Dragon Con Chronicles 4
dragon con op-ed

YHS Dragon-Chronicles Pt. 4- Comfy Shoes! (Need ‘Em)

Dragon_Con_RiddlerGuess who hasn’t done any work on her belts? This gal! I’m okay with this. Honestly, writing these memories and tidbits out every day over this last week has really helped me personally to feel mentally prepped for Dragon Con next week. I say that now, but I am also aware that there will be a point next week where I’m running around covered in loops of duct tape and half an arena weathered Padme costume trying to string floral wire through my hair screaming “WHYY DRAGON CON, WHYYY?”

I eagerly await this moment. I accept it. It’s like I’m taking my own medicine (now I want to do a Danny Torrance costume), and I’m feeling better as a result. I hope you guys are too. These tips are based on the hundreds of lists and notes I’ve made in my phones and journals over the last decade. In the weeks leading up to Dragon Con it’s common to feel overwhelmed with unfinished projects, financial obligations, lack of finances, and social anxiety. We all feel it. In years past I would jot down little lists of things to pack and keep in mind while at con. My fourth tip is one that I learned my first year and it’s a lesson that I kept learning year after year, and it will always ring true so listen up.

“You better bring some comfy-ass shoes.”

Dragon Con is huge. I’ve said this before, the entire sprawl covers 2-5 miles of Atlanta cityscape. I’ve also mentioned the whole everything-happening-at-once thing and fear of missing out kicking in and just how dang important it is to make the most of your time at Con. Also, bring the party! Yes, I have said all these things. Sisters and brothers, you cannot possibly attempt to soak up all the party vibes transmitting at Dragon Con in an uncomfortable pair of shoes. I don’t care how much you drink to numb the pain, your feet will try to murder you the next day if you commit to walking around for ten hours in stilettos or heavy combat boots without proper cushioning and breaks to sit and stretch.

Having said this, I understand that most of us attending the convention will be wearing a costume at some point. I also understand that some of these costumes involve unconventional, restrictive or heavy footwear. Heck I’m wearing actual Corcoran boots in the parade, as I have every year since I bought them. I’m proud as heckfire of those boots even if they turn my feet into two large blisters once I peel them off.

This is why it’s so important to pack a sensible pair of walking shoes to cushion your come-down period from pinching hot shoes. Once you’re out of your costume, be sure to rinse your feet off (Hi, OCD!), slip on a clean pair of socks (How are you?), and then lace up some thickly-soled, closed-toe shoes. From there. you’ll be ready for wherever the Deadpool Conga Line may take you.  

Abbey_Chewbacca_DragonConAw, look at me snuggling with Chewie! Look how happy I am. There were few reasons why I was smiling so big in the above photo-

  1. It was taken at Star Wars Celebration 2016 before The Last Jedi hit theatres.
  2. I was hugging a life size, highly screen accurate Chewbacca and let me tell you, his fur was exactly as soft and luxurious as it looks in this image, that’s not a trick of the light. You try not to grin while that’s happening to you.
  3. Lastly, look down, lower, lower- there you go! See that pair of bright grey lace-up walking shoes I’ve got on? They’re the real reason I was having the time of my life the day this photo was taken.

I know you’re all going, “Wait, why is she talking about Star Wars Celebration? I thought she was giving me her Ten Tips about Dragon Con!” Well, you’re right, but I believe that my fourth Tip applies to any convention setting therefore any photo of me wearing my favorite walking shoes should work. I’m packing both my standard comfy black athletic flip-flops (or as I like to say “flippity-flops”) and that exact same pair of grey Vans that were the real MVP that weekend at Celebration this year for Dragon Con. I’m intentionally bringing both of these not just because technically they are the only two pairs of shoes I own, although they technically are, I’m also packing them along because I’m wearing some extremely heavy and restrictive footwear for two of my costumes next weekend.

So what should you do when you’re laying out your clothes on your bed next to your big empty suitcases the Wednesday night before Dragon Con (because let’s face it, that’s when we’re all really going to finally start packing) and you’re feeling torn because you want to bring every logo tee that represents your total devotion to Draco Malfoy, but your Slytherin collection is pushing over thirty tees, tops, and hoodies? Honestly girl, just pack your favorite five. Also keep this in mind. I’ve found it helpful to try to pack like I’m going to Six Flags every day for the weekend. Dragon Con is honestly not that far off from staying at Universal Studios or Disney for a vacation. Same rules apply-

  1. You’ll be on your feet a lot. Wear comfortable shoes like tennis shoes or cushioned supportive sandals.
  2. There will be times when you’re exposed to the outdoors while traveling on foot (especially if you’re trying to get to the dealer rooms) weather may change and you should dress accordingly (hat, jacket, parka, umbrella- whatever suits you).
  3. I’ve said this before in Part 1 of this series, but BRING A FRIGGIN’ BACKPACK! There will be things you want to purchase literally everywhere. Buy them, and then carry you’re new stuff in your trusty bag. (If you’re Jacob Walsh of Yes Have Some Podcast, stuff a poster tube in that bag because you’re gonna want some prints.)

Before I leave you allow me to caution you with a brief but harrowing tale called How I Searched For Sensible Shoes Inside The Food Court Under The Hyatt Dragon Con 2012. It was a rough year for me. I hadn’t planned things out due to a fever that had swept my body two days before Dragon Con. For whatever reason (I hadn’t quit drinking at this point in my life, which didn’t help my Pre-Con planning headspace) I arrived at Dragon Con with nothing but a tiny cardboard thin pair of $3 flip flops from Target and one pair of uncomfortable boots which were my costume shoes. That was it. It was only Thursday but my feet were already sore just from checking in and waiting in line to get my badge. Once inside my room I unzipped my suitcase and faced the reality- I had no comfy shoes that year. What did I do? I frantically scrambled down to the mall underneath the hotels and prayed to The Flying Spaghetti Monster that was actually floating above me (someone had made a fantastic balloon animal version the deity that year) that there was a shoe store down there amongst all the fast food spots and sunglass kiosks.Padme_Boots

There wasn’t. I ended up buying a weird pair of black imitation leather woven sandals at a Newsstand. They were somehow a little better than the flip flips I had brought with me but also terrible at the same time. The following year I brought some reasonable shoes and it changed my entire con experience. You gotta take care of your footsies, people. Get some inserts, start Gellin’, give yourself a pedicure Sunday morning- whatever floats your boats. Self-care is so important. I have continued the practice of mindfully packing well worn walking shoes with me ever since. I advise you all to do the same.

Now I’m going to leave you with some advice from Stephen Hawking. 

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. …But also, wear comfy shoes.” -Abigail Gardner & Stephen Hawking

That’s my addition to that Stephen Hawking quote guys. I know you were all dying to hear what I could add to the deepest musings of one of the greatest minds of our time. No big.

Abigail Gardner

@Splash_Mommy – Instagram

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