Apologies for the late post - it's been a very busy weekend. My 12-year-old niece has been visiting this weekend, and I took her to GeekGirlCon, which was her very first convention.
My niece is just starting to come into her own as a self-identifying geek, and she's not that aware of what kind of community is available to her. She's begun to play video games, and she's started to spend time online with other gamers. At the same time, she's living in an area that doesn't have the biggest geek community, and she's never spent much time in a face-to-face situation with other people who share her interests.
The first thing she did was hurt herself, of course. After that, though, she started to get excited about seeing other people like her, and people that didn't make her feel like she "stood out". By the end of the convention, she said that she felt comfortable, and like she was with people who were like her. It was one of the best experiences I've ever watched happen, and I'm truly grateful to have been a part of that awakening.
With luck, I'll be able to spend some more time writing in the next few weeks. I'm going to call it about three of the last seven days that I've written, which is pathetic. Things will only go up from here.