Can’t Stop the Serenity: A Love Letter

The North Texas Browncoats are preparing to celebrate our 12th annual Can’t Stop the Serenity event! Since 2006, CSTS has raised over $1.2 million for Equality Now and a host of other charities. North Texas has raised over $71,000.00 of that total. That’s incredible!! And I wanted to take a moment to thank the folks who’ve made that possible…

All of the above is true. But this post, which started out as a standard promo spiel, turned into something more personal. I don’t post as often as I’d like to in the first place, and with everything else going on in my life, I almost never talk about why I’m here. Part of the reason, obviously, is the cause itself, but that’s a different post I’ll hopefully get to later this summer. Today, I want to talk about the other reason. That’s you. This might get a bit sentimental.

For anyone who’s not already aware, CSTS is entirely volunteer run. From the very top administrative levels to the newest local organizer, every hour involved in every event is donated out of love. That’s also incredible; for a fan run organization with no centralized funding to keep going for twelve years, and raise over $1,000,000 is a stunning achievement. It’s hard work though. It can be stressful and exhausting. Organizers worry about venue details, getting enough donations, sometimes getting enough attendance to even cover the rent. There are meetings to arrange, swag to designate, and complicated show schedules to figure out. Anything that goes wrong is your responsibility.* And for a non-stagey person like me, the pre-show jitters kick in about two weeks before the event. Every year during those final few weeks, I get cold feet and wonder what on Earth I’m doing, and why I keep putting myself in charge of things that scare me.

That’s where you come in. The cause is the primary reason for these events, of course, and every organizer is dedicated to it or we wouldn’t be here. But I also do it, this crew does it, for the people who show up. Those devoted attendees whose names I know so well, even if I don’t know the faces because I only see them in a whirlwind once a year. The new names that show up in the ticket spreadsheet for the first time. The ones who show up in costumes and geek shirts and great big smiles, to make the magic happen.

By the time the event actually rolls around, I don’t have time to be nervous anymore. I arrive in the morning with a clipboard full of notes and by the time everything is set up, it’s too late to be scared; Matt is already welcoming the first arrivals. And I realize there was never anything to worry about because this phenomenal crew knows their stuff so well. And I see all these people milling around, so excited and generous and happy to be there. And I know. It’s not just for the cause, although Equality Now is a tremendously important one. We do it because this incredible bunch of people comes back year after year, with hearts full of love and enthusiasm for Serenity and all she stands for. Your support, your trust, and your love are what have kept us in the air for twelve years, and give (some of) us the courage to keep flying.

To everyone planning to attend this year, and to all those who’ve attended in the past: thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your support.

*To everyone who attended the infamous Event Where Everything Went Wrong in 2012 and showed up again the next year: thank you. That’s what I’m talking about.

To every donor and sponsor, past or present: thank you for your incredible generosity.

To our current, remarkable and devoted Crew: thank you for your tireless commitment. None of these last several events would have been possible without your dedication.

To my predecessors and their crews: thank you for building this event in the first place. CSTS North Texas only exists because you started it.

To every Global Team member and Local Organizer who’s ever dedicated their time to making Can’t Stop the Serenity a worldwide force for equality: thank you for the boundless inspiration that CSTS has been to me.

And to Equality Now: thank you for doing the real work.

Can’t Stop the Serenity was my first experience with fan activism, and it’s taught me many things: all the lyrics to Dr. Horrible, still too soon for Wash jokes, you can’t stop that signal, and everybody loves a cunning hat! More importantly, it’s taught me a great deal about what I’m capable of, about what individuals can do when they come together, and about the overwhelming generosity and kindness of the geek community. Love keeps us in the air when we ought to fall down. All of us: crews, families, fandoms, and communities. Hell, maybe spaceships too. It’s certainly what keeps me going, and you are all of those things to me. Except the spaceship. You make it worth the work, worth facing down the jitters. Your happiness and support are what move my fingers in the spring when I fill out the registration form. Anyone can run a CSTS event. You’re the reason I’m still doing it. Thank you sincerely for the privilege. It’s truly an honor to be able bring those smiles to your faces.

Browncoats, I salute you. And I love you guys.