Gallifrey One and Balancing Priorities

Gally was a GREAT time this year, as always!

Gally was a GREAT time this year, as always!

Much as I’d love to write a whole, long, in-depth post about what a wonderful, life-affirming time I had at this year’s Gallifrey One convention, I simply don’t have it in me. And that fact is what I’m here to write about.

I knew, going into the month before the convention, that I wasn’t going to be able to throw myself in as wholly as I have done many years. When possible, I like to speak on panels, attend meetups, and even do the occasional on-stage interview with a guest. This year it was not possible.

As I’ve alluded to recently, I’ve been working on getting my mental health under control. I haven’t reached a real crisis point, and I’m determined to do everything I can to make certain that I do not. Late last year I started on anti-anxiety/antidepressant medication for the first time in over a decade. If you’ve gone through this process, you know it’s not usually an easy thing. Finding the right medication is difficult and can require some trial and error. Finding the right dosage of the correct medication(s) is yet another wrinkle. It can be a long and drawn-out process, but if you need the chemical assistance to keep you going, it is well worth the time and effort. I know it has been for me.

Anyway, having just switched to a different med several weeks before Gally, I decided I’d kinda take a back-seat convention-wise, and that was absolutely the right thing to do. I was already committed to doing a Verity! meetup (it would have taken something truly serious to get me to back out on that!) and the live Verity! In Defense Of panel (something that requires very little effort on my part). So no problems there.

The one other item I decided was worth doing was being a guest on a live one-off episode of Paul Cornell’s Cornell Collective podcast. It was late on Friday night, and there was a moderate amount of booze involved (enough to have fun, not enough to adversely react with my meds). It went spendidly! This one was fairly easy to say yes to because there were few logistics involved–all I had to do was show up and answer questions into a microphone. I did those things and had a wonderful time doing them! (That podcast should drop in the Cornell Collective feed soon (if it’s not there already)!

And, of course, I spent lots and lots of time hanging out with friends and fans and catching up with many many people I care about and many people I now care about after meeting them last weekend. I love how my Gally family grows a bit each year.

I feel like this Gally was a huge success. Maybe not in the same flashy-in-the-spotlight way some previous ones have, but in a really fundamental, mental-health-supporting, I-had-a-great-time way.

I hope to take this lesson and build on it in real life. I have a tendency to say yes to everything and over-schedule myself. I’m going to work to do that less, and to be sure that the things I do schedule for myself are the things that will take less prep-work and will leave me feeling good about the time spent doing them. (And with enough mental “gas” in the tank so that I can devote myself to my day job–which I am genuinely passionate about.)

This might mean fewer podcast appearances talking about things that are new-to-me (or that require rewatching/re-reading), but for now, I think that’s for the best. This also might mean more hanging-out-in-person with friends to simply sit and absorb something fun. My friend Annette has taken me under her wing and is teaching me about the joys of regency romance and the world of televised/movieised Jane Austen. (She also has four cats, which provide a lovely stress-relief service when it comes to cuddling and petting.) Oh, and Steven is showing both Annette and me the British classic(?) show Robin of Sherwood. So yeah there are plenty of things I can do to keep myself on an even keel without expending too much effort.

So I apologize for a lack of my usual in-depth convention travelogue, but this is me setting priorities too. It was more important for me to share a bit about where I’m at than to crow about where I was last weekend. But just to give you a bit of a taste of my Gally afterglow, here are a few post-con tweets. (And don’t forget to check out the #gally1 hashtag for more of the shenanigans that happened all weekend long!)

 

Advertisements

Gally 2016, Wrap-Up: Observations

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

The leave-taking on Monday morning was as wistful and melancholy as ever. It’s hard saying goodbye to friends knowing I’m not gonna see them for a whole year. At least the trip home was smooth and trouble-free, and I had lots of warm memories to combat the cold in Edmonton. Happily, we didn’t even have to clear any snow off the car in the airport parking lot.

Gally 2016 Sally in parking lot

I’ve spent some time thinking about this year’s Gally, not just the events, but some of the things I noticed about myself and others. Things I liked, and things I didn’t. I want to cover a couple of them here.

Come Together, Right Now, Oh Gally

One of my favorite things to see at conventions is people who kinda know each other (or only know each other online) getting to meet and spend time together. This is especially great when they get along as well (or better) in person as they do online. This happens left and right at Gally, but a few instances stood out to me in particular. Continue reading

Gally 2016, Sunday: The Big Day

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday, Friday, and Saturday!

The last day of Gallifrey One is always bittersweet. You’re still enjoying the convention, but you know the flight home is just around the corner. This year, my biggest con-responsibility was on Sunday, so it didn’t feel like as much of a wind-down as it sometimes does. Because of that responsibility (and the related nerves), I didn’t make it to any of the AM panels I meant to attend. Instead, I spent the morning almost-forcibly sleeping in and being as laid-back and leisurely about getting ready as I could. Then I sat in the sun by the pool with Deb and Katy to calm my nerves as much as possible.

The responsibility I was calming (and steeling) myself for was my first main-stage interview! Thus I also read through my list of possible questions several times as I soaked up the rays. I wasn’t properly terror-nervous like I had been for my first two on-stage (smaller-stage) interviews last year, but I was still a bit uncertain about it. Continue reading

Gally 2016, Saturday: Disco Fever!

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday and Friday!

Saturday at Gallifrey One was my least panel-filled day, but it was still full of goodness!

Gally 2016 Ninth Symphony

My only official panel that day was Ninth Symphony, discussing series 9 of Doctor Who. I was the moderator, but I tag-teamed with Derek Kompare, scholar-extraordinaire and friend-of-the-podcast. We chatted about it on Friday, and he had great ideas for how to tackle the subject. (Going episode-by-episode is impossible in an hour because you’ll never get through everything!) So Derek directed what we talked about while I made sure everyone got a chance to speak, played traffic cop, and called on audience members for questions.

Speaking of audience questions, unlike some panels I’ve mentioned, Continue reading

Gally 2016, Thursday: Self-Care Edition

E at Getty 2016

It’s now the Wednesday after the Gallifrey One convention, and I’m just starting to feel like I belong in the real world again. I think Gally, which is the weekend I look forward to all year, gets better every year, and this time was no different.

Actually, the one difference was that I was feeling a bit under the weather the whole time. Not bad enough to impact what I participated in, but enough to affect my choices when it came to eating and drinking. In the end, I think that might have improved my Gally experience. I usually tend to go a bit overboard in that department. I tell myself “it’s vacation!” so I eat all the gluten and dairy I want and guzzle booze like it’s going out of style. I didn’t feel up to that this year, and as a result, I remember the entirety of the disco, and I didn’t spend my days feeling bloated and sluggish. I hope I remember that next year. Moderation leads to more fun. (Gosh I feel old when I say that.)

Anyway, on to some of that fun! Continue reading

Gally One Here I Come!

Gally 27

As this publishes, I am at the airport and will soon be winging my way toward sunny LA and my favorite weekend of the year: Gallifrey One! It’s the largest fan-run Doctor Who convention in the whole wide world, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s also the best.* Whether you like to see panels, get photos/autographs, watch interviews, cosplay, buy merch, play games, or just drink booze and chat with your friends in the lobby or by the pool,** this con has something for everyone.

Personally, that last item is the one I look forward to most, with the first item coming in a close second. For me, Gally feels like an annual homecoming. It’s the people who make it so special. I look forward to seeing my Who family every year, so catching up is job #1, and watching those folks be all smart and eloquent on panels is next. This year some friends are doing interviews with the pros, so that’s another thing to look forward to!

As for me, here are the things I’ll be doing at Gally this year: Continue reading

Ode to Gally

Frazer and me Gally 2015

Dearest Gally,

How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways.
I miss thee to the depth and breadth and height (of the LAX Marriott).
My soul is bleak when cosplay’s out of sight.
For the days of meeting in ideal space (Programs A, B, C, D, E).
I miss thee to the level of each con day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and poolside-light.
I miss thee freely, as Lobbycon night.
I miss thee purely, as LA sun’s rays.
I miss thee with passion Gally sets loose
For my beloved show, my childhood fave.
I miss thee for the stress I seem to lose
With my first drinks. I miss thee with the breath,
Smiles, squees, of all my fandom; and, I muse,
I shall but miss thee more until the next.

(Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

Coming back to real life after a convention is never easy. After Gallifrey One, it’s even more difficult. It’s the one time of year when I’m surrounded by the greatest number of my closest friends. When I can make a joke about a Jameson bottle cosplaying as a Sea Devil, and the whole room gets the joke. Continue reading