I hate going to things alone. It's a minor social anxiety thing. I don't need to be joined at the hip with someone, but I do much better if I have a person as a social anchor. Add to that that this Wiscon was the anniversary of some Bad Shit in my life, and a big part of the beginning of what became Bad Shit. (Fun fact: relationship with Michael & Lynne would not have continued past Wiscon if Judah hadn't done everything he did the Sunday/Monday of last Wiscon and the everything the following week. The fucked-up M/L dynamic was super-clear as soon as I was with them in person, and Sunday night M pulled a "jesus christ it's a lion get in the car", but things with J exploded and I had no bandwidth and he dove in and took everything over and I let him because I was shattered. (He told me later that he knew J. was emotionally abusive and that J/me would only last about another 6-9 months. He didn't give even the vaguest hint of that awareness when he was wooing me. Which makes me Think.))
(And see, this is a thing. This is a thing that's kept me from writing about my life lately, because a lot of it has been seeing toxic M/L stuff with clear eyes, and I do not want to bombard the reader with "and also this". But in talking about last Wiscon being bad, M's behavior that Sunday night had as much to do with it as J's. And even before Sunday, my chatlogs with J show a bit of "how do I get out of this M/L thing, I'll figure it out after con because I'm so freaking busy just let me get through this.")
The last M/L thing, and the only one that's nonparenthetical for Reasons, is that L's entire intent with the harassment-via-judicial-system she tried to pull earlier this year was to bar me from going to cons in general and Wiscon in particular. I spent over $2,000 fighting that thing in order to be able to freely practice my damn career. So yes, Social Anxiety Penguin or not, I was damn well going to Wiscon.
So how did it go?
Thursday was hard. I always get in a day early, because I work the IAF's table at the Gathering Friday early afternoon and don't want to risk getting in too late, and because travelling can be physically painful for me and I need a day for my body to adjust. But not that many people are around. I went to get my groceries, passed places that reminded me of Judah (who'd accompanied me in 2012), got mopey. Got worried.
What helped? Karaoke!
I am not a good singer. :) I'd been to the pre-Wiscon karaoke before, but never sang. But this is my Year of Being Brave! And so.
In from of a bunch of lovely Wisconners and some unexpectedly supportive townies: "Fever" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".
And I'm so glad I did.
Saying "fuck it" and getting up and singing - without any social anchor - set the tone for my whole weekend. Set my levels at "yes, I can do this, I can do anything."
And I did.
I'm not going to recap my whole weekend because it will look like a whole bunch of name-dropping. Another characteristic of this Wiscon? Realizing that this past year had cost me no one who mattered (and very few people at that; those who thought they'd cost me more have a distorted view of the world and community, it seems) and gained me a lot of friends and allies. New friends were made this year, and existing friendships strengthened. Our reading was awesome (and had unintentional horror/movie themes!), I'm pretty sure I did well on my panels (and had fun doing them)... the big thing to get used to was not taking other people's schedules into account! Last year M/L, year before J, year before I was rooming with S00j & co... and at local cons I'm always with Adam and usually with Elayna. The flexibility was unnerving! But I adjusted. And only having to deal with my own schedule meant that when friends needed breaks, I could help. I was able to stop by the art show and the dealer's room a few times. I wandered off and discovered new restaurants. I got to spend time with almost everybody... not enough time, of course. Never enough time.
This is the first year I really danced at the Floomp (formerly Genderfloomp).
I know you've seen me on the floor before, fellow Wiscon people. But that was me-in-pain and also me-minding-people; year before last, I was managing Judah. Last year, I was managing Judah from afar and then Michael pulled the thing that would've been the last straw, so I was barely at the Floomp at all.
This year, I've gotten so much of my body back. Physical therapy is a godsend. So, combination of two factors:
1. I did not have to keep track of/help/manage/do anydamnthing for a partner who was invested in not letting go and having fun.
2. I was physically capable of dancing. Of really dancing. In a way I hadn't been in years.
Plus the "I don't give a fuck if I look silly I'M DOING THE THING" that I picked up on Thursday and didn't put down the entire con. Still haven't put down.
So I danced my ass off. With a variety of wonderful people. And nudged Patty into entering the dance contest as my champion, WHICH SHE WON. And she called me her prom queen. <3 I'd gotten an amazing prom-dress-under-the-sea confection at the clothing swap and had stick-on rhinestones and my hair was everywhere and I had a damn blast.
And that was my Wiscon, or bits of it. That's the part that's not namedroppy or getting into Other People's Stuff or straight-up panel recaps. For me, this Wiscon was about freedom. It was about being brave. It was about being who I want to be - that thread of deliberate choice that's been the theme of this year.
And yeah, a project came out of it. I'm working on it. :)
So that's a bit about Wiscon, because I've been way behind. It was nervous-making to go, but I went, and I thrived, and it was probably my best Wiscon ever, y'all.