My first JournalCon last year was this incredibly adrenaline-producing, overwhelming experience and I met some people I full-on idolized and I thought, this is it, I’ve found this amazing community out of nowhere, all these people I’d never know otherwise, all with their stories. I didn’t even think about the internet weirdness; it was just like, here are some awesome talented people and they (we!) write about stuff on the internet and we can get to know each others lives that way and be on the way to liking each other before we even meet. And I still feel that way, actually. That weekend and this past JournalCon weekend allowed me to meet people I think I would like whether or not they had online journals, which is so great. I feel I’ve made some awesome new friends and you know how important that is to me.
And maybe that’s why this year’s meeting was a little different for me; I already knew a lot of people there and it felt more like a chance to see those people and spend time with them that didn’t necessarily have much to do with online journaling. I mean, I still read all their journals and am mostly blown away by their writing and everything…I can’t quite articulate the difference. I have friends all over the country that I don’t see very often, and these folks are just some more of them, I guess. I just met them in a different way than I met the Key Girls or my college friends.
And it was lovely to spend time with them. I connected with people I’ve been emailing with since last year and made some new connections with people I’ve been wanting to meet. There was a lot of talking about boys and hairs and candy and offers to make out, as well as impromptu poetry readings and the discovery that some people know all the words to Shoop and Pour Some Sugar On Me. I played Ms. Pacman for the first time in twenty years and lost miserably. I got my standard Hangover By Proxy, which I still think is totally unfair because hello, I thought that was one of the perks of not drinking, the not-getting of hangovers. I got to hug and kiss so many pretty girls. The MATH dinner introduced me to Ethiopian food and I have high hopes for that becoming a beautiful relationship. I read two entries out loud and everything and people were gracious enough to tell me they didn’t totally suck. I started doing this stupid (yet oddly satisfying) thing where I would draw a heart in the air in the direction of someone I liked…toward the end of the weekend I started adding in sparkles with my fingers, which is sort of hard to explain. You just have to visualize it.
I spent some time being the less attractive parts of myself as well this year, I’m sorry to report. Last year I wrote about how I wished I could be the person I was at JournalCon all the time and I can state unequivocally that I hope for everyone’s sake that I am not the person I was this weekend all the time. I feel like I was a little cattier and bitchier and more frustrated over things out of my control than was strictly normal. It was pretty unpleasant being around me sometimes. I did have some times of deep personal sadness and some times of general irritation with the world in general, when I was overwhelmed by all the people and everything going on around me. Also there was a pool of vomit outside the elevator on my floor of the hotel Saturday night and you know that doesn’t do much for one’s party spirit.
The best part for me was the conversations I had with various people that confirmed that I really have found some sort of community. It’s kind of a weird one, to be sure, and I’m still trying to find my place in it and I am often convinced I don’t belong in it, but I guess that’s appropriate somehow. Anyway, I was able to talk about and listen to deep life issues sorts of things with several people I liked very much, in ways that felt totally natural and comforting to me. I love that, I love it when you’re able to find affinities with people that may be very different from you and whom you don’t really know but whom you believe you can trust anyway. That’s the most important thing in my life, I’m starting to realize, and it’s a pure happiness for me to have been able to have some of that during JournalCon this year.
That, and the hugging and kissing pretty girls. And a limo ride. And the Nerd Ropes. And that people actually threw pimp hands at me. Those were awesome too.