Meeting my Idol

At least one of them, anyways. This is semi-knitting related, I swear!

Things sort of start last year, when I made a trade to get an amazing yarn, which I desired entirely because of its name: Sailor Scouts. It was a beautiful blend of multiple colours, meant to represent the Sailor Scouts from the “Sailor Moon” anime. I eagerly wound up the yarn to cast on socks, and quickly knit the first one and then … other yarn, other projects, commissions, etc and the socks fell to the wayside.

Earlier this year I made an interesting decision to apply to volunteer at Windsor’s Comi-con, (their second, actually) … at the time of applications there were no announcements as to celebrity guests. I just thought it would be an interesting thing to do, and I’d be around my people – nerds, geeks, gamers – and how awesome is that?

And life tends to be funny. As I watched the celebrity announcements I felt mostly nothing – okay, Lou “The Hulk” Ferrigno, that’s cool. Sean Astin … *rolls eyes* another Lord of the Rings hobbit or whatever. And then … when I got back from camp I caught up on the announcement I missed: Linda Ballantyne. Linda ohmygosh Ballantyne. The voice of the English-dub Sailor Moon, the voice I grew up listening as I fell deeper and deeper into this fandom. The voice of the first fictional character I ever identified with. Now it’s go time.

I had to finish those socks. I had to. Not wearing those socks to comi-con was not an option. I wanted to meet her, get an autograph if I could. But the website was not updated with autograph prices and I was still jobless. I tried not to worry (a near impossibility with an anxiety disorder). I resigned myself to finishing the socks, and husband and I would figure it out once we saw the autograph price what we could do.

I finished that second sock in record time. And tucked away into my sock drawer they went, only worn for pictures, but not to be on my feet until I was going to meet her. Eventually it was also announced that Katie Griffin (Sailor Mars) would be there, very cool … but I still only had eyes for Sailor Moon. Closer and closer comi-con was coming … September and still no announcement on autograph prices.

Life thankfully gave me a wonderful surprise by dropping a new job into my lap – something that fits very well with my skills, needs, and requirements as I heal and grow from the stresses and trials of the last year. And then, gloriously, just after Thanksgiving the announcement … and her autograph was more than affordable (even if I didn’t get a job). I was over the moon (excuse the pun), and counting days until the comi-con.

I was volunteering full time both days of the con. I found out that meant I would only have one 30 minute break (each day) and that would be my only window to secure the autograph. I had no idea how it would go. I made a risky decision to wear the socks the first day. If her line was too long, I would try to find a friend of sorts to get it for me on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be the same. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was going to give it my all.

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So to comi-con I went, and began my shift. Lots of people, lots of cosplay, I’m having a good time … but I’m upstairs at panels so I haven’t seen her yet. I come down for my second shift, with 30 minutes on the show floor before my break … so naturally, I subtly walk around until I can walk in front of the autograph tables … and there she is. I ask another volunteer about how long her line usually is, and was told that usually it’s not too bad … and could be 5-10 minutes at most. I’m bursting at the seams.

Break time and I whip off my volunteer shirt and beeline for the autograph lines. One person ahead of me, and I’m shaking a bit. Will I cry? Will I be able to speak? Will I be coherent and sound intelligent? Suddenly it’s my turn and they both look and smile at me and I step forward and enter into something I could only have dreamed of.

I shook her hand and told her my name. I explained how big a fan I was – that I was wearing handknit socks in a colour named after the scouts. There is a website where my user name is Princess Serenity. My husband uses Tuxedo Mask as a user name on multiple sites. And I told her I had loved the show since I was a little girl and it meant the world to me to see such strong female characters, and I identify so hard with Sailor Moon … and then I thanked her for being the voice of my childhood. (I’m getting choked up just remembering it!) She was quiet the entire time I spoke, and then said it meant a lot to hear stories like mine from fans, and makes all the hard work worth while. She asked me if I’d like an autograph, and I handed her the money for it, then took a moment to pick the picture to have signed. There were a few shots that were all the scouts, but I thought since it was an autograph from her I wanted just a picture of Sailor Moon. So I picked it, and she signed it.

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And then she said “Come on, were taking a picture”. To which I replied “but I didn’t bring enough to pay for a photo” and she said “I don’t care. We’re taking a picture.” She got up and walked off the stage and down to where I was, and gave me a hug. She asked whether I wanted a selfie or for someone to take the picture … there was only one answer … it had to be a selfie! It had to be fun and casual and personal. So I set the timer on my phone (since I’m terrible at holding it and pressing the button at the same time). And she made faces as the timer counted down from 10 to 0, but smiled big like me as it snapped the picture.

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I got one more hug, and then we parted, and went back to work … storing my precious autograph in volunteer HQ and fretting about it for the rest of my shift (as I was again upstairs at panels and regretting not taking it with me). And that’s it … I thought I was done … except …

Sunday was a long day of volunteering for me. My introvertness was tapped out … I was tired of people, and crowds, and noise and while I got to move around on the show room floor and basically not engage with a ton of people, I was sick of it all and just wanted it to be done. Towards the end of the con, with about 20 minutes to go, I was told some of the celebrities still at the autographs table were signing shirts so hey, what the hell! I was expecting for my volunteer shirt to be another awesome bowling shirt, but autographs are cool and maybe I could sell my shirt for extra cash or something. So the signing starts – first Sean Astin, then Paul Amos, then Ann Mahoney … and then the freakin’ Sailor Scouts come back and offer to sign shirts! So Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars signed my shirt … and I’m not selling it for all the money in the world.

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Naturally, my signed autograph had to be hung immediately. I picked up a frame and fiddled with it a lot to get it just right, and fretted even more to find the perfect spot to hang it. It had to be a place of pride, a place safe from harm, and a place where I could see it more often than not.

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So how about the wall beside my front door, behind my tv, and directly across from my desk? Notice the Sailor Moon funko figure on the shelf? Oh yes, I am a fan.

And thus is the massively detailed account of meeting one of my idols, and the absolutely immense joy of my nerd worlds coming together!

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