Cosplay is one of those hobbies that’s cited as “cool weird” (at least by my family and coworkers!). It’s becoming more popular, more noticable and more widely accepted as a hobby. Yet, we still struggle with accepting ourselves for what we do, how we look when in cosplay and the activities we engage in.
I’ve written a lot about finding confidence in cosplay, mostly in regards to skill level and creation. But it’s equally important to love yourself in and out of cosplay. I’ve been doing this for 5 years now, and I can tell you that I don’t always love what I see. I nitpick at how I look, how my body looks and how my face looks in pictures. There’s so many things about me that will never be perfect - I think it’s important to realize that perfection doesn’t equal success or happiness.
This month I’ve been evaluating myself. I wonder if I’m falling behind. I feel like I’m not improving at all. I look at my photoshoots and see someone who isn’t suited to this - my face isn’t a good shape, I’m not expressive enough, I’ve gained weight etc. I moved this summer and my craft room has been a mess. I haven’t had the time to work on even small things and accessories. I don’t have a computer of my own so I can’t design anything like I would like to.
I don’t have a lot of time or a lot of money to put toward cosplay. I’ve completed 2 cosplays (Sailor Venus and Punk Venus) this year and 2 props - and I don’t like most of them. I’ve been in a rut all year and I’m starting to come out of it. But I’m coming out of it in a negative way. I’m seeing how much I missed out on by not keeping up. I’ve found myself latching onto our most recent idea and constantly asking if what I’m doing is good enough. Trying to make something new after so long is a huge struggle, but it’s a struggle I want to overcome. I love what we do in MTA and I love going to cons and bringing characters to life. So, I’m trying hard to push aside the waves of emotions and self doubt that make life harder every day.
I always have so many ideas and plans and then something happens and I need to back down for a while. Backing down on my promises to my friends sucks. But I do know that it is OK to be selfish sometimes. When your mental health isn't at its best, if you're in a tough situation- it is OK to focus on yourself. Cosplay is incredibly fun and I love it so much I want to cry sometimes because it makes me so happy. I've met incredible friends and we have so much planned together. But it can't dictate our lives when we need to focus on other things to make sure we’re staying afloat in real life.
On Labor Day weekend Mermaid Child, Tacocat and myself went to San Japan in San Antonio. We debuted our Punk Sailor Scouts on that Sunday and did a photoshoot at an abandoned building near the convention center. It was very out of my element. I’ve always wanted to do a Punk Venus, I started her a year ago. I love rock music and concerts and my Punk Venus is a manifestation of that part of myself. But the photoshoot caught me off guard in terms of a personality I’m not used to. I knew I looked great but I had trouble bringing out the ‘sexy’ and ‘badass’ parts of my personality for the character. All I could think was “I must look so awkward. How does this look? Am I even doing this right.” I laughed outright for a lot of the shoot because I don’t really know how to be sexy. Every now and then during the shoot our photographer would show us the previews on his camera and WE LOOKED AMAZING. Seeing those photos really made me see that we all have insecurities, but not everyone sees them. It felt exhilarating to do something different that I wouldn't normally be comfortable with and end up loving the final product.
As someone who strives to spread positivity in this community, I believe it’s important for us to love ourselves. Instead of comparing ourselves to each other on Instagram, we should be pushing our own boundaries and finding new confidence within ourselves. We gain nothing by being mean to ourselves and seeing ourselves in a negative light. My challenge to anyone reading is this:
Look in a mirror. But REALLY look. See your face shape, your eyes and the way they sparkle. Look at yourself the way the people who love you look at you. Your smile, the way your hair sits and how the light catches a shine. Look at your body and love every part of it.
Give yourself time every day for YOURSELF. To appreciate yourself. To listen to your favorite music or drink some wine with a good movie. Take a break from your daily necessities and breathe deep. Give yourself a chance to love yourself every day.
We’re in this world to be happy and do something that we love and enjoy. If we spend our time staring at someone who’s “prettier” and “thinner” and “better” and wishing we were more like that we will never be able to grow. Confidence is sexy. Pouring yourself into something you’re passionate about is sexy. If you give yourself a chance to love the person you are - inside and out - you’re bound to grow from that and start creating things you truly feel proud of.