This is my origin story, the tale of how I got into this amazing world of fandom and convention attending, people who know me well have probably heard this story before but I don’t think I have ever actually written it up for the world to read at least not in as much detail – After being involved in this world for over a decade now I figured it’s about time to share my story. This post is a bit more personal for me than others which is the main reason why I have not shared it so publically before, but everyone has their story and this is mine… Anyone who has ever seen my website, Twitter or Facebook should be well aware that I am an Amanda Tapping fan and that this fandom of Amanda is what sent me on my journey of attending conventions which brought me into this amazing world of friendships, celebrity experiences and showed me a different sense to the word FAMILY. It really is amazing how one simple moment in your life can change it so massively, thankfully in this case it has and always will have been for the better.
The biggest reason I want to share this story is after having attended the last event ‘Return to the Gate’ I got a photo taken with Amanda Tapping and I wanted to explain why this photo in particular is so incredibly special and important to me.
Delving into my history and a little of my teenage years… During my time at high school I was always the one that got teased and picked on, called names that were lame and stupid but always hung around because well it’s high school and that’s just what teenagers do. I never really let them get to me though, I decided early on in my high school years that I wasn’t going to change who I was to satisfy them or to stop them, I decided I was just going to be myself and I’m so glad I did even if I didn’t really have many friends, I would work in the canteen, study in the library or just hide away from everyone… I had more friends in teachers than I ever had in Students, in fact it was one of my teachers who originally gave me the nickname Smiley, back when I was just 13 years old… Who would have thought that it would have stuck like it did and almost 20 years later I’m more commonly known by that name than my own. I was definitely a tom boy and even though I had long hair, I always and I mean ALWAYS had it up in a ponytail.
So in 2003 having finished Year Eleven I decided I wanted a change and my hair was going to be that change I wanted to do something different, I went and got my hair cut short, tinted it with colour and even had a fringe (bangs for the Americans) but I didn’t like this style – I was used to having my hair back and I could just never figure out how to style it without it getting in my face and annoying me… Then one day I was at my Dad’s and my Step Mum was watching a show, something that I had never paid attention to before, but there was a female character with short blonde hair and straight away my mind went “I want that style!” – If you hadn’t guessed it yet that show was Stargate SG-1 and that character was most definitely Samantha Carter and the episode was ‘The Tomb’. As soon as I was able I got onto the computer and searched the show and the cast, found Amanda’s name and looked her up – I was looking for a photo to take to the hair dresser. Little did I know that such a small decision in my life would change everything I decided to do from that moment onwards. Whilst looking up this actress I found that she had been in Australia earlier that year (I think) and so I was reading a transcript of a convention she had been at and her panel… within minutes of reading this transcript I had fallen in love with this person, her personality and spirit spoke volumes to me and I said to myself “That is the kind of person I want to be”. It also helped that my favourite show at the time was Red Dwarf and Amanda made a reference to it, can’t remember exactly what it was but it got a mention which helped to seal the deal of my sudden love to this person whose hair style I liked. Then of course I had to go through with it and get my hair cut and coloured, although I never exactly styled it the same way.
Things then spiralled as I got into the amazing world of Stargate and Amanda fandom… I started watching Stargate every single week and had the DVDs on order for when they were next available to buy, it helped that my brother worked at a Blockbuster at the time! Life went on and I finished school, I went on to study at TAFE but unfortunately I hated the course I was doing and decided to quit. It was during this time that things were pretty rough the few friends I did have at school didn’t really talk to me anymore and I was feeling pretty alone in the world which lead to me falling hard into the Stargate/Amanda fandom, perhaps too hard as I recall my family were slightly worried as it became a bit of an obsession, and I agree that I did fall hard I wanted to know everything and anything I could about Stargate and most importantly Amanda. I joined forums and would check then constantly because at that time, I felt like those people on the internet were the only people I had in the world who cared. Then I found a chatroom website called The SGC: Stargate Chat Network, where I joined and made lifelong friends… Some of the people I befriended on this website I am still friends with to this day, which is a massive thing for me who always seemed to make friends easily but could never keep them. This chatroom and these friendships led to me attending that first convention all those years ago and started me off on that next phase of my adventure.
All my closest friends and most of the people I know today I have met through either, my love and admiration of Amanda Tapping or through attending conventions. I have met and created friendships with people that I know are going to last for years to come, even if attending conventions becomes a thing of the past I know that these people will still be a part of my life because our friendships are more than just that one thing that brought us to find each other in the first place. I have travelled interstate and overseas to meet friends I met online, some of those friends being from that chatroom I joined so many years ago. Over the years since I first joined this amazing fandom there have definitely been many ups and downs and sometimes it feels like the downs outweigh the ups but sometimes that one up moment in a sea of downs is enough to push you through until the next one – and this is due to having such an amazing and supportive network of friends around you even if they are not local to you or if they live on the other side of the world they are there for you if you need it and remembering that helps to get through those darker times in life.
When I first joined this fandom, I was so easily excited about anything relating to Amanda thankfully as time has passed I have matured and learnt to control my excitement. As we are coming up on the seventh anniversary of the very first time I met Amanda Tapping I am reminded of just how nervous I was. I was so worried that I had made her out to be this perfect human being who was everything I wanted to be and I was nervous that ‘what if she wasn’t as amazing as I’d imagined?’… I still remember the exact moment during that event when it truly dawned on me that Amanda was more than everything I had ever imagined her to be, she was so kind, loving, friendly, beautiful, talented, smart, funny… and everything else, I remember feeling completely star struck. I am so thankfully that at the same event was Carmen Argenziano and his partner Eileen Grubba, having met them before I felt more relaxed and in the end in was Eileen who took me over to talk to Amanda when I said I was too nervous – Such a sweet thing to do and I am so grateful to her for it.
Since that 2010 convention I have seen Amanda numerous times… the following year she was back again for an event and then the next year I went to England, then in 2014 I saw her twice in just over a month’s period in two different countries. The most recent event I attended in which Amanda was a guest was also the first time I got to see Amanda in person with a short blonde hairstyle, similar to the one that got my attention all those years ago. Which is why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a good photo with her, this photo that I will cherish forever because not only is it of myself with the women who inspired me the most it also includes a hair style which caught my attention and brought me into this world in the first place, plus a good hug from Amanda can never go astray. I have met so many fellow Amanda fans through these different events and I have realised that there are so many people out there who are inspired by Amanda the same way I was, inspired to be better people to care more, to be strong, to try our hardest and to keep going. Even before meeting Amanda in person I felt there was a bond, there was just something that drew me towards her I guess she just has that kind of personality and after all this time I feel as though that bond has strengthened.
Over the years of attending events, meeting celebrities and working with them I have always found it quite easy to chat with them, when I first started attending I used to get excited which lead to getting nervous but I’m glad that I got passed that stage. Now when I’m speaking with actors/celebrities I just think of them as if I’m talking to anyone else because even though these people are famous and I’ve watched them on TV they are still just people like everyone else. I have had friends comment on how well I talk and interact with guests and how they always seem to remember me, I don’t know why and even after all this time I still get surprised when an actor remembers me, I never expect it and I definitely don’t think of myself as someone who especially stands out, I’m just me… I’m a bit of a goofball, I like to have fun and enjoy myself, but I am also sensitive and am more than willing to have deep and meaningful conversations. I recently had a conversation with a friend, we were talking about Amanda and her personality and what it was that drew us towards her, my friend then said to me that I had a similar personality that drew people in that there was just something special about it… This was such a beautiful thing to say and it had a real effect on me, for the first time in my life I felt a sense of comfort in the person I am becoming. It’s nice to know that in a small way I can have that same effect on people that Amanda does, of course I’m not as talented or beautiful and I definitely don’t inspire people to that level but to know that there’s just something about my personality that effects people in a similar way makes me realise that I’m on the right track.
As I type this up I am also thinking back over my years of attending conventions and I realise that it’s not the first time I have had someone tell me something similar – Of course in this case the reference to Amanda is what made this mean so much. At one event I had the partner of a guest come to me and thank me for everything, she then told me that there was just something about me, an aura that drew people in and that I was so easy to talk too. This was not the first time that comments like this had been made, but I think it was the first time I actually took it on board. Not being used to receiving compliments my mind makes me believe that they are just saying it to be nice, I think that I have finally reached that place in my life where I am finally taking on board these compliments for what they are.
The world around us is constantly changing but I know that there are always going to be things in my life that will never change and some of those things are my idolisation of Amanda, the friendships I have made through this fandom, all the amazing memories I have and the push I have to always try and better myself. This post is not only for myself to get my story out there and share it but it is also my way of saying thank you…
There are always things in life we’d like to change if given the chance but when it comes down to it, there’s not much from the last 15 years I’d change… maybe just that I wish I knew who Amanda was earlier in my life.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Origin Story, please feel free to share your own stories don’t ever be afraid to tell your tale.