I’ve sold my fine-art-for-the-smart on the festival circuit for two decades. Circuits encompass everything from rodeo clowns to software releases. Mine is sci-fi/fantasy conventions, kink shows, swinger’s events and Renaissance Festivals.
These gatherings bring together many similar minds, and can be intense experiences. For example, Frolicon is a pansexual, woman-run extravaganza, with expert-led panels on everything from tango lessons to how to be a good slave, to navigating the sticky pathways inherent in multi-gendered polyamorous quads.
People from all over the world join this smart, permissive, safe environment. The event is contained in a single hotel, where (with one or two quickly-punted exceptions) everyone is open-minded, ready for a good time, and working within the clearly defined code of the kink community: no means no, be respectful, no touching unless it’s clear that’s okay.
I love this space because I wish the world always worked this way. People say what they mean, are clear and honest about what they desire, and if boundaries are overstepped, apologies are forthcoming & it doesn’t happen again. It’s a wonderful, well-defined, fun, envelope-pushing, clear way to live.
Events run from a single day to several months, but after a fully immersive, joyous, overwhelming, permissive environment, everybody goes home. This means jobs, challenging relationships, kids, or a harsh, judgmental, broken world where jackasses cut us off in traffic, and elevators are full of flat-eyed people who can’t wait to get away from each other.
When a con ends, a pattern emerges. People cry, holding tight to each other, save up all the moments until the next year when they are reunited. At home, it hits HARD. Con Drop. All that sparkly-happy-dragon-riding madness of the last few days is GONE. All those people who feel like the family you weren’t born with, hundreds or thousands of miles away. And the catbox needs cleaning.
For me, these shows are almost a transcendental experience. The interactions and community are often what religion should be. But you can’t live at church all the time. You take what you learn in the heart of experience, and bring it back to the world.
I believe that is the fix for the resultant depression. We must put as much energy to our lives & relationships as we do our jobs and mortgage payments. At cons, all this is done for us, in a safe pre-package. It’s the same reason that making friendships outside of school is HARD. You don’t have your peers suddenly shoved in your path continuously; you have to WORK at new relationships.
Wanna fight Con Drop? Tend new friendships like a sacred garden. Bring that joy, that fearlessness, that lightness, into the “real” (whatever that is) world with you. Talk to strangers. Smile at people on the street. Make dinner or gaming parties (or both) in your home. Bring the show. Make plans. If you’re kinky, find a dungeon, or make one in your basement. Existing online isn’t enough – there is no substitute for eye contact and body language.
And plan to worship together at church…wait, I mean…attend another event, soon!
(If you enjoyed this piece, I have a book out. You can see it over here).