Now, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that some of the most spectacular things that I’ve done in my life thus far have been experienced as a part of a group. There is no denying that when people of all different walks of life come together to achieve something, it is simply awesome. It’s like the rush you feel in the mosh pit of a concert, the audience’s chants wrapping around your ears and embracing you as part of something bigger. You can sense it when you turn on the news and watch the Gay Pride parades, feeling almost like you’re a part of that moment as your screen overflows with waves of colour, light and joy. Even something as simple as a Mexican wave can make me feel so immeasurably happy; all of these people, many whom don’t know each other, have decided in one moment to come together as one. Being included in something like that is a truly rousing feeling; it reminds you that although it may sometimes feel otherwise, you are not alone.
However, that being said, there is nothing more isolating than when one of these activities goes wrong. When one of these activities goes wrong, it feels like you’re screeching along to your favourite song only to have the music cut out on you halfway through. It feels like you have driven 1000 kilometres in the wrong direction and have no way of getting back to where you started. It’s like this moment from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You are suddenly made startlingly aware that maybe not everybody has your back, and that when it’s turned there may be a few people laughing at you. Wait, no. There may be MANY people laughing at you.
So with all of this in mind, I have a story to tell you. I went to the Nathan Fillion Q&A on the weekend and I can say confidently that it was everything I could have wished for and more. My friends and I queued for around an hour to get some of the best seats in the theatre, sitting there patiently as the line grew and corkscrewed around the walls’ bends with the finesse that only the finest Nokia-era Snake player could manage. When we came into the auditorium, it must have taken at least 15 minutes to get everybody seated. I watched as the first level filled, then the mezzanine and finally the second storey. There is no doubt in my mind that the room had reached its absolute capacity when the adverts started rolling. As I looked up, I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body. I knew that this was a moment I was going to remember for the rest of my life.
So it was no surprise that when he came onstage, it felt like I was in a dream. I didn’t think it would be possible, but he was actually even more gorgeous in real life than onscreen, and I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot. For forty-five glorious minutes, we were all entranced as he lit up the room with his stories. We learned about everything from his experiences with quokkas (he thinks they look like real-life Muppets) to his dream role (Indiana Jones, if you were wondering!). It was the best panel that I had ever seen at a convention, so when it was time for the final question I couldn’t help but audibly sigh. It felt like everything was over too soon, like the moment should have lasted for so much longer. When the compere encouraged us to give him one final applause, I clapped with everything that I had. However, as I was furiously applauding I noticed that the man next to me had done something considerably different to take his applause to the next level.
He was standing.
The man was standing.
Now, this man and I over the course of the Q&A had become pretty well acquainted. He complimented me on my cosplay, and we shared our excitement in waiting for the great Fillion to appear onstage. Even though we weren’t friends so to speak he was a nice guy, so when I saw him take that great step into the unknown I felt somewhat inclined to join him. After all, the whole Q&A I was waiting for Nathan Fillion to look over in my direction. I had imagined him seeing me, his eyes meeting mine and him giving me one of his charming smiles like this:
Then, he would leave the convention wondering who that cute girl in the Spider Gwen cosplay was, track me down via social media and marry me immediately. In my mind, it was pretty darn good!
However, no such thing had happened. Heck, I don’t think he even saw me once! So, seeing this as being the 11th hour and my final chance, I decided that I would be brave and follow the lead of my newly-found comrade. Looking up at the stage, I placed my bag at my feet and stood triumphantly next to him. We were the trend-setters; the ones who dared to stand when all others were seated. Seeing our brave step into the unknown, subsequent rows would all come to their feet, rising like a tidal wave enveloping him with gratitude. And as Nathan Fillion walked off the stage, he would look to us, the two who started it all, and give us a nod of approval, as if to say ‘nice work, guys. You would make fine Browncoats’.
However, a few seconds after I stood up I came to a chilling realisation. In my peripheral vision, I didn’t notice my friends standing, and to my right I didn’t see any of the man’s friends standing either. Amidst my applause, I turned my head slightly to the right to see that nobody behind me was standing, and when I looked ahead I saw that nobody in front of me was standing either.
Out of the whole, packed-out auditorium, we were the only two people standing.
It was around this time that I had a bit of a Rocket Raccoon moment
In my head, I was contemplating what I should do next. If I sat down, then I’d look like a fool if everyone around me decided to stand up, but if I kept standing then I’d look like a fool because everyone is sitting and OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO??!!
I looked around the room in a panic. There was no way out. Running away from what I had done would look half-hearted and measly. There was only one thing to do, and I knew it.
I had to embrace it.
Who needed anybody’s approval anyway? If the man standing to my right and I believed as strongly as we did in that standing ovation, who needs the rest of the auditorium in order to make it happen? It’s like waiting for a group of fake friends to go and like your Facebook status when you already love what you had to say. Why do we allow approval to make or break us when we should be the ones left to decide? Do we hide in mosh pits because we’re scared of breaking out and dancing alone?
So we stood there, hands raised in the air, both applauding a man that we had both admired for so long. I was smiling so hard that I thought my cheeks would burst, and for a second I felt that energy that I’d been waiting for. I didn’t need anybody to approve of me because I had already approved of myself.
And I swear, for a split second Nathan Fillion looked over and smiled at me.
Now could you please excuse me? I believe I have a wedding to plan!
Thank you for reading
Lots of love