Cons and I

One of the few cons in my country took place just this weekend and that along with all the reports (from both staff and visitors) got me thinking about the unsure relationship between cons and me – about my part in the whole scheme of our convention sphere. The whole thought process caused me to stop worrying about integrals and low productivity and spurred me to sit down and write what could be called a reflective essay. Expect this post to be personal, a bit pathetic and heavily marked with my tendency to over-think everything.

I attended my first con in May 2007. Back then I was an aspiring cylon – a term introduced by one the country’s best panelists and immediately adopted by a group of enthusiastic con-goers, who now call themselves Cylons. A cylon (name taken from Battlestar Galactica, of course) is best recognized from their con program sheet, where they have marked the panels/workshops/events they want to visit, sometimes even with a priority rating. And they will really go through with their plan, attend all they can and probably take notes. I think this was and still is one of my favorite phases.

Next I evolved into a member of staff. I started going to weekly meet-ups with some of the local otaku and gracefully slipped into the role of the cashier and the odd-job girl. I enjoyed it! It lets you experience a whole different side of the convention. You’re not worrying about being late for a panel by day and finding a place to sleep by night. You’re running around doing everything from collecting garbage to screening anime by day and preparing the second day’s events by night. Forget about sleep.

I’m currently in the third stage. Remember that convention I mentioned above the break? I didn’t go to that one. I didn’t to go the con in September either. The same applies for the one in summer. I’ve come to the point where I feel uncomfortable among enthusiastic people, well children, half my age, who keep screaming and screeching about their favorite anime/manga/character, about how 「かわいい」 something is… I am no longer willing to abandon the hope for at least four hours of sleep every night. So I spent the weekend doing schoolwork.

Why don’t I do panels? Why don’t I cosplay? Why don’t I participate in various competitions? Why don’t I participate on any level?

The above questions are in fact closely tied to the reason I set up this blog. I’m not eager to get up on stage in front of… well, any number of humans. I consider myself prettier than average and with mere 70 kilos on my 185 cm skeleton I don’t exactly qualify for the often heard/read “I’m too fat to measure up to the idealized characters and professional cosplayers” excuse. However cosplay is similarly unthinkable as a panel. Nevertheless, from behind my cute anime icon I shall gladly impart my wisdom unto you. I want to compete hidden behind my avatar. I want  to create AMVs for our biyearly contests. I want to write a visual novel for the unofficial (because of insufficient number of entries) ren-ai contest. But alas, I am extensively unpersevering, unindustrious,… Simply said, I am a lazy procrastinator.

I’ve reached the point where I just don’t want to bother with things like that anymore. Often I’ll say that maybe I’ve gotten too old for this and my older otaku friends laugh at me.

You have witnessed my reflection and I have come to the conclusion that I should get my priorities straight and finally start working towards the things (I dare not call them goals) I want to accomplish.

Feel free to share your thoughts on con-going, public displays of otaku-ness or my attitude.

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One comment on “Cons and I

  1. Kortir says:

    To be honest, that seems quite normal for me. It’s very different thing to be a public face in any form, particularly when it leaves you open to people having the chance to find you when you don’t want them to. For me, it’s an ever-shifting balance where I choose on a case-by-case basis whether to give out real life information (occasionally) or not (more likely). I give out information as a sign of trust, saying “here, I feel you’re enough of a friend that you won’t do something crazy like post this on the internet for anyone to see.” And I don’t even have as valid a reason as you do, being a much less attractive male.

    Personally, I love con-going. I stick largely to the background, though, rarely participating in anything with my name on it (aside from the recent Key panel) and mostly seeing friends and shopping. And I’m also a procrastinator- sure, I could learn how to make AMVs and get some of these ideas out of my head, but I’d rather hang around and RP on twitter for hours at a time. But again, that’s just me, and you may have different ideas about what you want to do and what you’d rather do.

    Honestly, you need to discover what’s best for you in your priorities. I think you have the right idea in mind- that you do need to work towards what you would like to accomplish- which is a great start. If I can make a couple suggestions of what to do next, maybe you need to evaluate how much time you want to invest in anime- and for that matter, what you currently still love about it. Maybe it’s time to go to another convention but do it differently, and see if you can still get enjoyment out of it by taking it at your own pace. I can tell you quite honestly that these days, I do pay more attention to getting a full night’s sleep than whether or not I can be the first one out the door at 7 in the morning so I can get breakfast before the convention center reopens for the day. I have fun, but I do so at my own pace- even if it means sacrificing some of the things I may otherwise have wanted to see in favor of “yukkuri shitteite ne” (taking it easy) so that I don’t end the weekend more exhausted than I entered it. Will that work for you? Would taking another approach, such as going only to spend time with friends, or giving the hotel pool equal time with the convention, or even getting into long discussions with random people, serve to make it a better experience? Or is it truly best just staying home? Everyone’s different.

    As far as public displays of otakuness? That’s really up to the individual. If you’re uncomfortable with public displays like running a panel or cosplaying, then it’s obviously not for you unless you go through some serious mental changes- for example, if you suddenly came to a realization of one sort or another. I’m proof myself that they do happen on occasion- it wasn’t a particular day or anything, but at some point I just got to where I realized that I didn’t care what people thought about me as long as I could be able to enjoy my hobby to its fullest extent, and I didn’t realize it until I had already been doing it for a while. But if you’re uncomfortable, then you’re uncomfortable. It’s certainly not right to espouse an opinion in which you’re somehow bad for feeling that way. I can see where some people may not understand it, but they can always at least respect it- and respect you for it.

    As for your attitude, again, the fact that you’re thinking about it and reflecting on it is nothing but positive. Even if you’re unsure now where you stand, taking the time to consider it and say “hey, I should really figure out what my priorities are, and what I want to accomplish.” means that you’re in a good place mentally to progress. I hope that whatever conclusion you come to is comfortable and satisfying for you.

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