As I sit here writing, it’s a few weeks after the conclusion of Dark Odyssey’s Winter Fire, one of the country’s largest BDSM and kink events. For us, the weekend was the culmination of three months worth of work, creating a major party and two classes. But it an also come with a downside – the after – the dreaded con drop.
During the Winter Fire weekend, Ms.Pomegranate and I presented the aforementioned party and classes, had a rope suspension scene, multiple playdates, social networking with friends, business obligations, travel and in addition, Ms.P also did two shifts as a boot black. Don’t get me wrong, a weekend such as this is incredibly fun, but it’s also a huge commitment of money, time and energy. Even the most successful event experience can leave anyone feeling tired, drained or even a little sad. If events “lift” our lives metaphorically with incredible, sex positive opportunities, it’s unfortunate yet inevitable that a drop has to come. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with con drop.
Prep for Post Con Drop
Ms.Pomegranate recently wrote about kinky event planning. In the post, Ms.P offers great advice about making he most of a a kinky convention experience. The reason being prepared is so important is the simple fact that kinky conventions have a tendency to test us on many different levels. A kinky convention can challenge us physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Sometimes our experiences are heartbreaking, other times life changing. Even when we don’t test the limits of our hearts, the simple act of playing hard is similar to a weekend playing an intense sport. Being prepared for an event can help someone to anticipate how they may feel when he event is over, or at least realize that the impact of the convention experience may last long after you’ve checked out of a hotel room.
Conventions are full of energy and people who come together in a community. For many people, this sense of acceptance and community is one of the most powerful things about conventions. It feels like coming together with friends and family. When you return to your normal routine, it also means leaving behind the shared community of the convention. For some, this means going back into the closets of gender and sexual identity. For others, it means the beautiful freak flag has to be folded up and put away.
The widely used term is con drop, which is the emotional and physical letdown from the high point of the convention. Remember my sports metaphor for cons? Well leaving a con can feel like the day after playing in a big game. It can also be emotionally jarring, leaving a community that is accepting, open and connected for the everyday reality of being in other communities which aren’t accepting or safe spaces. If going to a convention is like a homecoming, then leaving the con is also like leaving home, or returning to spaces that may not be as diverse and accepting. Con drop takes many different forms. For some, it’s a gradual, albeit bumpy return to the everyday routine. For others, leaving a con can mean sadness or depression. Compounding this is the physical recovery from heavy, taxing physical scenes.
The period after a convention is going to be one of recovery and processing, that’s actually a good thing. It’s a time to reflect and recover. It’s also a time to practice self care. The space after a convention is a point in time, where we look at who we are and who we want to be. In the quiet moments of this space we can look at what we need to improve while feeling gratitude for the cool things that go along with a sex positive life. Everyone’s post convention period is going to be bit different, but here are some tips which can help ease the con drop.
Expect the drop
It’s natural to feel a bit of a let down after an big, exciting event of any kind. Expect that after a convention, there will be some sense of letdown. Everything will seem a little slower and less exciting. Expect that feeling, embrace it and go easy on yourself, it’s OK to feel tired or even a bit sad that the event is over. (However, if you’re struggling and facing prolonged or serious depression, please reach out and seek help from reliable resources). It’s also likely that the lack of sleep and full schedule will catch up with you at some point, as well as the infamous “con crud” bout of illness which seems to follow major events. (Pack a lot of people into a confined space like a hotel and flu bugs are bound to spread)
Decompress And Process
Often, you’ll hear people say they need to “decompress” or “process” after an event. This is almost like a personal debriefing. I can guarantee one thing, if you ever attend a convention, you’ll learn something about yourself, your partners and about people. Sometimes the lessons are good, others times they are hard. In either case, you’ve learned something. Take time to absorb those lessons and the experience and reflect on how it’ll impact your life and relationships.
Value The Chance For Self Care
Whatever your experience, part of recovering after an experience is to realize the value of self care. Get caught up on your sleep. Eat balanced meals and treat yourself. Connect with partners, friends and family. Take pride in your accomplishments, even the small ones. Allow your heart to heal disappointments. Take a day off. Be good to yourself. You’ve earned it.
Connect With Partners and Friends
Post convention is a great time to reach out to friends who may have similar feeling of con drop. Check in with people you know and help them with their drop, if they request that of you. Cultivate new relationships, friendships and connections. This will allow you to nurture the community you found at the convention.
Remember That A Convention Experience Is Unique
Kinky conventions may be something you attend on a regular basis. It may also be a once in a lifetime experience. You may connect with someone who becomes a lifelong friend or partner. You may have a special moment with someone you never see again. It may be just another weekend for you or it may be a transcendent, life changing experience. Each kinky convention experience is like a pearl, unique and beautiful in its own way. Accept that and be open to receiving what the experience offers to you.
You’ve survived and thrived at a kinky convention. You’ve grown, learned and even if you’ve had bumps and bruises, you’re better for the experience. Now, where do you want to go? Don’t look at the close of a con as an end, but instead think of it as the beginning of of something new and exciting, another path on the journey.
Rest, recharge and always keep it kinky.