Change of Plans – PAX:Unplugged 2021

This comes with a heavy heart and enough stress and anxiety to make my stomach twist up in knots. I will not be attending Pax: Unplugged.

In 2019, I went to my very first convention: D&D Live 2019, and had a BLAST. It did wonders for my career, my networking, opened doors I didn’t know existed – it was great. Then, that December, Pax Unplugged brought another wave of magic, slingshotting my career forward by two or more years, at least, and I got to make some memories with dear, sweet friends.

But 2021 is a far cry from 2019 – a completely different world with 5 Million fewer people in it… 250 million+ lives changed forever. It’s a heavy toll and I’m feeling it in full force as the deadlines approach for Pax Unplugged.

The disabled community, chronic illness community (of which I’ve been a part for the past year), and immunocompromised communities have, rightly, exploded with pleas for able-bodied people to PLEASE remember we are in a deadly pandemic still, and we’d be foolish not to listen.

My situation

Me? I’m twice vaccinated, boostered, and keep up to date on the majority of Covid related news. I was offered a Media pass for Pax Unplugged (giving me access to the show floor early, space to interview and photograph people and products, and more), and invited on my first ever panel with some dear friends and peers. I even had a flight attendant offer their own “buddy pass” to get me to Philidelphia for $80 round trip and a company earmarked a hotel room at the convention center just for me! The stars seemed to align perfectly.

I’ve been OVER THE MOON to see companies reaching out to me, specifically, and people planning their trips around my presence – showing excitement to see and interact with me. It has felt like a warm blanket after two straight years of self isolation.

I don’t have a “bubble” or personal care network. No family lives here, my only friends are the most busy people I have ever known, so 329 days out of the past year I have been inside this apartment, alone. The idea of PAX: Unplugged and the incredible BOUNTY of opportunity it presents makes me want to sob at this very moment.

But I cannot go. If I even inadvertently hurt someone, anyone, for my career or my friends or my network, I would feel completely shattered for the rest of my life. Even if I’m safe, others are not, and asking me to “not” do something is about as easy a request as can be requested.

What This Means for DTD?

DropTheDie, particularly this website, has been put on the back burner all year as a TIDAL WAVE of work has washed into my lap. Layout, editing, writing, short fiction commissions, product consultations, narrative consultations – it’s eaten up my time and taken focus away from my own productions and website.

PAX: Unplugged was going to be a huge part of judging if DropTheDie should remain as it is, dissolve completely, or rebrand into something new. Now that PAX:U is off the table, those decisions will need to be postponed until 2022. And as I write this I think… I think I’m going to try to plan or host a small workshop for my peers to talk about our careers and get feedback on what exactly it is we’re doing.

As for YOU, dear reader, I only ask that you bear with me. I feel like I’m letting down dozens of people. I had hoped my coverage of the convention would have made people feel less left out by their inability to go. The hope was to be helpful, and I’ve spent so long tearing my hair out over this decision, I’ve been no help to anyone.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Be safe out there.

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