EDIT: This post has been modified slightly from the original posting, as my current state at the time made me share some views that appear stronger than they were.
So it’s been two weeks since Asylum 16 ended, and I’ve been up and down. More recently, down. Why? Because it was the Supernatural convention in Rome, Jus In Bello 7 (JIB), which is always so close after Asylum that it’s especially painful to handle. I didn’t think it’d affected me as much as it did, though. Both Saturday and Sunday I found myself crying pathetically simply because I missed Jared and, well, Genevieve pretty much became a guest – photo ops, autographs, not to mention probably one of my BIGGEST dream photo ops besides Gen herself – Jared and Gen double photos. I was a mess. I was not okay.
It actually reminded me how much it meant to me to be able to meet Gen. Ever since I started Supernatural, I had my “dream team” – as in, the people I really, really wanted to meet. Jared, Misha, Felicia and Gen. In the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jared three times (four in August), Misha twice (three times in August), and Felicia twice. Gen? Never, besides split-second eye contact and a wave at Asylum 14. Of course, the reason I haven’t met her yet is mainly because, and understandably so, she extremely rarely does cons – in recent years she’s only done JIB this weekend, and A14, but in that case that was autographs. She’s got the boys to take care of, she doesn’t have the freedom to go to as many cons as Jared as a result and that is completely and utterly understandable. In honesty, I’m still very much kicking myself over last year. I had two chances – first, when they announced her autographs, had I gone to queue up straightaway I probably would have met her, second, when we saw her on her way to the green room. So many people were stopping her for photos and hugs and I probably could have gone and done the same. But I was too scared, I don’t like just running up to people like that and no one was prepared to go with me. So that was that.
As soon as they announced it at JIB I kind of just…well…burst into tears. After missing out on meeting her at A14 this was just a punch in the gut. I’ve slowly felt better. It still makes me sad seeing people’s pictures and stories, but I’m trying to be hopeful. But after waiting so long and blowing the chances I have, its understandable I’m losing faith. I’ve emailed creation to request her (and Felicia) for VanCon and tweeted Rogue, it’s all I can do. By my reasoning, she accompanied Jared to A14 last year, accompanied him to JIB this year…next year it’s A18’s turn, right? It’s only fair. 😛
Anyways, that wasn’t actually the reason I was making this post. JIB also really made me struggle in another way. I was really, really doubting my own experiences with Jared. Ever since Jared and Jensen arrived in Rome for JIB, people have been freaking out. Did J2 not like Asylum? I saw Jensen looked unhappy once so I don’t think he enjoyed himself here. I think they much prefer Rome, they look so much happier there. Why didn’t J2 tweet about Asylum, do they not like us? While I was doing my best to reassure these people, it was actually getting to me. And it got to a point it really got to me. Not only were these people freaking out but I was seeing how happy J2 looked at JIB. I was overthinking why they didn’t tweet, why they haven’t said anything. I was genuinely afraid they didn’t like coming to asylum. The speculators had won.
Not only that but I inevitably was seeing all these amazing Jared stories (and Gen stories -cry-) surface. With me half convincing myself they don’t like Asylum, or at least don’t like it half as much as JIB, I was pretty much concluding “he loves them more than me.” Stuff like that. And it sucked. I was sitting there seeing my photo ops and just thinking, yeah, but y’know? He’s much happier at JIB. He’s enjoying himself more. I was seeing people getting the pose similar to my “proud” one and thinking…well, he’s probably way prouder of them, they probably have more reason for him to be proud of them.
I didn’t say much about it because I didn’t want to look like I was whining, or fishing for attention. I was just trying to sort my damn head out.
And then I looked at the clock and realised at that time in two weeks, I would have just landed in Orlando to start my summer in Disney, then leading on to Vancouver when I’ll see Jared again. I thought of when I told him about it, how excited he was, how proud of me he was and how he congratulated me.
And I was back to a sobbing wreck.
But this time it was because I’d kind of had an “epiphany”. Essentially, something in my head saying calm the fuck down. Telling me not to start comparing Asylum to JIB, not to let speculation drag me down. Telling me that if Jared and Jensen really didn’t enjoy Asylum, they wouldn’t come – why would they fly 9 hours or so, get jetlagged, to come see us in the UK, during their very short time off when they could be home with their families? Jared and Jensen both flew in at the absolute last minute for Asylum, guaranteeing them to have jet lag. Jared sounded so tired on Sunday evening when I saw him but he was still happy to see everyone. In honesty – no one but Jared and Jensen know if they enjoy these cons, but I’d say from the fact they commit to coming such a long way to see us, and they were happy all weekend, I’d say it is extremely likely they enjoy Asylum.
Sidenote: I think a lot of the “they don’t like Asylum so much” comes from the fact that on the contrary to JIB, filming is forbidden everywhere. At JIB you can film almost everywhere, from what I’ve seen, so there is significantly more footage available. At Asylum, we aren’t allowed to film anywhere with the guests, so all the goofy and fun things that happen are conveyed by photos and word of mouth only, which doesn’t build up so much hype. I can guarantee, the train story as told by Jared, Richard, Gen, with Rob helping and a brief appearance from Jensen, wouldn’t have got quite as much hype had filming not been allowed. I’m glad it was filmed, it was hilarious. Jared’s telling of it at A16 will always be my favourite because I was there to hear it, but the version at JIB was so, so funny and I recommend you check it out.
This something in my head was also reminding me that my experiences are my own. It doesn’t matter if Jared tells someone else he’s proud of them or he loves them back or anything like that. Nothing takes away from my experience. He doesn’t love one fan more than another, he wouldn’t pick favourites or have a hierarchal system of fans. He doesn’t. He wouldn’t do that. He makes every single person feel valued and important even if just for a second.
So I wanted to write this to reassure anyone who feels unsure about their experiences or doubts them, please don’t. I know it’s easier said than done. After A14 I was actually really good at not comparing myself to others, but I was in a much better place mentally. This year I came to A16 with my depression and anxiety in full swing and I was struggling pretty badly, so I’m not surprised that I’ve struggled more with comparing myself/doubting myself. It sucks but I’m working through it.
I understand, it can be disheartening seeing such amazing stories, when perhaps you got just a hug, and didn’t quite have the courage to say much or anything in your autograph session. That’s okay. I actually get worried about making people feel bad about their ops when reading about mine. It sounds arrogant, I know, but I mean it only in the sense that I’ve been in the same position. When I first met Jared, I said nothing to him at all. Not even hello in the photo op. After that convention, seeing other stories, amazing stories about amazing interaction with Jared was kind of intimidating and disheartening to me. While I’m not saying my stories from A14/16 are “amazing” (well, they are to me), I know some might see them and feel discouraged about their own, just like I have before.
Honestly, meeting your heroes is a really big thing and the fact you’ve met them at all is something really special in itself. It’s okay if you got too nervous to speak, you still had a moment with your hero that not everyone can say they got – not everyone can get to a convention and even if they can, not everyone can afford to meet their hero simply due to the cost of photo ops or autographs. That in itself means you’re a damn lucky person.
It takes a lot of courage to talk to your idol and in a lot of convention situations, it is kind of a “get out what you put in” situation. I wouldn’t have got the experiences with Jared I’ve had without building the courage to talk to him. And I’m insanely proud of myself for doing it as it was really scary. So even if you only got the courage to say hello, ask for a hug, then you should be so proud of yourself. I didn’t even manage that that first time round.
I know how easy it is to look at someone else’s photo op and say “they hugged her tighter, they must like her more”, or “he’s smiling more in the picture with her.” But you’ll only drag yourself down. You’ll only lessen your own experience as a result. Each and every experience is amazing in their own right, particularly with the Supernatural cast who are incredible at making you feel loved and valued to them, Jared especially in my experience.
I’ve fallen prey to the typical socially anxious response of overanalysing every tiny detail of my experiences and identified reasons why I will have upset or offended the guest. If you feel that way, I can assure you that most likely you were completely fine. Even if you were a little nervous, the guests are used to that, you’re certainly not the first person to be nervous meeting them, so they won’t interpret that negatively at all. If anything, they’ll be flattered! I actually got reassurance from Felicia Day when I first met her. I had my photo op with her and once it was done, she said “okay bye”, in a way that I at the time interpreted as a little cold. It was about 6 or so hours until her autograph session so I was freaking out a little, I managed to convince myself in those 6 hours of pretty much doing nothing that she didn’t like me and I’d done something to offend her – I’d literally walked up to her, said hey, took the photo and thanked her. I ended up tweeting her “Sorry for being so awkward in the photo op”, and was actually really close to leaving the con. It was my first convention where I was completely on my own, my mum had taken me to the hotel and gone back into London. I didn’t know anyone and I’d never been to a convention by that organiser before. If I’d gone all the way here for me to have pissed off someone I really look up to, then I just didn’t want to be there. I also kind of didn’t want to go to the autograph session in case it confirmed that she didn’t like me.
I stayed, I joined the queue, I saw how lovely Felicia was being to everyone so I concluded that if she was off with me after being so lovely, then yup, I’ve definitely done something wrong. But then I heard her ask someone if they’d tweeted her about being awkward in the photo op. They said no. I realised with slight humiliation that it was my tweet. She said the person had a brown bob in their photo…well…my profile pic on twitter at the time had been my Jared photo op from Asylum 12. The size of the profile pic on a phone, you could easily mistake Jared’s hair for a brown bob. I was slightly more nervous.
I got to my turn and instantly Felicia bombards me with a ton of questions, where do I live, asking about oxford, things like that. Instantly lovely and inquisitive and oh my god so cute. She had a red wig on her head. Not actually wearing it properly. Just on her head. As you do. Then I decided to bring up the tweet. Her face kinda lit up and she was like IT WAS YOU! And went on to gush about how she always feels like she’s awkward in photos too but she reassured me I was totally fine and asked to see my photo. She was so sweet and actually kept talking to me to the point her assistant was apologising to the people behind…oops. That’s the kind of person she is though, she likes to have a conversation. If you read her book (seriously, do it, its amazing and you’ll cry), she says how much she wants everyone to walk away having had a good time.
Now, obviously a reassurance that you were okay by the person you met isn’t a guarantee, but it does show you how you may have felt awkward or like you may have offended them, but chances are you were completely fine, or that they understood. If a guest was maybe a bit off, like for example, at A12 Misha started signing my book without looking up and saying hi (then later looking up and giving me a tiny bit of a sheepish “sorry I didn’t say hello and you’re being a bit quitet” face), and at A16, Jensen didn’t say hello and started signing straight away, not actually looking up until I said something. If this happens, or perhaps a guest isn’t very chatty, don’t take it personally. Particularly cons that are abroad for them, like American actors coming to the UK, you have to take into account that they might be jetlagged and tired, maybe even missing their families if they’ve been away a long time. They’re human too and everyone has their off days, and it is unfortunate that sometimes guests are a little off at conventions sometimes, but its understandable and nothing personal towards you. They don’t hate you, I promise. Luckily, both the Jensen and Misha experiences above redeemed themselves when I started talking to them, although I ended up telling Misha that the letter I wrote him would be good bedtime reading, so that was…interesting.
The bottom line is, you should cherish your memories from conventions and not let anyone else’s experiences, or anything like that take away from it. They’re yours, and no matter how many times Jared has said AKF to people or whether you think Jensen isn’t hugging you as tight as someone else, they’re amazing. You might get your chance again, and that means you have opportunity for an even better experience. Look at me – I went from saying absolutely nothing to Jared besides maybe “I’m fine thanks” and telling him he could sign anywhere in my book, to having the courage to tell him I’d kept fighting and giving him a book of AKF stories, to him remembering me a year later and saying he’s proud of me and he loves me. BUT, don’t put too high expectations on yourself or your experiences. My imagination does run wild and has thought up many unrealistic but amazing interactions with Jared, which in a way does place some hopes on what will happen when I next meet him but most of the time I forget about them when it comes to the time to meet him. Keep expectations comfortably low, so you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.
Not everyone has a chance to meet their heroes and just by having the courage to do it is awesome in itself. Give yourself more credit for that. I for one am striving to never ever feel badly about my experiences again. One piece of advice I can give is if you feel like reading other’s experiences with your idol will affect you and make you start comparing yourself – don’t read them. They might be posted all over twitter and facebook but you don’t have to read them, especially if they’re going to upset you.
I hope this post made at least some sense. Most of this was written last night when I was still very emotional. I hope it can help anyone who does feel that way about their experiences, that they’re “not as good” as others. One final thing I’d like to say, a request, actually, is that people don’t start making others feel bad, this comes from both sides. Those who feel “inferior” shouldn’t make a person who in their eyes has had a “better” experience, feel bad for having had that experience. There may be some, and this is quite rare in my experience, who feel like their experience was better than others, that their hero does love them most or something like that. Purposely bragging, belitting other’s experiences isn’t fair. We should all just celebrate our own and each other’s experiences and enjoy conventions and the memories they bring. However – bragging is kind of subjective. I post a LOT about my experiences, and I’m not doing it to brag, I just like talking about it because they were so special to me. To some, it may come across as bragging despite my intentions. If anyone does see me that way, then I’m sorry, and please don’t let it bring yourself down. I’d hate for that to happen.
I’m going to stop now before I ramble into oblivion. Just, yes, love your experiences and be proud of yourself for meeting your idols, it’s a big thing.
Until next time,
Mini Moose ❤