I'm 38 years old. I'm a cancer survivor. I'm a mother. I'm a wife. I try to embrace new things to remind myself that life is short and we should never take a single moment for granted.
This is why it didn't strike me as off the charts crazy that yesterday the idea popped into my head that I should try rollerblading. For the first time. Ever.
I consulted a few websites and even called a friend to recruit another adventurist soul to join me. She said no thank you, however she had something I lacked...experience. She assured me blading was most likely easier to do than old school roller skates, which gave me confidence. What about safety gear? She never used gear like that.
After 23 minutes of research, I climbed in my car, purse in hand to buy a pair of rollerblades.
When I arrived at the closest sporting goods department I know...AKA Wal-Mart...I was shocked to discover every rollerblade set they had, was THE SAME PRICE! Now how was I supposed to choose the "best" pair?
As it turned out, they only had one type in my size....size range actually. The fact they were adjustable sizes should have been a deterring factor for me. This must mean they are geared for broke parents of growing children...not a product for grown people. I apparently am NOT the target demographic for cheaply made rollerblades at Wal-Mart. I would soon see why.
My favorite was the young girl in an Apocalypse costume. She is shown in photos #7-10. Not only was her costume very creative, but she was a natural performer, who engaged the audience without hesitation during the judging of the masquerade ball. (Perhaps her mom will see this post and comment with more about her darling daughter. I'm intensely curious about her incredible stage pretense.)
We walked downstairs where I observed people of all ages, all shapes and sizes - enjoying the sights, conversation, and scheduled events of the convention. The stress and anxiety I felt before, melted away.
Lesson Four: OryCon attendees are 100% comfortable with exactly who they are. They allow others to be exactly who they are as well.
I was worried about not fitting in, which I quickly discovered was irrelevant entirely. Unlike other events, this wasn’t a judgement parade. It wasn’t a competition (well, it was but not in the bad way) to be “the best” anything. It was merely a venue to BE your best, authentic self.
I discovered a brilliant and exciting thing called “Hospitality”. Not “hospitality” but “Hospitality” with a capital H. Dozens and dozens of volunteers provided food, beverages, and entertainment to registered attendees. It was like going to your friends house to celebrate (insert any fun summer holiday here), except it was friend after friend after friend. As my friend introduced me as a “first time” attendee, it seemed everyone wanted to ensure I was having a good time and checked in on me throughout the evening. Club music was plentiful and I was able to dance to my heart’s content. A rare thing as a wife, mom, and career woman. On the rare occasion I DO get to do dancing in my regular life, it’s usually stressful as people are in their own personal dance reality show, looking to win some internal competition against everyone else on the dance floor.
Lesson Five: Just Dance. Everyone is here to have fun and no one gives two shits how you go about it on the dance floor!
We proceeded to take our bags to the room. You would think we were packed for more more than a quick weekend trip by the bags and luggage we hauled up the elevator and down the hall. As we settled into the room, it was only a few short minutes before the beds and closets were overflowing with our attire for the weekend. I learned my first lesson.
Lesson one: OryCon is all about the costume changes!
Another friend of my friend, I’ll call her Lavois (not to protect the innocent, but because that’s her name and saying “friend” all the time is going to get confusing) arrived and the clothing options became even more abundant.
Lesson two: Attendees of OryCon enjoy sharing.
Between my friend and Lavois, clothing and accessories were plentiful. I think they enjoyed accessorizing me as much as I enjoyed the fun of being “dressed up”. Another fun fact about my non-redneck self is that I am a breast cancer survivor. Diagnosed 3 years ago and only about 18 months out of active treatment my hair is just now to a length where I feel feminine again. During treatment, make-up was something I just didn’t have the energy nor inclination for. Therefore, being dressed, accessorized, and taking the luxury of powder, blush and lipstick felt wonderful.
walked in to the hotel with my friend and and took a look around as we
approached the check-in line. To my right, a normal hotel counter, with
crisply dressed, young and vibrant hotel employees welcoming us in. To
my left, I saw dozens of people young and older (not old, just older
than some) milling about. I had made myself commit to being comfortable
and secure - even IF I was out of my element. The mental commitment
didn’t stick as we checked in. I had informed my friend of this before
our arrival - even confiding in her that walking into the local high
school with my kids still made me feel anxious. I have a theory that my
high school student anxiety must be a combination of my lack of
popularity as a teen myself and my personal insecurities of not
graduating high school (hey, I got my GED, so that STILL doesn’t make me
a red-neck!). It really pisses me off that as a grown adult I can’t
walk into a high school and just feel confident. They are teen-agers for
crying out loud! So, as I walked into the hotel lobby, that feeling of
“not good enough” creeped up, irreverently ignoring my mental commitment
to be confident in this new crowd of strangers.