Social Anxiety and Comic-Con

Lately I’ve been blogging about self-publishing, writing tips and promoting my upcoming Kickstarter. A reader suggested the topic of personal Comic-Con experience, so I decide to focus the piece on how I love cons despite my social anxiety. I hope you enjoy this more personal blog post.

I’m a hardcore introvert, and I’m accustomed to quiet time in my room spent reading, writing or sketching. I have such terrible social anxiety that I rarely interact with strangers even when they seem really cool and friendly. I easily become claustrophobic and panicky in crowds. Comic-Con sounds like a nightmare for someone like me, so why do I still consider a con to be one of the most magical places on Earth?

Take away the hordes of people and ridiculous lines, and you have something amazing underneath—a gathering of fandoms and like-minded individuals. I’ve been obsessed with superheroes, costumes, fantasy, horror and comics for as long as I could remember, so for me a Comic-Con is like Disney World without the rides.

I don’t care how you want to classify me whether you say nerd or a geek.  We’ll just go with the term geek for the sake of this blog. I’m the only geek in my family. If I freak out and want someone here to watch a Harry Potter marathon or play a game of Magic the Gathering…no one cares. My interests are usually met with eye rolls and yawns. Let’s also mention the line I hear often and complete detest, “You need to get out in the real world.” *Insert my own overly dramatic eye roll here.*

I hate when people make me feel like a freak just for being a geek, but at comic cons I can be surrounded by people just like me. I can go to panels where my favorite actors and writers discuss my favorite subjects and fandoms. I usually attend DragonCon here in Atlanta, Georgia, which is a yearly pop culture convention that takes place over Labor Day weekend. I’ve met some of my favorite writers and actors there there such as Jim Butcher, Stan Lee and Felicia Day. I can dress up as my favorite characters, and I’m right at home in a sea of beautifully crafted cosplay. Honestly, who doesn’t want to dress up as their favorite characters and parade around?

Old pic of my Fray costume.

Old pic of my Fray costume.

I only go with a con buddy because I know that I won’t talk to anyone otherwise, and that would make a very lonely con experience. I’ve been lucky in the past to have a con buddy that was much more outgoing than me, and would mingle with other con-goers. Once a conversation is sparked, I can easily jump in and discuss my passion for fandoms. You can meet some of the coolest people just waiting in the lines at cons. In my experience, the Firefly/Serenity lines always seem to have the longest lines and most friendly fans.

I know cons can be pricey, but I’ve seen a lot of great blogs that explain ways to budget and save all year so Comic-Con won’t break your piggy bank. Like talking about Doctor Who? Playing Table top games or reading comics? Debating about the movie adaptations of your favorite books? Give Comic-Con a try.

Comic-Cons aren’t for everyone, but I think everyone should try it once, especially if you love pop culture.

I would love to hear your personal experiences at cons. Do you also suffer from shyness or social anxiety? If so, how do you deal with it to make your con experience more enjoyable?

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