The end of January until the end of February have been time warp of nothing but running, eating carbs (because there was no time to eat vegetables), and not writing. I’ve never been so not present with myself. Besides working full time, job applying, and theatre, I haven’t had much time for myself to do things fuel my soul. This is somewhat of an apology to my podcast that I accidentally packed in storage and misplaced the key.
A few weekends ago, I was able to take a break from having my repetitive and borderline mundane routine of a life, and found myself at a Chibi Chibi Con (a small anime festival at the Evergreen State College).
I will admit: historically, I am very judgmental when it comes to nerdy things. When people obsess about Star Wars, play video games (people over the age of 21 who still play video games, I’m like, What?), or dress up as anime characters, my first instinct tends to err on the side of…being hardcore snarky. Maybe it’s because I’ve just never been that invested in Spock culture or actually knew what manga was, but the world of Warcraft and other related worlds aren’t in my greatest interest.
So why did I venture almost 30 minutes to college convention center for nerd alert gathering? Because one of my dearest and oldest friends was there. My friend Julia and I go all the way to the 6th grade. We would always sit next to each other on the bus home, and we would somehow end up at one another’s house to just sit and eat food (taken from my pantry that was guaranteed to have excess fruit snacks and other food due to the fact that my family always bought too much at Costco in bulk). Most times Julia would never let me use her bathroom until she checked it for cleanliness. Throughout middle school until high school (when Julia moved to a different neighborhood), Julia and I would process and vent about the dumb things about school, as well as the most frustrating aspects of being first generation Asian American. We would sit for hours, laughing and getting collectively angry at the difficulties of being American to parents who were still very much Asian. She was the first person I came out to- just another example of how Julia’s friendship to me is essentially incomparable to any other friendship that I have.
I remember walking into the college’s gymnasium and seeing a flurry of anime vendors and artwork, overwhelmed by the strange pictures and overzealous cosplayers. I look to my right, to the bleachers, to find Julia (she technically goes by Julie, although even she herself forgets). We caught up the way we always do, which is mostly us chatting about our new endeavors and being super curious/supportive toward each other’s lives. But Julie (the absence of the “a” at the end is the weirdest) was on a mission for the conference. I knew that she was super involved in cosplay and anime conventions, which is why she made the trip to Olympia. She pulled out her blue bucket with a label that said, “Cosplay Repair Kit.” I watched with adoration and amazement as my 4’11 Julie (who grew up even more diffident and quiet than I did) walked up to the event planners of the convention to let them know that she was here and was wondering where she could set up shop. I know that that seems like something anyone with confidence would do, but for me, seeing Julie being alive, passionate, and outgoing with something she loved to do (in this case, repairing people’s busted cosplay costumes) gave me inspiration to remember the things that I love doing and throw myself into any opportunity to do just that.