Most of you know the work I do as a volunteer for Tekkoshocon, Inc. On the surface, it seems like I’m devoting my time to a frivolous pursuit; I spend a lot of time and energy on what could least charitably be called pop culture trash. However, in doing the work– in volunteering my time and energy to that cause– I’m reminded of a very simple truth. It’s a truth I’ve espoused in every post this month, and one that I’ve fought long and hard to realize is exactly what it is I want to promote in other people with my behavior.
It doesn’t matter how much you suffer, or how much you sacrifice, if what you’re doing is the right thing. If what you do makes even one person happier for a little while, then it is worth any price you pay and twice as much as that. It doesn’t matter who you do it for, or if you do it for someone who’ll never give you the time of day or will even spit on your face for doing it. What matters is that you do it, and do it well, and keep doing it until the day you die, because that’s what you’re here for.
Every year we’re bombarded with news of celebrities who die in ways that break our hearts. These people lived their lives in service to all of us, in some way or another. Some were inspirations; others, warnings. But their deaths don’t affect me nearly as much as the thought I had while I was just sitting outside a panel room last week, looking in on the bronies and pegasisters all singing along; or just people-watching in general on an off time at the con; or even just going about my daily life every single day. It would hurt just as much to lose any of those random people as it would to lose a celebrity or a family member. It would devastate me.
Every single one of those people at the convention has a story of their own, and it doesn’t matter what they’re wearing or what they look like or anything. We came together to do a great good for them, and some of them really need it. You can’t tell just by looking at them. You can’t tell even if you were to talk to them, sometimes. For some people, a place like Tekko or the Sangawa Project or Kurokiiro Festival or anything is the only place they have that’s their own. For all the grief that we go through to put the show on, some of our attendees live truly hellish lives the other 361 days of the year.
I put up with a lot of crap during the convention days, but each and every time, I also see something that astounds me and keeps me from becoming too terribly cynical and losing all hope in humanity: I see humanity. As flawed and ass-backwards as it can be sometimes, I see the great good that exists in everyone, and I see it shown time and time again. If it’s a compliment on a costume, a discussion on a show, letting someone on an elevator ahead of you, or people just randomly dancing in the lobbies for no better reasons than they can and it’d make the people around them smile, I see that there’s no truth whatsoever to the claim that there’s nothing redeeming about what I do.
And, once in a great while, I see that one kid who feels lost and alone in the world outside. I see him walking in the mall, eyes down, trying desperately not to be noticed. Maybe he’s had a bad day at school, or maybe his home life isn’t all that hot. Doesn’t matter. He’s having a rotten day, and he’s doing a terrible job of hiding it. All I need to do is walk up to him and say hi, maybe compliment his Kingdom Hearts hoodie or ask him what he’s planning on wearing to the next show, and I see his eyes light up. He’s a little braver now, a little more confident. So the world sucks right now; hold on just for a little while longer, and you’ll be among friends again.
So it doesn’t matter what kind of torment I have to go through. It doesn’t matter how bad the world sucks for me. What matters is how I make it suck less for others.