Greetings and salutations, blog readers!
Today we are talking all about my recent trip to St. Louis for HalLudoween 2022.
I am unsure how to break this blogpost up, since I was there for 5 days, and HalLudoween was Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All in all, it was a VERY full weekend.
I guess starting from the beginning- I had every goal to vlog it.
But then between the takeoff on the plane, the arrival in St. Louis, everything…I kind of remembered…I prefer pictures and writing. I had this moment of realizing I don’t want to vlog.
I love vlogs, but don’t want to vlog everything, I want to take photos and write about it to remember. I wondered if this would change as I got to see/meet the band and so on.
Thursday night, I realized Monica wouldn’t get in till after soundcheck started Friday, so a Ludo fan I met, Scarlette, joined me for soundcheck, because I thought it would be nice to make sure someone got to enjoy it.
Scarlette called it a generous and eccentric gift, which is sort of my vibe.
So, after meeting various Ludo fans on Thursday (I spent much of Thursday watching fellow Ludo fans arrive at the hotel next to the venue) I treated myself to a bunch of self-care, including dinner alone, a rare treat, and then went to sleep. On Friday, I took Scarlette to soundcheck, and recorded everyone performing with the band for soundcheck, including one person who became a new friend, Steven. I met Steven and his girlfriend, Emilie, and let Steven know I had recorded his performance. Ryan, Steven’s best friend, also quickly became a friend, and before long we were becoming fast friends, more on this Saturday.
This was a cool thing, because honestly as amazing as the weekend was, meeting them was the highlight. It was also cool because in one of my favorite books, The Night Circus, which I reread every October, and had just finished on Friday morning before meeting them, my favorite character, Bailey, meets Poppet and Widget and the three instantly get along, (paraphrasing) ‘talking with the ease of old friends, with all the excitement of new friends and new stories’.
That is what it was like to meet and talk to Emilie, Steven and Ryan. We instantly got along well, conversation flowed peacefully, and quickly, I found a group of friends who I got along with, and who accepted me, even with all my anxieties and quirks, again, more on this later.
Friday was not as organized as one would have hoped, and after the sing along portion, the line for photos was so long, Monica, who had now arrived, and I opted to go grab a drink and to return for the concert in a little while.
We did this, joining our little group, and before long, were in the venue. Ludo was AMAZING, even if it was Emilie, Steven and Ryan’s turn to be backstage, and therefore we didn’t hang with them during the concert, they seemed to have a good time on Friday, and I know I had an awesome time, although anxiety was crushing me into a small ball.
Eventually, the concert was over, Monica returned to her hotel, and I returned to mine. Teddy, the bouncer for the hotel, and I chit chatted for a bit, which was delightful, he ended up being a familiar and calming presence for much of the trip, and it was almost as if he stood in as a safe friend to be around, before I got closer with my own group.
Looking back, it’s kind of cool how the universe works like that.
Just like that, Saturday came.
And Saturday was a day for ANXIETY.
- Editors break
I spoke to my friend Emilie, who I am much closer with now than I was on Friday and realized I would need more than one blog post, one for each night, and one for the tech alone, minimum, so, I will go back over my big takeaways from Friday, and then go from there. I will likely also need to post a blog all about my mental growth and epiphanies from having a nice self-care long weekend.
Big takeaways – I was able to take someone who only had tickets to Friday night’s concert, to sound check, and make a new friend, Scarlette, and I am very grateful for that opportunity. Shout out to Justin for allowing me to do so, I super appreciate it!
In fact, all of the shoutouts to Justin, because he was amazing, helpful in organizing everything and also in making sure it all ran smoothly, plus he had the coolest shirts ever.
Friday was a day for getting the hang of things, meeting a ton of new people, trying to remember names, wondering if I would ever find a place within this group. I was anxious, terrified, unsure, and deeply concerned I wouldn’t make any friends in the VIP group. I wanted so badly to find friends I could have year-round and meet up with for each Ludo concert and Friday had me wondering if I would find these people. Scarlette was interested in doing VIP next year, so I wondered if she would be one of my friends for the process.
During the concert, during Broken Bride specifically, I started worrying about Travis’s upcoming open-heart surgery, and in the emotional climax of the song, started feeling emotions I wasn’t prepared to feel.
I walked back to the hotel and was glad to find the bouncer/security officer for the hotel, Teddy, who had become something akin to a friend, who I had a pleasant conversation with. We talked about masking, being autistic, and how hard it was to fit in. Very on theme for my questions of finding friends who would accept me for me, but reminding me, I will not compromise who I am simply to be liked.
This, as it turns out, became a theme for the weekend.
So, make sure you are following and subscribed to the blog to catch the next and rest of the posts for HalLudoween, along with various photo dumps.
Thanks for reading,