My ‘First Time’ articles return where fans get to share about their first time attending Comic-Con and how it impacted their lives. Heather shares her courageous story and how SDCC helped her embrace her own identity.
Coming out was nothing new to me when I attended my first Comic-Con in 2013. (I came out as lesbian at 22). However, it was the last experience I imagined having when I entered the hallowed halls of SD Comic-Con.
I had been wanting to attend for years, but couldn’t make it work. Then, Comic-Con became one of the hottest tickets in the country. It took two more years to score my coveted tickets. Of course, I had to gloat all over Facebook. It was awesome.
Shy as a Ninth grader going to Senior Prom, my plan was to lie low and scope it all out. Maybe I’d cosplay the next year. That is, if I decided to come back. Maybe I wouldn’t like it.
Day One-Thursday; I’m prepared. I arrive. I get lost. I can’t find the correct entrance. Caught up in the river of people, I flow through the doors for the floor, rather than the line for my first panel (BSG 25th Anniversary. Edward James Olmos. So cool!) I “lined.” I sweated. I squeed. I was hooked.
Thursday was fun. So was Friday. I came out Saturday.
I’d advanced to Tenth grade. No longer a newbie, I’d been baptized in the waters of line convo, seat advancing, and bathroom ticket acquisition. I found myself in the Sails Pavilion, surrounded by the astounding variety of creativity and passion that elevates Comic-Con from a convention to The Con, when I got it.
I’m a geek girl… these are my people.
In high school, I’d been ashamed of my Anne McCaffery reading, sci-fi movie obsessing, astronomy loving, Deanna Troi fan-girling self. Trekkies were mercilessly teased and being a geek equalled social death. I was privileged enough to pass, so I hid out with the drama geeks, shoving my fangirl deep into a closet where she strangled on the hangers for 30 years.
But no more. I recognized myself in this sea of fans. I’m a woman who loves to dream of flying among the stars, of the possibilities beyond our small oxygen bubble of a planet (when will that blue box land in my backyard?) I believe in what can’t be seen. And I’m not alone.
Coming out of my geek closet affected me almost as profoundly as coming out as lesbian. I found new friends and new fandoms. I found a level of creativity and fun I had not experienced before.
In fact, writing this piece, not just the content, but that I am writing at all, is a direct result of embracing my nerdiness. I started a blog, and entered the worlds of podcasting, Twitter, and art patronage through sites like Patreon. I returned to literature and writing, abandoned after undergrad. I am a better psychologist because I embrace the necessity of finding your joy and celebrating it.
So, thank you Comic-Con, for my first Con and helping me find my way home.
Dr. Heather Berberet is a San Diego psychologist in private practice, helping people with relationships and trauma. She can be found at www.DrBerberet.com, www.DoctorWhoOnTheCouch.com, on Twitter @DWOnTheCouch and Tumblr at DWOnTheCouch.
If you are interested in sharing your story, read my First Time post for more info. Thanks and can’t wait to hear from you!