As I scanned the words on the card my husband had given me for our 10th anniversary, I could hardly believe what I was reading. I was going to Enchantacon. I was going to the Fairy Tale Ball. Reading the expression on my face, my prince leaned over to me and quoted from a favorite movie, “Come on Cinderella! We’ve got to get you ready for the ball!”
For almost two months, that was the focus of almost every free minute of my life. I drafted packing lists, made menus for cheap non-perishable meals, learned how to dance, rehearsed karaoke songs, spent countless hours on Ebay searching for the perfect dress, counted calories, and hit the gym with the dedication of a marathon runner in training. If I was ever going to have a Cinderella moment, this was my chance, and I was going to do everything I could to help the stars align and encourage fate to smile down upon me.
I fantasized almost nonstop about what would happen during the convention. I ran through pretend conversations with people I might possibly meet, fans and actors alike. I dreamed up best and worst case scenarios, meticulously plotting reasonable responses and resolutions. Asked to dance by a VIP? No problem, I’ve practiced my waltz. Hotel reservation lost? I’ve got a short list of people who might let me crash in their room for one night. I’m a classic introvert and very methodical, so this kind of mental preparation is natural, if a bit obsessive. The anxiety of being in a crowded room full of strangers and having nothing to say weighed on me heavily. What if I was too scared or too shy to experience everything that Enchantacon would offer? This was followed by another fear: What if Enchantacon could never live up to all my fantasies?
A few days before I was scheduled to drive 12 hours down to Florida, Enchantacon announced that half of the actors scheduled for the event had canceled due to production schedules. Met with varying degrees of outrage, that announcement was followed by others—fans who had canceled their trip. I sulked for an hour or two, letting a couple of indignant tweets slip out. (I regretted every word.) I contemplated cancelling as well. There was no way the convention could live up to my expectations now. It was tainted with disappointment.
It was my husband who put things into perspective. “The hotel is going to be beautiful. It’s still going to be fun. You’re going to have a great time.” I decided to press on. In a way, this mini-disaster prepared me to remain flexible, open to whatever was coming. I decided to leave my expectations at home, forgotten on the shelf.
My motto for the weekend to come? I have a map, a full tank of gas, and a healthy sense of adventure. This is going to be great.