We live in a world where we’re constantly trying to fit in somewhere. Whether it’s in school or at your job or even in your families, we’re always molding ourselves to the expectations of others, usually at the cost of our personalities and the things we truly love. Fitting in for anyone can be tricky, fitting in for anyone on the spectrum can be a an entirely different bag of worms. Those who know me and those who have followed my blogs will know that fitting in hasn’t been the easiest thing for me. Growing up I never felt like I belonged anywhere. Through much of my childhood I filled that void with video games and cartoons, the only escape I had from what was a very confusing and chaotic childhood (Read the blog “Those Awkward Times When Game Consoles Understood Me Better Than People Ever Would….” for details on the subject). The love for video games followed me through my youth and eventually my adulthood. Over the years I grew to be very nerdy and geeky and that truly set me apart from people, mostly in the worse way possible. It’s not very easy for me to make friends with any joe schmo. Realizing that a lot of people, women especially don’t dig the whole nerd thing I usually have to turn that part of me off when I meet brand new people I don’t know all that well in order to avoid weirding them out or giving them the wrong idea.
On the surface it seems simple but on the inside it hurts a lot because I know I’m not being true to me. I want to be able to introduce myself to new people as me and only me. This weekend I had the chance to do that more often than ever. This past weekend I got to enjoy the awesomeness that is PAX (Penny Arcade Expo), a giant video game convention that has only gotten bigger and bigger over the years. Over there I feel free, free to express myself, free to have discussions about what I love the most and eventually feel comfortable enough to venture into other topics. Conventions like PAX are great because they give me the chance to meet other like me who love video games and technology. It’s a place where people from all over the country and even other parts of the world can converge into one giant fun fest and express our love of everything that is nerdy and geeky. From playing the latest games, many of which haven’t been released to dressing up in costumes from various video games, cartoons, and tv shows. PAX is a place a place to just let loose and enjoy yourself but most importantly it’s where I get to be me and no one else. For the entirety of the weekend I paid homage to one of my favorite game shows of all time “Legends of the Hidden Temple”. For those who were too young to remember the show or just didn’t pay any mind to it, it was a classic 90s game show on Nickelodeon that followed multiple teams as they competed in various contests for the right to enter a temple and collect a treasure for a chance to win a grand prize. It was a pretty unique game show that just stuck with me so I decided to rep an underdog team, PURPLE PARROTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The costume at times was a miss with those who were too young to remember the show or those who never caught on to it but for those who did remember it which was a decent amount, it was a massive hit, so much that it ended up making a gallery on a popular tech site. The link is down here.
The real highlight of the weekend however was when I ran into a girl who also came as a Purple Parrot. I had been told that there was another Purple Parrot at the event and I hoped that I would run into them and my wish was granted. We saw each other while at a bust stop and when we realized it we immediately embraced which was interesting because I don’t randomly embrace people who I’ve never even introduced myself to and yet without a second thought I hugged this girl followed by this epic picture with other Temple fanatics.
It was in this moment where I truly felt like I belonged. The only other times I have ever felt this are being with friends, my usual Tuesday meetup, and working with Easter Seals. It’s not easy for me to feel the sense of belonging so when I do I never take that feeling for granted because outside of my comfort zone I won’t experience that for a while. It feels great when you can be you and only you. Being in this costume on a bus at 8 am with regular people was a reminder that I shouldn’t care what people think. If you have to hide a part of yourself just to please others than those people aren’t worth your time. The end of PAX is always the most depressing thing ever because it’s when it hits me that I have to go back to the real world and deal with the problems Ieft behind but I’ll never forget the really awesome people I met and connected with in such a short time. I’ve never forget all the awesome games I got to play and the concerts I got to watch but most importantly, I’ll never forget the joy of being able to be me and only me. Below are some more pics of an epic weekend done too soon.
Stay classy world, stay classy….