Lessons learned at ShibariCon

This year, ShibariCon was a fantastically exhausting experience! I almost didn’t go–too much work to do, and too many mundane tasks relating to some real estate I still own in the area. Grudgingly, I admitted that OK, I’ve committed to volunteer; of course I’ll go. But I won’t have fun.

And when I arrived, something changed. All the alienation I’d been feeling due to Seattle’s famous chilly reception melted away. It melted in the warm hugs of friends I was genuinely happy to see and who were genuinely happy to see me. For the first time in over a year, I felt like I belonged in the scene. Doubts, fears and insecurities melted away in the face of catching up with old friends and making new ones. I became the classic Minx, happy, bouncy and ready to have some fun.

I don’t want to be all cheesy and tell you not to be afraid of going to a conference alone. It still sucks to do that, and it’s still hard to try to connect with people in a weekend setting when you’re flying solo. You’ll still get turned down or blown off for scenes; I know I did and was. But my experience ended up being so deliciously positive that I want to share that joy, just in case it might inspire bravery the next time you fly solo at an event.

Stuff I Learned at ShibariCon 2010

  • I do belong here. The only one thinking otherwise was me.
  • When I am my own best self, wonderful things happen. And when I feel at home and welcomed, I am my own best self. Self-doubt is what kills the confidence, and without confidence, nothing is fun.
  • Scheduling at a con is hard/tricky. Cut yourself and your play partners some slack.
  • Don’t take it personally. Instead, find a way to take care of yourself that involves sharing your pain (and joy) with others.
  • Hide your crazy. But let little bits show in fits of controlled vulnerability. A controlled burn, if you will. :-)
  • Never compare yourself to others in any way. Instead, focus on what is making today awesome for you. If you close your eyes and feel a lack of awesome, put your finger on why, and then go ask for that.
  • Geek negotiation tip: if you’re unsure of where to start but you know you want to play, instead of asking a person for a scene or play, ask trusted friends whom they would recommend for play who might be free tonight.
  • Give your cell phone # to hot guys/girls so they can text you. (Outside the con space, of course)
  • Love yourself. Love your kink. Be fascinated by others’ kink.

All of this has me thinking about teaching a ShibariCon for Newbies/Solos class next year, with specific activities designed to help people check their emotional baggage at the door and have the confidence to have fun. Wouldn’t that be a GREAT way to start a con?

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