back to make them reflect a little better how much fun she is, and how much fun she’s having working on DC17. Let’s face it, a black t-shirt doesn’t always scream ‘AWESOME FUN TIME WITH AWESOME FUN PEOPLE!’ I saw her wear her versions of the shirt at Loncon and at Fencon. She did a few of them with a couple different designs, and I thought that it was a great idea that I was going to attempt myself. It didn’t go quite as I expected. It showed more skin than I was planning on, but I decided to wear it after all.

I almost didn’t. I was hesitant. I asked for opinions from several of my female friends and my husband. Was it too low-cut? Did it show off too much? Did it give people the wrong impression? I have a large chest, and so frequently something that looks flirty on someone with a smaller chest, looks provocative on me. This is true from everything to formal gowns, to cut out t-shirts, to thick strapped tank tops. This is part of what it means to have a large chest. This is my reality. At a certain point you either decide that you will wear seven layers of tops even in the dead heat of summer to keep yourself looking ‘modest enough’ for everyone else, or that you just don’t give a fuck and you wear whatever the hell you want.

For the last year or so, I’ve been in the first camp. I’ve covered up. I didn’t want to be pre-judged by my breasts. This changed mid summer when I was visiting my friend in San Francisco in the middle of July and she said essentially “Woman, it’s the middle of July. Take the cardigan off and just wear the damn tank top.” Last night another step in the right direction of me feeling better about my body and deciding to wear what I wanted to wear regardless of what somebody else thought. But this isn’t about what somebody else thought anymore, it’s about what somebody else did. What they did to me.

The Reaction

Throughout the evening I found myself getting more and more upset about the entire situation. I was mad at this man who I don’t know. I’m mad that he decided that it was okay for him to invade my personal space. I’m mad that he decided to say something so inappropriate to me. I’m mad that he said it with that damn look in his eyes and with a waggle of the eyebrow. I’m mad that he thought it was okay. I’m mad that we live in a society that allows him to think that his behavior was acceptable. I’m mad at myself.

I’m mad that I was momentarily stunned and that I didn’t tell him then and there just how wrong what he said was. I’m mad that I was frozen by fear about what he might do to me next. I’m mad that I didn’t get the guy’s name to tell to the con chair when I sat down and talked to him about it. I’m mad that I had to talk to the con chair about this. I’m mad that I couldn’t find the guy for the rest of the evening to correct his assumptions about appropriate behavior. I’m mad that I’m going to be more cautious about the shirts that I wear. I’m mad that I will most likely put on conservative outfits instead of the fun outfits that I want to wear.

Like I said, I don’t know this guy. I don’t know his name. I only know that he was wearing a grey button down and that I could recognize him on site if he wandered into my line of sight again. I wish I did. I wish I could pound on his hotel room door right now and tell him that he can’t say shit like that ever again. So, grey button down shirt dude, if you happen to find yourself reading this, know that what you did to me was not okay. Know that it wasn’t alright to get so close to me, to stick your face in my chest or to say those words to me. You were wrong. Don’t do that again. Don’t do it to anyone in the first place.

I’m just so fucking mad. And I think I’m going to stay mad for a while.

Travel Bug

Today I shall pass through four airports. I will take a bus, three planes and a cab of some sort to get me to my destination: Washington, DC.

As fun as it is to travel to new and exotic places, I have to admit that it’s getting a little old to have to spend at least ten hours on a plane to go to a semi-regular convention. The people, however, are very much worth it.

So, if you’re in DC this weekend, let me know. I’ll be at Capclave and in the area until Tuesday and a few spare hours to get together with friends.

Going The Distance

I feel like I’ve been going about 100mph for the last month and a half. This certainly isn’t a complaint, as I’ve been having an absolutely wonderful time going places and seeing people, but I’m very glad to be in the middle of a recovering week in Chicago. 

I love traveling and I always have. I think there is a little bit of personal magic in traveling. Yes, I know how corny that sounds. You get to learn more about yourself when you travel. How much of you is you and how much is your situation or your location? And of course, this things that are dear to you become immediately apparent. For instance, it isn’t my computer that I need, but more the ability to easily communicate with my friends around the world, and the ability to create. Of course, those things pretty much require a computer, but details and all…

I’ll admit that while traveling is awesome, being away from Will isn’t all that great. We haven’t spent this much time apart since before we were dating and it sucks. The major difference in the time zones wasn’t something we could really have prepared for. Our daily schedules have very little overlap, and we’re only awake at the same time for about nine hours. It’s more like having a long distance co-worker than anything else. 

I’m also missing New York, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Going back to the city brought great relief even though not having an apartment of my own was weird. Not having a home base is weird, in general. I had gotten used to the pace of the city even if I wasn’t going as fast as everyone around me. Now every place I go – except conventions – seems a little slow. Everything and everyone is so much closer, there. I used to hate being packed so closely, but now I feel lonely when I’m in the big empty house that I’m staying in. And how could you not love the convenience? Having three Duane Reades on our street was pretty nice. Especially since one looked sorta like a gutted, gold cathedral. 

I’m not nearly as prepared as I should be for living in Japan. I’ve been studying one of the read and point books that the wife of another liaison lent me, but until recently that had been it. Then the other night the friends I’m staying with brought me to get sushi. 

Previously I hadn’t been a fan of sushi. Until Wednesday, I had only ever had spectacularly bad rolls. I got quite the education on different types of sushi and how the different fish taste that I think will be enormously helpful for day to day life. I enjoyed most of what was ordered, but did actually have issues with the huge proportions which seemed to be specific to the place we were at.  The texture of raw fish doesn’t actually bother me, but too much of anything is a bad thing. 

In five days, I’ll be off to London for the week. Meetings with friends about Loncon and doing a bit of obligatory sight-seeing. If you’d like to live somewhat vicariously, email me about things that you’d like me to go check out. I’ve started a list of things to do, but more ideas will I think, make things better. 

Leaving on Jet Plane

Will left for Japan this morning. At 8:30am (EST) his car showed up, his driver helped him drop his giant suitcases in the back, and off he went.

I admit, I was a little worried about how sad I would or would not be after he left. Will and I have played the long distance game before and it sucked. And of course, no newlywed wants to split up only a few months in. Thankfully, I’ve got an intense travel schedule that will keep me on my toes and allow me to see almost everyone that I want to see before I start my adventure in Japan. I’m also really grateful that I’ll have the two flights home to use. Convergence and Detcon will allow me to see pretty me to see two-thirds of the people that I’ll be missing the most, and then Worldcon will allow me to see the rest. Smofcon at the end of the year will give me the highest concentration of friends that I’ll be missing, so all in all not a bad year planned out.

I’m digging deeper and deeper into research about the area we’ll be living in and creating a long list of things to see and document in one way or the other. I’m exciting about planning a climb up Mt. Fugi. I didn’t think that climbing a mountain would be in my plans during college, but I’m happy to add it and actually get the chance to cross it off of my To Do list. To be fair, living in a foreign country wasn’t on that list, either. I’m tremendously excited about this entire opportunity.

It’s a grey day in NYC today. It’s hard to believe that I only have seven days left in this magnificent city. I’ve got a short trip to North Carolina this weekend and then I’ll be packed and ready to go. If Will’s firm wasn’t paying for movers and packers, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, whatever it would be, there would be a lot less of it. I’m going to hit as many museums this week as humanly possible. Scratch that, enjoyably possible. I always hated running ragged during trips as a kid. Wen I visit somewhere, I want to enjoy the place. Not make myself miserable trying to pack every little bit in.

One of my fellow interns from the summer is crashing with me this week, and I have no doubt that she’s helping me keep the blues away. Julie is always full of life, and I’ll be staying with her for a while in Chicago in February.

And now, back to bed for some reading. This is probably my last lazy Sunday in months, and I’m going to enjoy it.

Cheating on Sleep with Work

One of the most important things that I picked up yesterday during the Off Broadway tour at Barkley from Joe Cox was that if you’re serious about working in Social Media, you need to have a social media presence of your own.

Easier said than done.

Why is that you ask? Social Media isn’t that hard, right? You just have to pop in every once-in-a-while and say ‘hello’. It’s fun! You’d be half right, if you guessed that. Social Media is fun. Hell, it’s a lot of fun. But it’s also a lot of work. It requires and hell of a lot of balance. And for someone who already has both of her balance plates full, it can be sort of difficult. Really difficult, actually.

As mentioned, I’m taking 18 credit hours, I’m working at the university about 20 hours a week, and I’m working on LoneStarCon 3. I’ve got a little bit going on right now. And that doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time to spend exploring the internet for things to post about. Or, time for learning about awesome things (Like Vine).

If you want a job in Social Media, it’s not enough to just randomly post when you have a spare few seconds. You have to cultive a presence. Post things of relevance. Things that reflect you. It’s hard to do that when you barely have a few minutes here and there to check your email. It can be done. And I’m using every resource I can find to try.

But what do I do when one of my jobs is cultivating someone else’s Twitter and Facebook pages? It’s even harder, in my opinion, to cultivate a presence for someone or something else. It take more time and effort. You have to research the client. Get to know it’s audience. Learn to talk like the group would. You have to become that person instead of promoting the person you already are.

It’s a tough situation. I want to have something like that on my resume, but I also want to have a personal presence on the platform. (Yay for alliteration!)

My solution for now is to not sleep. We’ll see how that goes.