I have severe anxiety which makes it hard not only for me to get out of the house at times, but to find friends and interact with others as well. Even with my anxiety, I am super passionate about cosplaying as when I do it, I find I have a much easier time being around large crowds and don’t feel like a sore thumb that sticks out no matter what, especially given that I have a tendency to wear clothing that is not necessarily “normal” or necessarily “socially acceptable.”
At this point, my hubby has driven us and a friend to Wisconsin to go to the Ren Faire there and I had spent the month beforehand sewing an outfit to wear. I am worried about how it will go as I don’t do well around large crowds usually. Not only that, but the last time I had cosplayed/dressed up in such a way was four years prior before my diagnosis of anxiety. The entire time, though, I am getting compliments on my outfit. Not only that, but I actually got a high five from one of the performers when he found out I had made my own outfit!
Not once did I feel judged or worry about what others might think of what I was wearing at the time. It was a huge confidence boost and has made me feel more secure with my clothing choices. Now I’m going to three conventions this year with all new outfits that i have sewn since and I’m actually looking forward to being around large crowds for the first time in years!
Cosplay Makes My Day
I occasionally work at conventions for a local gaming store when they need a few extra hands. It’s been a long day and the dealer’s room has just closed, but the convention itself is still going strong. All of my coworkers have gone off to meet other friends, and I’m feeling a little lonely since I’m spending the weekend away from my fiancée. I decide to walk around the convention a little anyway and then sit down on a bench to play with my 3DS.
Since this is an anime and gaming convention, there are tons of cosplayers everywhere. The convention centre is in the downtown, and sometimes you’ll see ‘convention tourists,’ or people who obviously know nothing about the convention but are gawking at all the strange costumes. I’m dressed all in black and red, with a long black hooded cloak, heavy combat boots, devil’s horns and black lipstick, and I probably look pretty intimidating.
Suddenly there’s a tug on my cloak, and I look up from my game to see a little boy about four years old beaming at me. He says something in French I don’t understand just as his father catches up, smiling sheepishly. His father says the boy wants his picture taken with me. Of course I say yes, and the boy crawls right into my lap, still beaming, so his dad can take a picture. Then he thanks me, and off they go.
I was dressed as an obscure character from a popular web-comic. There’s no way either father or son actually knew who I was dressed as. I have no idea why the little boy decided the girl in the dark cloak and demon horns was the one he wanted a photo with, but it was the highlight of my weekend!
(I’m chatting online with a good friend whom I’ve only met in person once, although we do communicate daily. She’s been telling me about a recent trip to Orlando, Florida and how much she loved it and wants to go back. We are both huge Harry Potter fans.)
Friend: “So, I might have to take a week-long vacation in February because I’ll have four weeks-ish of time saved by then and it’s use it or lose it come April 1st. So I was thinking… of taking you to Hogwarts for a few days. What do you say? I’m 95% sure I can bankroll the whole thing.”
Me: “That sounds awesome, actually.”
(At first I think our plotting is more wishful thinking than reality. With the high cost of a week-long vacation I think it’s too much for my friend to afford. But as we discuss the logistics of such an adventure I realize she’s completely serious. Before I know it everything’s booked.)
Friend: “I’ll buy you your [interactive] wand, too.”
(I make sure to thank my friend profusely. I’ve been unemployed for several years (despite efforts to find work) so I don’t have much cash for expensive trips. If not for her massive generosity in “kidnapping” me I’d likely never get to visit Hogwarts.)
(While taking a printing class in college, I screen-print a black hoodie with the “N7” logo of a popular video game franchise. It quickly becomes one of my favorite hoodies to wear.)
Cashier: “I’ll take whoever’s next!” *sees my hoodie* “Oh my gosh, that. Is. Awesome. Where did you get that?”
Me: “I’m an art student… I made it.”
Cashier: “That’s so awesome!”
(The transaction continues as normal until:)
Cashier: “Here’s your receipt. Thank you for shopping with us, Commander Shepard!”
Me: “And thank YOU. This IS my favorite store on the Citadel!”
(I’m a field service tech working on one of the older model self-checkout registers in large grocery store – it isn’t dispensing change. The whole machine is open and a little boy of about eight or nine is watching me, seemingly fascinated by the gears and pumps. His father is nearby; they are waiting for the next register to clear up.)
Me: *smile at the boy*
Boy: “What’s wrong with it?”
Me: “It’s not giving out change.”
Boy: *frowns for a couple of seconds then opens his eyes wide* “Check the hyperdrive!”
Me: *smiling* “Hyperdrives only work on starships, kid.” *referencing Han Solo calling Luke that*
Boy: “Oh… have you ever worked on one?”
Me: *chuckling* “I have one in my garage.”
Father: *chimes in* “Is it a Corellian YT-1300 like Han Solo has?”
Boy: *eyebrows shooting up to his hairline* “Dad, you’re cool!”
Me & Father: “Rebel Alliance!”