Image Courtesy of Mr. XPK
Steampunk allows all of us to be kids again, or at least kids at heart. We play dress up in our fanciest clothes, dance with abandon to the music, and slip into hundreds of different worlds when we read.
At our events, it’s fun and games, and a fair bit of food, along with laughter, connections, and friendships.
For some of us, though, behind all the genuine smiles, there remains challenges, pain, and even trauma. For those with such hidden influences, steampunk can be helpful, sometimes just as a diversion, and other times as therapy. Maybe it’s bringing people together to share those obstacles and know that we are not alone.
Steampunk is a passion for us that gets us moving and involved. Sometimes, our events provide a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment that lessens a person’s anxiety. It may give someone courage to step up and do something they ordinarily wouldn’t have tried. Open conversations and discussions may help people find their voice to express their thoughts and ideas.
When we get together, the creative atmosphere is palpable, an we can be amazed and inspired by seemingly the smallest of things. How was that pin made? Where did that fabric come from? Have you tried this tea? It’s a space where even the shyest person can shine in answering questions.
For myself, my rather long term interest in steampunk overrode the paralysis of personal traumatic loss. During a time when I wanted to hide in my home and never walk out the front door again, my interest in steampunk didn’t just burn brighter to make me look out the windows – it practically pushed me right out the door to a local event. The first Steamcon was being held practically in my backyard, so I had no excuse at all to not attend. Between working and heading right home afterward, I wasn’t all that accustomed anymore to large crowds, but walking into the convention hotel and seeing nearly 1,000 people, I may have been a tad overcome, but not by anxiety or panic, but something more akin to Jack Skellington’s response in seeing Santa’s village at the north pole. Once I was moving, re-engaging with the world, there was no stopping me, LOL! Airship Ambassador started just a few months later.
Each of us has our hidden, unspoken challenges, and it’s a bit unfair to judge someone else as they try to handle or overcome theirs. What we can do, to make life better, is to be available to others, to help as we can, each to our own abilities. As steampunks, we can lift each other up, we can shield and shelter, and can offer kindness and compassion.