Last weekend I had the privilege and honor to attend Denver Comic Con. It was my first ever convention-both covering and attending. I didn’t know what to expect. I had seen pictures and heard stories of other conventions- the outrageous costumes, the celebrities of geekdom all congregating under one roof to create a mecca for anyone who proudly calls themselves nerds and geeks. It seemed unreal that a city like Denver would be able to create something like that. I had grown-up on the outskirts of Denver, nothing geeky never happened in Denver. Imagine South Park only with a lot less snow. It is Bronco country, pure and simple. It is a city the bleeds orange and blue in the fall, and purple and silver in the spring. During the winter and summer months people will migrate west to the mountains to enjoy everything our gorgeous state has to offer.
As a kid I wasn’t interested in sports or skiing. While I loved running through the state parks pretending I was Pocahontas, I loved watching Pokemon more. I never felt included, I never felt as if I fit in anywhere. I was the outcast in my own group of friends. Even when I was on the inside, I always felt as if there was a wall between us. How could I explain to them how much Sailor Moon meant to me, when all they watched was Full House? When everyone was cheering over John Elway leading us to our first Super Bowl championship, I was thinking about why didn’t Harley Quinn and the Joker ever get married.
Middle school was possibly the worst time of my life. In elementary school, it was deemed cool if you knew all 150 Pokemon, but the second you stepped into that 6th grade classroom, the knowledge that made you so many friends previously, would now mark you as a social pariah. In order to make friends I had to hide the fact that I enjoyed geeky things. I was essentially two people for those 3 miserable years. I could never fully enjoy myself in front of my “friends” for fear that something might slip out and end up causing me to be ridiculed. It saddened me to feel like I was alone, I felt like a freak. Why couldn’t I be like any other girl? Why couldn’t I like talking about hair and make-up? All I ever wanted to talk about was Harry Potter and Yu-Gi-Oh. Internally I shut down, I went through the motions of life, I smiled when I was required to, and laughed where it was appropriate but I never felt any true joy.
I was lucky, in high school I had found friends that accepted my nerdiness. Using the words “mudblood” and “muggle” became the norm. I had felt like I had finally belonged someplace and that knowledge helped me start the process of actually opening myself up and discovering who I am.
It’s a slow, long and difficult process, one that I am still going through to this day. So as I wandered along the many booths in the exhibit hall at Denver Comic Con, I realized that had there been conventions in my youth, I would’ve learned earlier that there was nothing wrong with me. Going to a convention is like going home. You’re around people who love the same things that you love and are excited to talk to you about them. There’s no need to worry about being made fun of for liking something that may be seen as “uncool”. There is a unspoken sense of camaraderie among the people at the conventions. It’s as if a weight has been lifted and people are allowed to express themselves in brand new ways.
Each person is creative and unique in their own way. It’s sometimes hard to express that creativity due to the fear of being judged. That’s what make conventions so great they are a safe place to be able to express yourself. Everyone is amazed and proud of people who took the time and effort to create their costumes. It’s a time to celebrate the different and celebrate the people who create wonderful works of art, literature and music.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen a single episode of Doctor Who or you have no idea who the panelists are, you should still go to a convention if you have the opportunity and have a lot of fun. Marvel at the fantastic costumes people have managed to put together and be in awe of the crafts and wares people have put so much effort into creating. Denver Comic Con was a weekend of letting go, once you enter those doors you don’t have to worry about real life. For a few hours you can let all your troubles slip away and enjoy yourself.
If there was ever a moment where someone felt alone in the world, conventions are there to realize that you’re not alone. There are thousands upon millions of people that understand you, that like what you like. I commend the city of Denver and all the people who worked tirelessly to create such a fantastic weekend.
It doesn’t matter if it is the Denver Comic Con, the New York convention or the big daddy of Comic Cons in San Diego. It doesn’t have to be a “comic con” per se, if there’s any type of convention near you, I highly recommend that you go and experience the fun yourself.
Here are some pictures I managed to take of the weekend. The rest of the pictures died along with my broken memory card.