ConFusion and Clarity

Sunrise in the snowy woods by Roberto Melotti

As I posted on Twitter Monday afternoon, my seemingly endless stores of energy have finally been depleated. Last weekend at ConFusion was amazing. I met so many cool people – some for the first time, some for the first time in person. The hotel was nice, the con staff were great, and the panels were awesome! Kudos to everyone who helped put this convention together because you guys did an outstanding job. The con even got complimented by the hotel staff for being one of the best groups they’ve ever hosted!

On top of the obvious coolness of ConFusion and the ease at which it unfolded there was something more nebulous about this weekend that didn’t strike me full on until Sunday night when mostly everyone had departed for their various home bases. It was a sense of knowing that I was where I was supposed to be. And not just at the con, but surrounded by people who understood exactly what it meant to love writing and reading and genre in general.

I’ve been involved in SFF fandom since 2010, when I started writing my first book and joined Fantasy-Faction. It was fun to be around people that loved the same things I did and understood me. As the years went by I met more authors and fans, improved my craft, and felt more and more welcome than I had anywhere else, almost my whole life.

But for whatever reason, part of me always felt like a fake. Like I was just playing at being a writer, and later an editor. It wasn’t anything anyone said. The SFF community that I know and love is nothing if not supportive of fans as well as newbie writers just beginning to stretch their wings.

The feeling originated inside myself. The part of me that hides in the back of my head and whispers lies and slander about me, that wants me to fail and live my life cowering in a dark place with no voice or hope to be rescued.

That voice is an asshole. And thank God with meds and therapy it has gone from a booming giant to a hoarse whisper. But until this weekend it was still loud enough to keep me from being comfortable at cons and comfortable with my place in this genre (even though that place isn’t very big).

Then at ConFusion something clicked. It might have been meeting so many people in person for the first time that knew who I was and were happy to see me. It might have been my mind finally curb stomping the last bit of the crap voice that had haunted me for so long. But I think the biggest reason was other people voicing the same fears as me. In fact Kameron Hurley wrote a great post about conventions and kindness, that if you haven’t read yet you should go read now. There is nothing more comforting than knowing others feel the same as you. And nothing more incredible than a community saying, “No, please don’t feel that way. Join us, we want you here too.”

I talked (read: ranted) to my husband for close to an hour Sunday night about how amazing it was to feel like I belonged. Like I wasn’t a fake. Like I was meant to be there. It was as if a weight had been lifted from my soul.

I am a writer. Someday, come Hell or high water, I am going to be published.

I am an editor. I love my job, even though I don’t get paid for it. And I want to continue to help share my love of fantasy with others as well as helping polishing people’s work so it shines.

I belong in SFF. I always did. Even before I started writing. Even before I joined the online fan circles. Since the first day I picked up a fantasy book and fell head over heels for the worlds of the purely imagined, I belonged.

But now I know for sure. Now I know this is where I was meant to be.

Fantasy is in my blood and my future is full of spaceships.

And I have all the amazing people in the SFF community to thank for that. So thanks guys, you are the best!

Title image by Roberto Melotti.

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