I recently decided to take a break from all cosplay related social media. Meaning I deleted IG from my phone and have no posts or contact with my cosplay Facebook. I know this is common for people and I do think there’s a lot of benefits in doing it! At first I felt like I owed my followers an explanation for my decision. As if I needed to justify my actions even though it doesn’t make an impact on anyone but myself. I wrote up a post but decided not to share it. I don’t owe anything to anyone I realized. I owe myself the opportunity to find my spark again.
First thing to know is that I have horrific habit of convincing myself of things that aren’t true. When I say this, I mean that I constantly question if my friends are telling me the truth about my cosplay. If I make something I’m proud of (or not) and people tell me they love it, I doubt their sincerity. Even though there is NO cause for me to doubt them. I just do. I’ve always done that to myself in every aspect of my life. So when I share progress photos of what I’m working on and even when I see our final products, I doubt all of the kind and positive feedback I get from the team, family, friends, followers etc.
When I’m on Instagram and I’m seeing the incredible things people are doing, I find myself comparing myself to them. I look at what they do and see my mediocre attempts in comparison and get frustrated. I’m not growing as much as I wanted to. My cosplays are deeply flawed compared to the cool stuff I see and compared to the friends I work closely with. I never feel like my work is good enough or worthy enough of what we do in MTA.
On top all of all that, my time and dedication to cosplay has dramatically decreased. My mom is recovering from a lot of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for lung cancer and several tumors she had in her brain. My mental capacity for anything other than my family has been so small and cosplay was thrown to the side so I could focus on the important events in my life. Taking the time to focus on yourself is so important and I haven’t done it enough. My break from SM was overdue and much needed to give myself from breathing room away from the negativity I was causing myself.
I’ve written a post before about finding positivity in cosplay and gaining confidence. I must admit I write a lot of those posts to help myself as much as I hope it helps all my readers. By taking a break from seeing people better than myself, I can focus on the accomplishments I do achieve. It’s really important to me that I continue to love cosplay. Instagram makes me feel pressured to always have new content or to post interesting things. When really I just love what we do - I don’t care much for the ‘likes’ from everyone else. I just want to share our wild ideas and antics with the cosplay community. It’s awfully hard to enjoy something when you feel pressured to make it amazing. I’d much rather work my own pace on my own time with our team and produce content we can be proud of - regardless of our differences in skill level.
I came back from my break mid March. So I was inactive for 3 months. In those 3 months I spent so much more time with the people in my life! I spent more time talking and visiting with family. I spent way less time feeling inadequate because I hadn’t made anything new. My mentality toward cosplay became less toxic and more exciting! I have a better understanding now of who I am. I don’t care about how much interaction my posts get or how my cosplay compares to others. I’m just happy to do what I love and share that with other people.
Overall, I learned that social media is always there. It’s a great resource for interacting with people who are your passions. But bending over backwards to please a bunch of random people is pointless. I can post what I want and be proud of what little pieces I can get done. My life is my own and I’m using my time for my family for the foreseeable future. My break may be over but my time for focus on cosplay is still limited. And that’s OK!
It’s OK to focus on yourself. Mental health is super important and giving yourself a chance to relax is totally fine. Please never feel obliged to push yourself over your limit for someone else. Or for social media. Your life is way more important than your costume.