While the event is still going on as I write this, for me, TES Fest 2016 comes to a close. This was my second time TES Fest, and it was a meaningful one.
I had the opportunity to meet and play with someone who I'd only talked to online. This was a good reminder that not only in the peoplein the scene awesome, but they're also less scary and more approachable than I thought.
Similarly, I was in a circle of all cis male doms, all in their 30s, 40s and above, and each and every one of them talked about anxiety in approaching someone for play, or escalating with someone from a friend to someone to play with. I learned that those big strong domly doms are just like me.
I learned that I although I do an enormous amount of introspection that often this introspection isn't directed towards my goals and that if I want to be really happy, I should take that effort and use it in ways that will lead to me being happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
I DMed the Dark Day Care and learned that Littles are fucking loud! And mean! But I also learned that even though I'm highly noise sensitive (to the point of physical pain) that I can plow through when it's necessary and get the job done.
I helped someone close to me navigate play in new ways, and was reminded thats some of the qualities that I admire in myself which some do not always think about in association with domiliness, such as caring and concern, if married with strength and calm, are the exact qualities which make me a great dom.
I watched some very intense play, both in the dungeon and in class. I learned that friends of mine who I thought were invulnerable are not- that they too have health issues and vulnerabilities which affect and limit the amount and types of play they can engage in.
I watched two people I like and care a lot about go through a collaring ceremony and I was reminded just how much those two people mean to me, and by extension just how much this whole community means to me, and how it's grown to mean so much to me in such a very short time.
All in all, TES Fest is a lot of fun. I played and saw play. I bought cool stuff from the dungeon. But what really draws me to TES Fest isn't the fest, it's the TES. It's the incredible, wonderful, amazing people who are part of this community- the people who are dedicated to communication, to meaningful, wonderful connections, and to really not only improving their play but also improving themselves.
I can't thank the TES crew enough for the work they've done in putting together this amazing event.