This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) on behalf of VRV. I’ve always loved the rush of energy at the thought of going to a convention. Every time I go to a con I want to bottle the feeling of excitement and joy I get just from being in the convention space. The feeling is infectious, and watching is spread through a crowd of people dressed in everything ranging from handmade cosplay and inflatable mascot suits to craft foam armor and a Batman cowl, is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.
As a long time con-goer, cons meant being able to meet up with friends I maybe hadn’t seen for a year—since the last convention. But C2E2 was the first convention I attended completely alone. It was my first time in Chicago, I was alone in my hotel room, and It was the first convention I would be attending as a representative of VRV… so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Sure, I knew what I was GOING to do: C2E2 was the debut of a project called the “VRV Gallery:” a space intended to be a physical reflection of the VRV website. It featured a three-foot tall (LIFE SIZE!) Catbug statue, along with 3D canvases painted and fully decorated by some PHENOMENAL artists, and VRV logos you could sign with expo markers.
— VRV (@WatchVRV) April 7, 2018
But once I was satisfied with the photos I had taken in the gallery, I remember thinking, “Well, now what am I going to DO?” I felt myself wandering around the con, taking in the tables at Artist Alley and smiling whenever I saw a cute cosplay or a group of friends gushing excitedly with each other about the autograph they had just gotten. I saw myself in everyone that was attending that con and I felt a strange sense of loneliness, because it felt like I was an outsider in a space I had once called home.
I attended panels, took photos and videos, and would go back to my hotel room to post everything I had seen because I wanted to share the experience with you, the person behind the screen. But I was still lonely. Why wasn’t it working?
There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with interacting with people face-to-face, one that I was unconsciously falling prey to.Not wearing any cosplay and trying to stay “professional” had made me feel self-conscious and unapproachable. Even though I’ve always thought of conventions as the best way for fans of shared interests to meet each other, I attended events with my friends and had so much fun with them, I had actually forgotten what it felt like to connect with strangers over our shared interests IN PERSON. As I looked around the con, it felt like other people had forgotten, too, even when those I aske for cosplay photos responded with joy at having been recognized
So let me end this post by introducing myself! Hey, I’m Mel and I work at VRV! I write every tweet, Facebook, and Instagram post and I read every single comment. My favorite thing is listening to people describe their favorite shows and characters. So please, @ us on any of these platforms and tell me about it.