The first time I went to Wincon was the second year it was held, in October 2007. I was twenty-three years old, and from Ohio - the notion of hopping a plane and spending the weekend in L.A. was something only movie stars and other rich and famous people did, and here I was doing it myself. All by myself. It was thrilling. My parents had been sheltering my entire life, and they weren't exactly happy about the idea of me flying across the country, but I was determined. I was an adult. I could handle this. Armed with a semi-busted laptop (the wifi sensor was broken) and newly-dyed green hair, I was ready to take on the world.
I didn't really know anybody at Wincon - even my two roommates were usernames I had met on the livejournal forum who had also been looking for roommates. There were two fangirls, Gigglingkat and Poisontaster, who I'd met at a previous convention (Fangoria, Feb 07), but other than that I was shiny and new and ready to make some new friends.
In those early days, Wincon was all about the TV show Supernatural, and the fandom was still very small and close-knit. Over and over I would see people's usernames and think, "I know I've read some of their fic and loved it, but I can't remember exactly which fic it was..." And then, of course, there were the times when I knew EXACTLY which fic it was, and I was embarrassingly fangirly over the authors.
Which ended up being a great thing. One of the authors I squeed all over, Clex_monkie89, has since become one of my dearest friends. I still remember looking at her, with her hair dyed half pink and half blue, and thinking, "Yes. These are my people. I've found my home. You are amazing and I want to be your friend."
At the raffle that year I won a pack of movies that Jared Padalecki had been in - mostly horror flicks which I would probably not have bought myself, and have since watched in the middle of the day with the lights turned on, but it was amazing to win something. I was at Wincon, and I was a winner, and the world was made of win.
Excerpt from my convention wrap-up: "Still having a total blast, and I'm sososo happy that I hopped a plane and came. It's such a thrill to dive into the deep end of the fandom pool and surround yourself with people who are just as obsessed with the show as you."
I made a few notes in my convention wrap-up of times when I reached my social interaction limit and needed to retreat somewhere quiet to recharge. This is something that's happened to me every year at Wincon - at least once, I will need to retreat from the action and take a breather. And that's okay. I'm so blessed that I was never shamed for needing some private time, that I was never embarrassed or made to feel weird that I needed to recharge my batteries. Wincon is so accepting that not only was I NOT judged, I was embraced and found that I was not alone. That other people understood and accepted me the way I was, because they'd felt that too. And that feeling of acceptance in a safe space is something that is so rare and precious, and so very lacking in so many other parts of my day-to-day life, that I look forward to Wincon every year.
And then there's Bad Fic Idol.
Excerpt from my convention wrap-up: "American Fic Idol - I debated about whether or not to attend this, 'cause I'd never seen a single ep of American Idol and I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be awesome. There's nothing quite like listening to a sexy woman read horrendously bad sex fic and cracking up laughing over it with a bunch of other people. I'm scarred for life, and I love it. ^_^ Accidental butt-sex. Taking a moment to realize that your brother's been turned into a leopard (with great balance). Lavender eyes. Jensen the paramedic. Palm trees in Minnesota. Sigils. Pantsless. Barbequing John Winchester (their father's) body the day after Dr. Kripke was unable to save John (their father). Too-rough tongues. Orbs. Match-making haunted hotel rooms. Dark and stormy nights. Designer dresses with thigh-sheaths for swords. Surprise m-preg. Single emo healing tears. Rosebuds. Being unable to distinguish between blood and peanut butter. Appletinis. Talking tail lashing. Confusion over going commando. Ghost poltergeist spirit things. Take my love, for my heart and my ass are already yours. The purest bolt of lightning. Jared popping in as a surprise guest-star. Surprise incestral bestiality slash. Diamond-encrusted demon-killing E-bay swords. Malevolent 18-inch dildos that are pointed at one end. Ellen as Bobby's car. You guys are all on crack and I love you all."
Excerpt from my convention wrap-up: "And now we've moved upstairs. Not sure whose room I'm in, but it's all cool. I've got about six hours, give or take, before I've got to go to the airport. There is something so relaxed and Zen-like about hanging out with six other girls and four other laptops, and listening to the plot of a fic unfold and come into creation. It's beautiful."
Excerpt from my convention wrap-up: "This is why I love Wincon, fic writer conventions, and my fandom in general. The complete lack of shame. Open discussions about gay incenstual sex over breakfast. Cleavage on display in low-cut tops. Fangirl squee. Willing participants acting out sexual positions for the benefit of the writers. Reality checks. Purple nurples. Accents. Badly written porn read aloud. Fandom swag. Cash tucked between breasts. Orbs. Plotbunnies. Wincest karaoke. Links. New friends. Thanks for the memories, y'all."
I love Wincon so much, and it's brought so many great friends and happiness into my life ever since the very first time. Please help me save this amazing thing by buying a ticket to next year's con, or some other fandomy perk. Please help me keep this alive - every donation helps, no matter how small. Thank you.