Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Adventures in Confidence (i went to a convention again)

right, guess who went on another london adventure!

after much planning and saving of money i went to Winter london film and comic con (WLFCC since i cant be arsed to write the full name every time). travelling to london on back 2 days in a row was exhausting but worth it.

travel was by train. ive mentioned before that im very nervous when it comes to travelling to places on my own, however i am getting past my concerns for that. i travelled to earls court on both days on my own, which was just about manageable. ive done that a few times now and its a lot easier and less intimidating for me now i know where im going. main line to finsbury park. picadilly underground line to earls court. sorted. 
on the way back i travelled with a few friends who lived a little further down the line from me, so i didnt have to travel as far on my own, which was nice. its strange how just having one or two people who you know can really alleviate your concerns and worries.  

 the saturday was spent wandering around the vendors and spending the money i had saved up. i also met a couple of guests including The Mountain from Game of Thrones, who makes me look tiny (im 6ft 4) and Andrew Rothenberg, who played Jim in the first series of The Walking Dead and got their autographs, which was awesome.

dudes fucking huge!

ive mentioned before that i have a group of friends on facebook who are all con-goers and i got to see lots of them over the weekend too. i exchanged christmas gifts with the people in our group who i am closest too and i am genuinely amazed by the kindness of some people. anyone who has dealt with self confidence and/or self worth issues will know the feeling of "im nothing. why are people being nice to me?" the simple answer is its because those people who are being nice to you care. i dont know why they care about me, but they do. and that is an absolutely invaluable thing to have in your life. people dont stick by you through both good and bad times if they dont give a shit. the fact that they do care is a hard thing to accept, but i have found that when you do eventually accept it makes so many things so much easier.

 friends are the single most valuable help someone struggling with mental health issues such as depression can have. 

saturday evening was a bit of an event. i hadnt eaten much all day i almost collapsed. i was fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who were with me who forced me to eat and stayed with me until i was feeling well enough to go back to the train station and go home. rule number 1 of having a day out: ALWAYS eat. 

sunday. well, sunday was a HUGE thing for me. a group of us decided months ago that we were going to go to WLFCC on the sunday dressed up as characters from The Walking Dead. i ended up going as Daryl Dixon, mainly because i actually have a crossbow. part of the whole "Daryl" thing is that most of the time he wears shirts with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder. if i did this then it meant that scars that i hadnt previously had visible to other people would be seen by all. ive mentioned before that most of the scars left from my experiences with self harm are on my upper right arm and are always covered up. this is because this was my "go-to" location when using a blade. its pretty much just one big scar made of loads of horizontal slices across the skin, its not nice to see if im honest. i have enough self image issues (weight, height, fitness etc etc) without the added pressure of having scars on display and risking people asking questions about them. 

i dont know what or why influenced my decision to go sleeveless instead of altering the outfit and wear long sleeves, but for some reason i ended up deciding that no sleeveless was the way i was going to go. 

i wore a jacket over my clothes on the way to the event, but once i was there i took it off and got sorted out and dressed up.... 

...and no one cared about the scars! 

not one person made a comment about my arm; friends or strangers. hell, i even had a few people ask for photos with me! people i dont know asking for photos is a very weird experience! i had more people ask me about my tattoos or my outfit; "where did you get the jacket?" "is that a real crossbow?" (yes. yes it is, but i had deactivated it for the event) and so on. 

while i was still very nervous about having scars visible to others for the first time nothing happened that made me want to cover them up. no one made me feel awkward or uncomfortable or kept looking at my arm (i didnt see them looking if they did) while i may not be confident or comfortable enough to wear sleeveless shirts on a regular basis, this was a huge thing for me, and i actually feel proud of myself for it, which doesnt happen very often. 

i had an amazing day with a group of friends in silly costumes doing silly photos and having one of the best days ive had in a very long time. it was brilliant. 

we even had a couple of companies want to film our group for the event videos. im currently waiting to see what they came out like. one of the wrestling guests, Scott Garland come up to us as well and asked if he could have a pic of his son with us! im not a wrestling fan, but having an official guest want photos of us was awesome!

some of the twd group. my friends.

conventions are incredible places to go. you see some awesome stuff like movie props, people in costume, tv and film stars etc, but the best thing about them is that everyone is there for the same reason: because they enjoy the things that are featured at the event. no one gives a shit what you do, what your mental state or sexual orientation is, what marital status you have etc etc. people are there to have fun and events such as WLFCC are one of those places where i can actually almost feel like myself again, even if only for a couple of days. 

if you're struggling with mental health issues and are into tv shows/movies/games/comics or are just looking at trying to do something new then definitely have a look at attending an event. they are great fun, and while some aspects such as travelling and crowds are intimidating they are worth it. knackering, but worth it.  

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