TL;DR – SizeCon is an incredible, life-changing event that filled with validation, love, and fun. I’m a hundred times better as a person because of it and it means the world to me. Start planning to be in New York next summer like, now.
I’ve talked about this each year so far, but if you don’t know, SizeCon is one of the most important things in the world to me. For three years now, size enthusiasts of all sorts (expansion, growth, shrinking, weight gain, and anything else you can imagine!) have gathered in NYC for a day or two.
Never, anywhere in the world, have I experienced such an open, loving, supportive and beautiful space. SizeCon helped me realize who I am and love that person. SizeCon helped me become an open, honest, authentic partner in my marriage. SizeCon changed my life, and it continues to do that for so many people.
This year I had a paperback to bring along, and my SizeCon 2016 partner-in-crime Taedis was returning after missing last year, so we made the call to split a vendor table. This was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while–having a table immediately made people far more comfortable walking up and talking, and that’s what the entire experience of SizeCon is all about.
Anyhow, for a more chronological recap–I made the decision to drive this year. I’d found a parking lot near the airport and I had a much larger bag to transport (I brought five pairs of shoes for two days. Decisiveness is not my strong suit). It looked like about four hours or less when I researched, but I got my hair done and a late start, and that put me at the event hours after the organizational meetings I’d meant to attend.
I wasn’t alone, though. Some serious storms really mucked up air travel for a ton of guests, so we were already scrambling before the event even began. Aborigen (the beloved and brilliant), Taedis and I were chatting in our mostly set-up booths and happened to be the nearest people to Gomai (The exquisite soul responsible for so much of the business and organizing of SizeCon this year), so we were recruited for a number of various hosting and facilitating duties throughout the weekend.
I hadn’t originally planned to arrive on Friday, so I didn’t really have a plan for a place to stay. I basically threw myself on the mercy of the SizeCon Discord and Kreeyz almost immediately insisted I stay with him.
If you don’t know Kreeyz, he is perhaps the most incredibly generous soul I’ve encountered. He’s traveled from France to attend every SizeCon so far, and he always brings a huge pile of art prints and other things that he gives away to anyone who wants them.
He travels from Europe, buys an entire vendor table, and gives everything away for free. On top of that, he’s volunteered his time as SizeCon’s official/unofficial IT guy, developing interactivity devices and web apps for the event. This will sadly be his last trip for a while, but he’s looking to start a European sizegathering of some sort, and knowing his intellect and ability, I expect success.
There were a few fresh and new things at SizeCon this year, but perhaps the most amazing were the Size Cafes. Back when we first started planning for SizeCon, Gomai called me on the phone a couple times and brought up the idea of something loosely inspired by maid cafes. I was vocally dubious during the conversation, but internally I was beyond doubtful that we could pull something like that off.
Of course, life happened and I wasn’t heavily involved in the planning this year, so once I kind of jumped back into the conversation and saw GiantGripper and others moving forward and pulling these things together, I was quite surprised. I even volunteered to be a server on the Macro Cafe, figuring I had the improvisation and acting ability, and I could be mean to some tiny guests, so why not?
The night before the convention we sat in the cafe space, missing over half of our servers and struggling for plans. I ended up volunteering to host the growth cafe, and went to bed wondering how everything would work out.
Day one started out wonderfully. Plenty of curious people filled the vendor room, and we had prime spots by the front door, so I got to enjoy chatting with a ton of people right as they entered the event. It was such a rewarding thrill to welcome them with huge smiles and encouragement, and seeing them slowly start to open up as I asked about their interests and their lives started giving me those incredible feelings that are what SizeCon is all about.
I’d seen coffee, though. Word was out that a Dunkin Donuts was about a fifteen-minute walk up the street, so I ventured out. If I don’t have at least one extremely large, sugar-rich cup of coffee a day, my body collapses and everyone suffers.
I find the place, but it’s right next to an adorable little grocery store. I lost my phone charger in my car, so I pop in and check around, grabbing a box of guava pastries while I’m there. I ask the woman at the checkout if there are phone chargers behind the counter where I see batteries and other electronics, but she doesn’t understand and waves over a manager who, through a thick accent, lets me know that I’m out of luck.
He’s smiling, though, and then he follows up while she’s scanning and bagging my purchase. “I like the way that you stand.”
For context, I’m a 6’5” non-binary trans woman in a short skirt and a tight, sleeveless top. I stand very tall and make my presence known in every room. “Such a woman is very rare,” he quips as I wave with a grin and walk by, and that grin persist with me as I grab a dozen donuts and three iced coffees. It only fades as I start to realize that I have no idea where I am.
Eventually I discovered, with the help of a full family camped out at cafe tables in front of their house, that I’ve walked about eight blocks in the wrong direction on 100th. In 90-degree heat, with two bags and a drink carrier that’s disintegrated from the condensation of three melting drinks.
The cafe I’m hosting starts at 1:00, and it was already 1:05 by the time I made it back to the hotel. I have no idea what’s happening, no idea what time it is, but I rushed over to the room and found MaxGrowth being prepped for emergency hosting duties. God bless him, he and his crew are always instantly ready to do anything they can to help. I jumped in and got an idea of the situation while menus were being hastily scrawled on note cards. I got a security briefing and code words for how to handle any guests that got out of control. I got word as well that some guests at the last cafe had expressed only wanting to be served by cisgendered females, and I was suddenly concerned that I’d have to politely break some skulls.
I made the rounds with the tables and had a quick conversation with each of the guests, asking if they had any concerns or preferences or specifics they’d like us to be aware of before we started, and they were all either wide-open or smart enough not to say anything to the giant trans hostess. To be fair, I think most of them were almost as nervous as the performers, and everyone was quite sweet and fun throughout.
Our general plan was to serve everyone drinks, start with a toast to our new cafe, and play around the idea that the servers had all been slipped a growth potion of some sort in their drinks. They did a spectacular job chattering about the strange taste and feeling a little off, and from there we had them hastily change into smaller and tighter outfits and wear these platform shoes.
The tables were all tightly arranged around a tall stage and runway. I’d stayed on the raised platform throughout, and the servers had mostly moved around on the floor. For the last course, we replaced the chairs at the bar-height tables with low dining chairs to make the guests feel extra tiny.
One of the guests mentioned to Goddess Rei that their bagel wasn’t flat enough, so she politely obliged and pounded it under her fist. From that point, flattened bagels became a pretty popular food choice. Another guest felt too tiny to eat their entire cookie, so their server tore it into tiny pieces for them. I continued touching tables, being mildly condescending to everyone while checking to see if they were enjoying themselves.
Then we were hit with the biggest and most wonderful surprise. Katelyn Brooks had finally gotten a flight out and had just shown up backstage! She was originally planned to be part of the cafe, but so many people had challenges with flying in and we didn’t expect her to make it. I’ve corresponded with her just the slightest bit and used to sell some things through her site, and we did a panel together back at the first SizeCon, but the first thing she did when she saw me was give me a huge hug. Katelyn is amazing, guys, even more than you know.
At the end of it all, I was amazed. It worked. Not only did it work, it worked spectacularly. The guests felt small, and the servers felt big. Honestly one of, if not the best overall moment of SizeCon this year for me as picking on Jitensha because I could tell she was having those feelings. She was blushing and couldn’t make eye contact, so obviously I planted my hands on her table and leaned way over. I don’t even remember what I said, but Captain Rand grabbed a picture that I’ll treasure forever.
I need to take a moment to talk about Jitensha here, too. All of this SizeCon stuff really goes back to her initial plans for starting some meetups in NYC where people could come together and talk about size stuff in person, and once she put the idea out there for a full-blown convention I was so instantly convinced that it was a necessary, important thing that needed to happen.
This little girl works her ass off in a difficult and demanding field during the day, churns out awesome artwork at night, and somehow in the middle she’s a beacon of support and love for the community. She’s constantly encouraging people in need, answering questions, and somehow makes time to be a founder and prime organizer of a convention, too.
Her incredible openness and the way she talks about kink, relationships, love, and her own background and story is beyond amazing. Sitting and listening to her on panels at the first SizeCon really and truly changed my life. I love Veronica, more than anyone out there who doesn’t share my last name. She a beautiful, precious, inspiring woman that brightens the lives of everyone she touches. She is the one tiny lady that I will always protect.
Anyhow, I’m incredibly proud of all my servers. I do have to make another special note of Miles Striker here, too. I met him Friday night and originally wasn’t sure how I felt. He’s an alpha male dom adult film star, among other things, and as you’d expect he has a seriously strong personality.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Miles is an absolute joy and totally wonderful to be around. He jumped in and volunteered for the cafe and was a wonderfully boisterous and hilarious presence throughout, and later on I sat on a few panels with him and attended a social with him as well. He’s loud, positive, supportive, and I could tell he was getting that SizeCon feeling of awesome, open love too. He started sharing more of himself, and was so full of laughter and smiles all weekend. He’s a special guy, and a vicious giant man for anyone looking for one of those.
I shuttled back and forth between my booth and a number of other panels and socials I was working throughout the day. “Socials,” by the way, were a smart addition to the events planned this year. Instead of a more traditional panel format, these were places where people could just sit down in a circle and have an open conversation about things they liked, and I think that really did a lot to break down some of the initial anxiety and uncertainty some may have had starting off. I helped facilitate a foot-focused social, a dark desires panel, and most exceptionally a trans/size social.
I can’t say enough how much of a thrill and joy it is to be in a space with people who’ve shared your experiences and desires. My first time presenting as femme was the first SizeCon, and I credit SizeCon, along with my absolutely incredible and supportive wife, for helping me get to the point where I’m fully out and myself in every aspect of my daily existence. I’d still never had the chance to sit down in a room with other trans, fluid and non-binary people and really talk about our experiences. One of the enduring elements of the event is the chance to stay in touch with all of those awesome people, to learn from them and support them with my own strength and history as well.
At some point Saturday evening during the convention, I began to alcohol. Gary Pranzo and I had interacted just a touch on Twitter and I admitted to being a little too nervous at previous events to really talk and say hi. So much of his work during the 90’s and early 2000’s was extremely important to a teenage me (especially Sandra’s Revenge and a few other early videos). I still didn’t get around to talking much, but we did share a huge hug (I’m told he gets like that after a few drinks) and spend some time at a little room party later that night.
It’s mostly unrelated, but don’t let his Twitter icon fool you. Gary’s a gorgeous guy, and when we were playing ARMS, he had absolute prize-fighter poise. He’s also another one of those incredibly generous souls. I noticed him inviting basically anyone at the Con who was interested to stop by his room for the two Vs–Vodka and VR.
Mabo, Owlizard, Alovera, and some others who I didn’t properly meet or am utterly failing at recalling their names (I was offered several drinks) spent some time in the room with a Super Nintendo emulator box, laughing and drinking and moving through Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and eventually spending far too much time realizing that Home Improvement is a shockingly playable platformer.
I forgot to mention IamFilledWithStatic! Her booth was right across from ours and right away I noticed she had an adorable Roadhog print displayed. My wife and I are huge Overwatch junkies, so one of the first things I did was pick up the print, a button, and ask if she did any other Overwatch art. I wound up commissioning a D.Va portrait (my wife’s favorite) to match the style of Roadhog so we could frame them and put them on the wall by our screens for when we play together. I’ll definitely be sharing them together once it’s all done, but aside from being super talented, she’s also incredibly sweet and I greatly enjoyed having her with me as a panelist a few times.
There’s a lot of blurred moments, of course. SizeCon is about love, acceptance and support above everything else, and I try my best to embody that in every moment. I hugged so, so many people throughout the weekend, and so many others took time out of their days to show their love for me, smile and share a bit of their lives and just be overall wonderful.
I had to miss the writers’ panel this year because it conflicted with my cafe, but my friends from previous years were still so wonderful to me. Anoka, Vicki, Mythical-Cupcake, we didn’t get a lot of time but it was still so special to see you.
While we were cleaning up, after Katelyn said goodbye and gave me another hug (so cool!), Morgana came by to say hello and started complimenting my style, which was incredibly validating because she’s just so freakin’ gorgeous and her outfits are fantastic. She asked if I had a business card or anything, and I totally failed to get some of those made. I was so emotional and overwhelmed by the end-of-con feelings that I just gave her my book because it has my name and website inside.
I closed out the weekend with a trip to a Korean barbecue spot with Taedis, Kreeyz, Aborigen, and a new friend James who’d been coming out of his shell and was wonderfully interactive in our panels, even stepping in to host a social in my absence when I showed up twenty minutes late. Somehow our Lyft driver accepted shoving five people into four seats as we shuttled off for Manhattan (I think?), and beer, barbecue and dumplings were enjoyed by all.
It took two hours and two different shuttles to get back to my car, an extra $22 in unexpected fees to get it back. By midnight I’d started the trip back home. I might have gotten six or seven hours of sleep during the entire weekend, so the journey was brutal and filled with many stops for power naps, snacks and drinks. Next year I’ll probably go back to taking the train, especially now that I’ve learned how swiftly you can grab a ride.
Despite this being grotesquely long and rambling, I’ve still left out so much. Grievance was such an amazing help. I left my VGA cord behind for the monitor I was using for a display at my booth and immediately he jumped into action, digging through his boxes of gadgets and eventually just setting me up with an entire monitor out of nowhere. He and Demora were great presences and both did so much to help make this year possible.
I mentioned GiantGripper briefly before, but good god, he was basically responsible for almost everything related to the cafes and he pulled them off brilliantly. Both this year and last he was a lot of fun and a great supportive presence for SizeCon as a whole.
I also barely mentioned Gomai, but you have to know that last year when we weren’t sure how we’d get a third SizeCon going, he stepped in and literally made everything happen, coordinating so many elements of a whole convention from all the way out on the other side of the country. He’s such a refined, positive, sharp individual, and we’re all so lucky to have him with us.
I know I’ve forgotten to mention people and events somehow through all of this. If I’ve left you out, know that I love you and I’m delighted for the time we shared. To the seven people who survived reading this whole thing, I love you too, and I’ll see you next year.
Shhhhh. Don’t make excuses. I’ll see you next year.