Did I go to a convention or just hang out with some really cool people this past weekend? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself ever since NerdCon: Stories ended.

It was a weekend full of inspiration, laughter, thoughtfulness, and nonsense all rolled into one. At one moment we were forming a cult dedicated to guacamole (#guacanati) led by M.T. Anderson and the next moment Dylan Marron was challenging us about racism. The content at NerdCon: Stories was filled with a rich nuance that is, admittedly, sometimes easy to forget exists in our daily routines.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing about NerdCon was that everyone was overwhelmingly focused on that type of content and genuine interaction instead of taking selfies with famous people. Don’t get me wrong: taking selfies with famous people is not inherently a bad thing. But when 2,700 people gather in a physical space in order to tell and hear stories, there is a certain level of fulfillment you get that just can’t be accomplished by taking a picture with someone just because they’re a celebrity.

NerdCon: Stories was a story in itself that was being written by every attendee, featured guest, volunteer, and staff member who was present. To me, this is the story that we collectively told by the end of the weekend: we are all human, we all matter, we need to tell our stories, and we need to listen to each other’s stories.