So much has happened between last year an now, mostly having to due with moving and buying a house. But that is all water under the bridge, let's call this a fresh start.
This last weekend was RustyCon. I had tons of fun, saw friends and learned some...but I will get to that in a bit.
Friday I had the kids with me, so we got to sit in on a few interesting panels and the kids were behaved (mostly), mostly because I gave them tablets and headphones. The random squeal or giggle were heard, but everyone was understanding, and even found it funny. The kids’ favorite part was getting their own badges, who knew something so little would have such a big effect?
Saturday was an early start for me, out of the house by 7:30 (I had errands to do before going).
By 10, the fun got to start! More interesting panels were attended and time was spent talking and laughing with friends and acquaintances. I even got to help out with one of the kids’ art panels. Singing along to Disney music and making crafts, who wouldn’t have fun?
On to what I learned:
One of the most important things I learned unfortunately came with the consequence of someone getting hurt. Not physically hurt, but hurt nonetheless.
I was asked to judge the masquerade. I have never been asked to be a judge anything before, so I was extremely excited, well, excited and scared. What qualifications do I have to be a judge? Could I put the fact that I know most of the contestants aside and judge them solely on their work? Could I be unbiased?
The masquerade came and we had a handful of contestants, gave me a little breathing room knowing I wasn't going to have to remember 20 people and what each of them did.
In the group was one woman we all know, she is sweet lady, but of...shall we say, of limited capabilities (yes this is important to know because of my reaction). She crafts a costume for every event and competes every time. I dismissed her from mind while judging.
Yes, you heard that right, I flat out dismissed her. Not to her face but in my mind. What she made didn’t fall under any of the categories we were judging for: it wasn’t particularly well made, so she was out for workmanship; she didn’t come with any music or any kind of skit aside from walking across the stage, so presentation was out...in my mind she just didn’t fit in the box. I am not proud of this but I am being honest even if it shines a light on parts of myself I would rather the world not know.
We had a total of 6 people, and one was not being judged, so 5 people, and each category is broken down into your skill level. Only one level had two people in it (in my mind) so that was the only area where myself and the other judge needed any discussion. We made our choices and awards were given out. It wasn’t until after that I got my reality check.
The person I dismissed didn't get an award, she was the only person that was us for judging that didn’t get something and was extremely hurt, and it was my fault.
My own prejudices hit me square in the face. I had not taken into account the feelings of the one person who didn’t get anything. It would have been simple for the other judge and I to award her something like a judge’s choice or anything like that, but we didn’t, we just didn’t think of it.
Yes, that is how the real world works, not everyone gets an award; but in our little convention/costuming world, we don’t have to behave like the rest of the world. We are supposed to make this little corner of the world a safe and welcoming place for everyone, and I failed at that.
I failed to think outside my own sphere, and ended up hurting someone.
I don’t know how to make this right other than to learn from it and try my hardest to never do something like that again.
So this weekend had it's share of fun, but the fun was overshadowed by the weight of knowing that I'm not as open to others as I used to believe I was. This experiance has given me something to think about and shown me my own failings.