This is my Story
I thought it was about time that I shared my story of how I found and became a part of the fandom and convention attending world. Those who know me well, would have heard this story before. This is the first time I have ever actually written it out though. After being involved in this world for over a decade now I figured it was about time I did.
Up until this point my blog has been solely about sharing my convention and celebrity experiences with the world. Writing this post means that I am branching off into a much more personal department. Maybe that is why I’ve never shared it so publicly before.
Everyone has their own story, this is mine!
Amanda Tapping Fan
Anyway who has ever seen me on social media or looked at my website would know that I am a big Amanda Tapping fan. And it is the Amanda Tapping fandom that started me on this journey. A journey of attending conventions, making life long friendships, meeting celebrities and showed me a different meaning to the world Family.
It is really amazing how one seemly insignificant moment can change your life in such a massive way.
The biggest reason I have chosen to share my story now is because of the most recent event I attended. At the ‘Return to the Gate’ event I got another photo taken with Amanda Tapping. I want to explain why this photo in particular is so incredibly special to me.
The Teenage Years
First off, we’re going to delve into my teenage years a little bit. This is the pre-fandom part of my story. During my years of high school I was always teased and picked on, always made to feel I didn’t belong. I would be called names and had nasty rumours spread about me. That’s just what teenagers do, I tried to never really let them get to me, sometimes I struggled.
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 made the decision that I was just going to be myself. It’s the best decision I ever made, even if I didn’t have many friends. I’d work in the canteen, study in the library or just generally hide away in the quiet. I had more friends in the teachers than I ever had in other students. In fact it was one of those teachers who originally nicknamed me Smiley, back when I was only 13 years old. Who would have thought that, that name would have stuck and I’d still be using it 20 years later. In fact I’m more commonly known by my nickname than my actual name.
During my teenage years I was definitely a tom boy. And even though I did have longer hair, I would always wear it in a ponytail. At the end of Year 11 in 2003, I decided that it was time for a change. That change was going to start with my hair, so I went and got a hair cut shorter, into more of a bob. However, after so many years wearing it tied but, I quickly discovered I hated hair around my face, annoying me.
On day I was visiting at my Dad’s house and my Step Mum was watching a show on TV. I’m sure she had watched it many times before, but this time it caught my attention. That was because I spotted a character with short blonde hair and I automatically knew I wanted that hair style. The show she was watching, of course, was Stargate SG-1 and that character was Samantha Carter. And for the Stargate fans reading, it was the episode “The Tomb” so you know which season of Sam hair it was.
An Obsession was born
The part of my story where I fell hard and fast. When I was next on a computer I searched for any information on Stargate SG-1 and it’s cast. I found that the actresses name was Amanda Tapping and I started looking up who she was as well. I was initially looking for a photo to take to the hairdresser. Little did I know that this search would change the direction of my life forever. Whilst searching information about Amanda, I found out that she had been in Australia earlier that year. So I started to read a transcript from the event and it was this moment that I fell into an obsession that would last years.
It was this moment I fell in love with Amanda Tapping. Her personality and spirit spoke volumes to me and I said to myself “That us the kind of person I want to be”. It didn’t help that my favourite show at the time was Red Dwarf and Amanda had made a reference to it. Then of course I found a photo and went ahead and got my hair cut and coloured. Although I never quite got the hang of styling it the exact way she did.
The Fandom Spiral
That moment was only the beginning of my obsession and then things spiralled from there. I got into the Stargate and Amanda Tapping fandom so thoroughly that it was on my mind at all times. I started watching Stargate SG-1, every single week on TV and would have the DVDs on pre-order. Life went on and I finished high school and I went on to study at TAFE. Unfortunately, I struggled with TAFE every day and found nothing interesting about the course I doing so I decided to quit.
It was during this time, that I fell really hard into the fandom. I fell so hard into the fandom that my family were worried about me. As I look back I do agree, I did fall hard and quick. I wanted and needed to know everything and anything I possibly could about Stargate and Amanda.
Finding a Community
With no school and not many friends I found myself joining any websites, forums and chat networks. I felt like these online people were the only people I had in my life that cared. That’s when I came across a chatroom website called The SGC: Stargate Chat Network, I joined this site and made lifelong friends. Some of the people I befriended on this website, I am still friends with to this day. Which for me was a huge thing, I’ve always been really good at making friends, but not keeping them. This chatroom and these friendships led me to attending my very first convention all those years ago.
All of my closest friends have come from this fandom. Either through mutual love and appreciation of Amanda or attending conventions and exhibitions. I have met and created friendships with people that I know will last the rest of our lives. Even if attending events becomes a thing of the past, I know these people will still be a part of my life. Our friendships are more than just the one thing that brought us together. Throughout the years I have travelled interstate and even overseas to meet online friends in person.
Over the years since joining this fandom, there have been many ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like the downs outweigh the ups. However, sometimes one up moment in a sea of downs can make all the difference. It can push you through to the next one. This is made easier by having such an amazing and supportive network of friends and community around you. Even if they are not local, or they live on the other side of the world. They are still there for you when you need the, you just have to remember that sometimes.
Meeting Amanda Tapping
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 remember having those thoughts of ‘what if she wasn’t as amazing as I’d imagined?’.
An important part of my story, I remember the exact moment during this event, when it truly dawned on my that she was everything I had imagined. Even better than I had imagined really. She was so kind, loving, friendly, beautiful, talented, smart, funny and everything else. I remember in that moment, feeling completely star struck.
I am so thankful that at the same event was Carmen Argenziano and Eileen Grubba. Having met them before I felt more relaxed. In the end it was actually Eileen that took me over and introduced me to Amanda. After I had mentioned I was too nervous to talk to her, it was such a sweet thing to do and I’m so grateful. 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.
Return to the Gate Event
The most recent event I attended in which Amanda was a guest, is what prompted me to share my story. It 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 photo with her, a photo I will cherish forever. Not only because it is myself with a woman who has inspired me to be who I am. But also because she is sporting the hairstyle that caught my attention all those years ago. Plus a good hug from Amanda can never go astray.
Over the years of attending different events, I have met so many fellow Amanda fans. And I have realised that there are so many people out there, that have been inspired 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 something that drew me towards her, and this bond has only strengthened over the years.
Through attending events, meeting and working with celebrities, I have always found it quite easy to chat to them. When I first started attending I used to get overly excited, which led to getting nervous. I’m glad that I have gotten past that stage. Now when I’m speaking with a celebrity I just think of them as if I’m talking to anyone else. Even though these people are famous and I’ve watched the on TV, they are stull just people.
I have had friends comment on how well I interact with guests and how they always seem to remember me. I’ve never figured out what it is, and even now, I still get surprised when an actor remembers me. I never expect it and I definitely don’t think of myself as someone who stands out. I’m just me, a bit of a goofball who likes to have fun and enjoy life. But I am also open and honest and can easily have deep and meaningful conversations.
I was speaking with a friend recently and we were talking about Amanda. We were discussing how there was just something about her personality that drew you in. My friend then commented that I had a similar personality, that it drew people in and there was something special about it. This was such a beautiful thing to say, it had a real effect on me. For the first time in my life I felt a sense of comfort in the person I have become. It’s nice to know that in a small way, I can have that same effect on people that Amanda does. I definitely don’t inspire people the same way she does, but having a similar personality means I’ve gotten come things right.
As I have been typing this post, telling my story, I’ve been thinking back over my years of attending events. I have realised that it’s not the first time I’ve had someone tell me something similar. I once had the partner of a guest at an event come up to me and thank me for my help over the weekend. She told me that there was something about me, an aura that drew people in and I was easy to talk to. This is the first time I really acknowledged and took on board what was being said. I’ve never been good at receiving compliments, my mind makes me believe they are just saying it to be nice. I think I have finally reached a place in live, where I am finally learning to take the compliments for what they are.
The world around us is constantly changing, and as it does so do we. We mature and grow and things change, one thing I know will never change, is 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, it is also my way of saying thank you.
Thank you Amanda Tapping
You are always inspiring me to be a better person, you always make me laugh and cry at the same time. Thank you for introducing me into a world that had changed my life.
Thank you to the Community
All the friends I have met along the way, the friendships that have been created. With such strong bonds that will be with me forever. To my fellow convention attendees, organisers and different celebrities. I thank you all for all the amazing memories.
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 that I wish I knew who Amanda was earlier in my life. Thank you for reading my story.