Carntaigh Refects on CaleCon

Note: This post is OOC, or semi OOC

It has now been a week since "the CaleCon 10" departed Saint Mary's, Ontario and returned to their corners of the globe. Several of us have blogged about our adventures. If you would like to read about what some of the other attendees have to say about CaleCon, please refer to the following links:
I am left with so many thoughts and feelings from the weekend. On the drive to Saint Mary's, I realized that I was about to enter an experience that I could not compare to anything else that had happened before in my life. I was going to meet 6 people for the first time (3 I had met already), and yet even though it was to be our first meeting...I knew everyone so well! How on earth can you explain that? You are strangers...but close friends at the same time.

When I arrived, I walked up to the front desk and Eva was there checking in, and I just said: "Hey", because it did not feel like I was meeting her for the first time. The opening cocktail party in Eva's suite was similar. I immediately hugged my Radio Riel people (Rik, Otenth and Soliel), and it felt completely natural. The 10 of us sat and talked and talked like old friends...well because we ARE old friends! There were a couple of very funny "outings" that night, "Oh my god, Kami's typist is a MAN!" (I had already guessed that, so I was not surprised :-) )

But is seriously did not matter what our typists looked like in RL, nor if our human is radically different from our avie. Eva, Gabi, Otenth, Soliel, Rik, Kaye, Scotti, Kami, JJ...we are who we are in the virtual world as much as we are in the actual world. We even called each other by our avie names all weekend. One funny moment for me was when the majority of the crowd had left the cocktail party, and Eva and I swooped around the room gathering up glasses and dishes. I just had to laugh...because it was *such* an Eva and Gabi thing to do. The "Social Duchesses" cleaning up after a party, much like we do in SL as we take objects back into our inventories after SL events.

Another classic moment was when I unpacked and lined my many toiletries along the edge of the closet shelf. Mr. Drinkwater took one look at the pile of stuff and burst out laughing and said something like: "Ah, traveling with the Duchess!" And I just looked at him and said: "What else would you expect from me?"

Gabrielle Riel is in me. She is a part of me. She is me as a little girl, dressing up in frilly dresses and black patent leather shoes. She is the super organized part of me. She is the leader in me. She is also me at age 23, thin and social, going to clubs every night and teasing the heck out of the men that I met there. But she is not all of me. I keep the "mommy" part of me out of Gabi. I keep the short-fused, angry me out of Gabi. And I have kept much of the professional me (as an Instructional Designer and Trainer) out of Gabi.

I've known for two years that I am in the midst of a major RL transition. That the "real me" and Gabi were going to merge. It has been happening, but not at all the way I expected. I think I hoped that I would become more pure Gabi, when in reality, more of the typist creeps into Gabi every day.

My dear Dragon, Azul asked me two wonderful questions when I got home. 1.) When did you have the most fun at CaleCon and 2.) When were you the happiest at CaleCon? Most fun is a difficult choice, but I have to go with the Saturday night banquet/dance/broadcast. The minute I saw Kami in full Kami drag, I immediately went into hysterics. I laughed so hard I cried. And then I DJd my first "live" event ever. That's right kids...I had never DJd in "actual" life before. I find it hilarious that so many of my staff have RL broadcast and DJ experience...and yet I don't. :-) Well, that is not a true statement any longer. I consider all of the events I have done in SL to be "real", and now I have done an "actual" event with other people in the room.

And I *adored* the reaction in SL to the RL party. We all know intellectually that there are humans sitting at keyboards all over the world that drive our avies, but I think the SL crowd actually seeing us, real human beings, was a breakthrough moment in the growth of Caledon. I also think that we, the typists, have a lot of fear of revealing ourselves. How can we live up to these beautiful, attractive, innovative and unique avatars when we are ultimately all just "regular" people?

I was nervous about the video feed, for several reasons. First of all, I had imagined scenarios in my head of people seeing me and IMing each other: "omg *that* is Gabrielle Riel? That short, fat chick?" Also, I knew that there were at least 4 people that were watching that video specifically to get a look at me. And no I am not going to reveal who they were. ;-)

I was scared...but I did it anyway. I am almost 40 years old, and it is time for me to toss old insecurities into the garbage. This is me. Yes, I AM Gabrielle Riel. Take me, or leave both worlds. The weekend proved that the typists and the avies are basically one and the same. I am sure there were a few bitchy IMs flying about, but I do not care. My life as Gabrielle Riel has actually acclimated me nicely to dealing with rumors, negativity, drama etc. All I can say is: bring it on! I have big plans for Radio Riel, and nothing is going to stop me from following my dream. Hmm, I think some of Gabi's confidence has rubbed off on me!

My happiest moment was when Kaye was asking me about Radio Riel and how it all started. She said to me: "You must be so proud of yourself and what you have accomplished!" I said that I was, but that the thing about Radio Riel that I loved the most was the people the Universe brought to me to help me make it happen. I was able to say that, out loud, for real, with Rik, Soliel and Otenth all sitting there. That was my absolute happiest moment of the entire weekend.

CaleCon was nothing but sheer joy - the joy of Caledonians meeting in the actual world. My people. Our people. It will be bigger in the years to come, more formal. I believe that "The CaleCon 10" will look back on this year with exceptional fondness. The first year, when there were just 10 of us. No drama. No cliques. Just wonderful times together.

And so...I hope to meet YOU at CaleCon 2009!

Vivat Caledon!

The Nightingale


Neb said…
I'm so glad it went well and that another convention is planned: yay!
Mitsu Figaro said…
I'm hoping to make it to CaleCon 2 next year, myself. Finances being what they are, there was no way i could not with that trip to Wisonsin messing me up along with my credit union's current hijinks.

I DO have a kimono, hopefully by Calecon 2 i'll have 2 of them to show off in Stratford. (The fun part is tying them, egads! I need zouri too!')

One of these days i'll screw up my courage and drive to your part of the Detroit area. Unless you felt like seeing GR? ^_^
Hotspur O'Toole said…
Kami's typist is a MAN? My word, that certainly gives new meaning to THIS old blog post.

The CALECON organization team are to be commended for your organizational zeal and ability to bring the notional into reality. I can't stress enough how well received live audio and video feeds were by the virtual crowd. I had several visitors over to "the Rock", myself.

As for seeing the flesh and blood you, never fear, we see the inner you no matter where you are. :-D

Anonymous said…
and being a "mom" and all might take up some of your time... or do you have an RL nanny? ;)
Gabrielle Riel said…
*laughs merrily*

Oh a goodness how fun that would be.

No household help like I have in SL in RL...just Mama and the Assistant DJ. :-)