It has taken some time to get my thoughts together for this post. I started it several times, and it was a draft in my folder. looming and waiting for publishing. Eroticon 2019 was my first conference. It was more than just a conference. Perhaps that is why I was struggling to publish anything about it. I wanted to make sure I did it justice. Like most of my writing, I analyze and edit more than I can express. This was more than a conference, it was an experience. It was a life changing experience. I doubt I can do it justice, but I will try.
Making the Decision to go
From the first time I saw Eroticon 2019 mentioned on Twitter, I wanted to go. I went through all the emotions that others have talked about. Feeling too new, having nothing published, stalled in my writing because of my breakup, the list was pretty long. For months, I would occasionally see someone announce that they were going go to. Each time, it made me feel more and more like I was going to be missing out on something amazing. I made the decision to go after a very good friend told me I deserved it. I never looked at it like that. I had checked my finances several times and with taxes unknown and looming, that was the one thing holding me back. I opened the wallet and pulled out the credit card and quite literally said fuck it!
Eroticon 2019 was a lot of first for me.
I have left the US twice. Once on a week trip to Saint Maarten, with a group of friends. The second time was on a cruise that I was interpreting so all details were handled outside of my control. I showed up with my passport and followed the crowd. This time leaving the country would be much different.
With the help of a friend who has traveled much more than me, has the skills for international flight planning, I got my flights and hotel. Traveling alone was going to be a first for me going out of the country. Everyone kept saying how brave it was, which didn’t ease my anxiety but did encourage me to push myself forward. Navigating the airport and the tube was a little daunting but with a lot of research and advice from others who knew better me than me, I survived my trip out and successfully arrived at the hotel without a breakdown. The sweet clerk at the hotel looked at me and asked if I had traveled overnight. When my yes response was partnered with a sigh of relief that I was there, they let me into my room early.
I rarely do things alone. Partly because I have always been with someone, and partly because I get a little anxious when I am out and about on my own. Walking around Camden was liberating. I was tired, it was kind of raining, but I walked and shopped and talked to strangers, laughing when they asked me for directions.
Friday night meet and greet
Where to begin… from what to wear to how am I going to walk into the group of people that I admire, respect, and be like, “Hey, what’s up?” Recognizing a few folks, I still couldn’t make myself introduce myself. I feared the night would be spent on a chair in the corner alone.
That didn’t last long. Several people came up to me, introduced themselves and made me feel like family. #petrapan, Petra of Petra Pan Reviews, Floss, Candys Reviews to name a few. It was nice to sit and feel like family. Chatting and knowing they had nerves too. Maye for different reasons, but we were all happy to be there and excited about the weekend.
I had a bit of fangirl happening as well. Metting Molly of Molly’s Daily Kiss at the front desk and sign in behind John Brownstone and Kayla Lords had me a little shaky. The photographer in me is in awe whenever Molly posts a photograph. She has renewed my love for photography and she has helped me in ways she will never know to start appreciating my body as it is not as I or someone else thinks it should be.
My Ex had made me aware of the Loving BDSM podcast and that was what indirectly started my writing so it was overwhelming in a good way to meet them. They were also a huge support to me when my D/s relationship ended so as much as I wanted to thank them in person, all I could get out was, “Nice to meet you.” Ugh! Walked away hoping they know how much I love and appreciate all they do.
Let the Conference Begin!
Amazing workshops and amazing people. Being able to speak openly and honestly and freely not only about our writing but the topics of our writing. When you show up alone to something like that, all new people, all new topics to explore, all new experiences you would think that it would be overwhelming. It couldn’t have been farther from that for me. It was a lot to take in, a lot to learn, and a lot to process. In that way, I suppose it was overwhelming but not in a bad way. Furiously taking notes in the beginning, by the end of day 1 I was just listening. Listening to the advice, the past experiences, the validation that how I was feeling was normal. Not only was it normal, but it was also okay to feel that way.
I could go through and point out key moments in each workshop I went to but that would take forever. As I reviewed my notes that I did take, and the notes I wrote when I got back to the hotel room, I realized there was not one workshop on either day that I didn’t take something huge away from it.
There were smiles, laughs, and even tears. Yes, there is crying at Eroticon! Feeling good about your fear is a huge step toward conquering it. It was liberating, validating and it was exceptional.
Eroticon 2019 left me wanting more.
I left London and Eroticon with so much more than I ever thought I would. Along with the knowledge, I gain, that I am trying to incorporate into everything I do now, I left with a sense of pride and courage that I did know I was capable of.
Can a conference make you feel better about yourself as a whole and not just as a writer? Yes, it can. We all go through things that make us stronger. Unfortunately, they tend to break us down a little bit first. That is why we grow and get stronger. Eroticon not only made me feel better about my goals as a writer of erotica, but it also gave me the confidence I had lost over years of being told I was not good enough, or never actually had in myself.
The Shining Moment!
I took a lot away from this conference. Knowledge, confidence, newfound friendship, respect for the journeys others have traveled. I now know that when in doubt I can photograph my ass, or add a dragon to a story! The most epic moment was at the end when several of us participated in a group photograph, sharing our boobs for Boobday in one way or another. A Dissolute Life, Hyacinth Jones suggested a group shot for #Boobday. I wrote a post on this and shared the amazing photos that came from this gathering. Proof that we are all creatives, free-flowing, body positive, unique individuals.
Eroticon 2019 will forever be a turning point in my writing and my attitude. I will fall back at times and have all the doubts, care and concerns I have had in the past, but I now have an experience of a gathering of people and a place in time that I learned I am capable, I am not alone in my journey. I did not blaze this trail and there will be others coming behind me. I hope that I am aware and available for those folks, so I can give back the love and support I have received from this amazing community.