I’ve never really felt I fit in. I’ve never really felt at home in groups, even though I love groups, even though my life’s work depends on bringing people together into large groups and making them feel as safe, excited, and happy as possible.
But I’ve never felt at home anywhere.
Which is odd, because I now have a lot of places that I can call “home”, and a lot of places where people welcome me with great kindness.
It’s true that I’m an extrovert. But the only real home I have is inside me – or inside the moments when I suddenly realize I’m part of a shared experience, creating something that’s never been before.
Humans are social animals; you can Google any number of studies on social isolation to find out what happens when we don’t have our own kind, our own tribes, people we can speak to.
I’m surrounded by people, people I genuinely love, and still, it’s hard.
It’s weird and it’s lonely. But at the same time…
It makes me treasure what I have even more. It makes me treasure Steampunk, Faerie, Goth, Fandom, and all the peculiar worlds we build. Because I’d rather feel at home a few times a year, and be driven to make those experiences, than feel at home all the time, and be content where I am.
Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks). He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.