St. Louis ComicCon is fast becoming a yearly tradition for me. My good friend,Ginny Kruta, gets a booth out there to sell her chain maille nerdery and I help her out and get to spend time with her and mingle with all things geek for a few days. This time David Tennant (10th Doctor), Matt Smith (11th Doctor), and James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) were top on my list to meet at ComicCon. And oh yes I did thanks to Ginny. This year my pilgrimage was darkened by some situations at home. I’d been doubting myself for months, trying to reshape the very core of who I am to fit into an image others insisted was better. I became terrified to speak up, laugh, get excited, or even share what was on my mind. I was so consumed with worrying about how I was being perceived, I quietly spiraled into the Dark Place (I’ve delved into that place in several posts here). Going to ComicCon was to be a break from holding my mental breath, but even there I fidgeted constantly and was on edge. My state of mind wasn’t helped by a giant stye (EWWW GROSS) that made an appearance just for the weekend, sat directly under my eyelid, hurt like fire, and was bad enough to almost fully close my eye at one point (I should have bought a black eye patch and run with it, but that’s hindsight for you). That was until Saturday.
Saturday Ginny and I met The Doctors and I danced with Deadpool.
On our way to find protective sleeves for our pictures with The Doctors an upbeat song began playing; I don’t even remember the song, but I remember it made me want to drop everything and dance. And then there was a Deadpool cosplayer strolling up the aisle. I admit to not having seen the movie. My fellow nerds praised it, but knowing I’m not one to favor vulgarity, nudity, and sexually explicit material, they warned me to steer clear and take their word it was a well-done film. Anyway, there I was – with my hands chaotic with disorganized items – and I began to sway to the music. And there was a Deadpool, walking toward me, swaying as well. He began to dance, something ridiculously old-fashioned and goofy. In that moment I had a choice: walk on or dance.
I danced. Clumsy, goofy, awkward me danced with Deadpool in the middle of ComicCon. And my friend (who has the patience of a saint when dealing with me) didn’t balk or ridicule. The freedom in ignoring the crowd that built up around us to be in the moment was exhilarating. In those few minutes I soared. I soared above my thoughts, above my worries, above all the people who were telling me I was wrong for being me. And it was spectacular. When I came to my senses, I turned to Ginny and asked if I did, indeed, see cameras out in the circle that had gather around us. Yes, yes I had. Somewhere on the internet there’s video of me dancing a ridiculous dance with a cosplayer. And that’s fine. It’s probably the least flattering angle ever and I probably look like I’m having a seizure more than actually dancing, but for once, I don’t care. It was necessary. In that moment it was completely necessary.
Because in that brief span of time I thumbed my nose at the naysayers and those who’re far too critical in the short life we live. I defied my own hangups and self-doubt and did something “just because”. And in that goofy event I learned a simple, but profound lesson: it’s okay to be unabashedly you.
Sometimes you have to dance with Deadpool.