“Why are you going to another convention? You’ve already been to one.”
This is probably something many experienced fangirls have heard before. You are in a fandom, you go to an event, you get autographs and photos, you listen to panels with the people you admire, and you meet a lot of fellow fans. It is an incredible experience. It is also exhausting, expensive, and leaves you in a completely emotional state that is hard to get over. It makes sense that non-fandom people might see it as an unnecessary waste of time, money, and energy. Sure, one might say that there is no need for more than one autograph of or photo with the same celebrity. One might also say that, after a while, all the questions have been asked and one knows all the answers usually given at panels. So why do we go back again and again? Why do we travel for many hours and spend days inside, standing in endless lines? What is it that fangirls know and “regular” people miss?
There are many good reasons I could list here, and none of them would probably convince a person who has never been bitten by the convention bug. The thing is that every convention is a completely different experience, even if you’re meeting the same person. However, that is not why I keep coming back. For me, it is about the people I encounter. It is something I keep mentioning in these blog entries, because it keeps being true. There is nothing quite like people from all over the world coming together to share their love for a person, a TV show or a movie. And once in a while you encounter a person or a small group that will hold a special place in your heart. If that happens, these meetings tend to become as much, if not more, about getting to see those people again as they are about meeting a certain celebrity. After a while, it feels like a family reunion, because that is what a fandom is. It is one large family. Not always happy, seldom without drama, but a family nonetheless. It is an endless source of inspiration, hope, and energy. It is what keeps most of us going, what keeps us involved when it would be easier to withdraw and watch our shows in peaceful solitude.
Something that Mary McDonnell said at the end of her panel with Edward James Olmos at this convention maybe explains it best:
Life is very short, and when you meet a collaborator that you trust entirely, you don’t want to ever let go of that person, and you don’t ever want to let go of the potential collaboration. And so I just want to thank you guys, because you allow me to come experience this relationship again at least once a year, and it’s phenomenally important to how I continue as an artist, so thank you for that.
If we fans are giving Mary McDonnell a chance to reunite with her collaborator on a regular basis, the same is most certainly true the other way around. It is because of her that we keep in touch with each other, that we keep meeting. It is because of her that many of us take the time out of our busy lives and commit to a specific time and date instead of vowing to maybe meet up some time soon and forgetting about it just as quickly as the words are uttered.
With every convention, every event that reunites me with the amazing, strong, kind, and funny ladies I am honored to call my friends because of Mary McDonnell, my gratitude increases. She brings us together and she is responsible for some of the deepest and most rewarding friendships I have ever had, and I wish I had words to adequately thank her for that.
So what was special about C2E2 2016?
- While the view of the river from our hotel was beautiful, we could have done without having to see Trump Tower – a sentiment we apparently shared with Mary. Her dislike of that particular person was neither surprising nor secret and provided quite a few laughs at her panels.
- If you think a long convention weekend is a good time to do some sightseeing, you are very naive. There simply is too much fun to be had with your fellow fangirls to do much exploring, so do not promise any touristy photos to the people at home.
- Place a few fangirls in a hotel room, give them a bottle of rum and a few episodes of High Society and you can be sure that there will be a noise complaint at 4:30 am.
- That is also why a fangirl should never travel without a well-equipped makeup bag. That morning after look is not a pretty sight. A generous supply of pain medication is a must as well.
- Whether you call it #MaryFest or #Twincation, it will undoubtedly be a heck of a lot of fun.
As I am sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to board in a few hours, I am trying to process the events of the last few days. My heart is filled to the rim with happiness and gratitude, and I realize how unbelievably blessed I am to be able to go on these adventures, to have these wonderful people in my life, and to be allowed to experience in person the incredibly kind and generous Mary McDonnell. She is a truly beautiful soul.
The one part I will always hate about these events is that they inevitably come to an end at some point. It is never easy to say goodbye to new and old friends, but the hardest moment will always be when real life responsibilities once again put an ocean between twins. One thing is for sure, though. This will not have been the last #Twincation!