At SELF we have a ton of opportunities for you to get involved, be engaged, and be social.
My first memory of SELF is one of being terrified. The first time I walked through the hotel doors it felt like I had walked into a whole different world. See, in June of 2007 I had only been in the community for about 7 months and had only ever been to local munches and demos in my home area of SC. Several of my friends and I had gotten together and decided to go as a group. As the weekend got closer and closer I was both nervous and excited. What would it be like? Who would I meet?
The doors opened on a whole new experience for me. I had outfits planned out for every day. I had a big brother and a big sister to look after me. Or in my case, I had a big brother to hide behind while I got my feet wet. They introduced me to new people, they helped me pick classes that interested me, they took me into the vendor room and showed me more toys and gear than I had ever seen in my whole life. I saw bootblacks working in the stands for the first time. I watched my first contest. I explored. I met people who would change my life in ways that were beyond measure. By the end of the weekend I had found mySELF.
SELF changed my life. I found home. I found a family. But, to do all that, I had to take those first steps through the doors. I had to be willing to stretch and experience new things. I had to open up. For a kid from a small town in South Carolina, that was the scariest thing of all. See, I was comfortable in my small town group, with the people I knew and was close to. I had to be willing to fly.
SELF gave me wings but also a nest to return to. SELF is a weekend of classes, games, dungeons, and a kick ass contest among many other things. I have seen world class presenters, experienced play with many different types of people, played games, and stood on that stage during the contest and earned the right to represent SELF all over the country. I come back year after year to give back, because SELF gave me so much. I have taught classes, bootblacked, and volunteered at SELF for 10 years and counting. As long as SELF exists, I will be there.
Now, will your SELF journey be the same as mine? Maybe or maybe not. You may never find yourself standing on the stage or in front of a classroom of people. Maybe you will find yourself working at the registration table or working a security shift. Or maybe you will just come and attend SELF and enjoy classes and camaraderie. You might be that person standing outside the doors trying to work up the courage to walk in. Take the step. Trust me on this, what you will find on the other side of those doors will change your life. And if you are scared, come find me. I will be the big brother you can hide behind while you get your feet wet. I will introduce you to people, show you around, take you through the vendor room. Whatever it is you need to help you find yourSELF with us.