I read a great piece in Lifehacker about cosplay and confidence this week. The writer, Eric, describes his gradual path into cosplaying at Dragoncon—and the contextual confidence it inspired. He started simple and went bigger each year, finding freedom and camaraderie in the experience.
I see cosplay and role play everywhere, and more each year. Even Renaissance Fair workers (mostly) seem to be having fun.
Dragoncon takes place annually right down the street from me. I almost always attend (with a full pass), but I have yet to cosplay. Each year I walk the floor and envy the thousands who go all in.
These beautiful souls work on their costuming for months (or days, or years) and spend the Labor Day weekend wearing a different personality. They make it look easy.
It’s not (for some of us).
Last Halloween, I spent hours making a pair of horns for a costuming attempt at Marko, a character from the brilliant graphic novel, Saga.
It took forever (i.e. several hours). I wore the horns and a wig out on Halloween night and got a few compliments. Didn’t look anything like the character, but I considered it a minor victory.
“Minor” being the operative word here. Halloween counts for nothing in the bravery department. It’s nationally sanctioned. Adults are legally required to become something else on October 31st.
That was a mere two months after Dcon, and I was still full of aspirational fervor. The partial Marko costume was to be the first step in a full-on cosplay for the coming year’s con.
The horns and wig sit on a shelf in my closet. All I need are some convincing prop ears and a coat to complete the look. The result wouldn’t be terribly authentic, but other cosplayers might recognize what I’m trying for. That would be a major victory.
Will I actually do it? Who knows.
A common sight at Dcon is the poor driver trapped behind an epic logjam of cosplaying pedestrians. They inch along, bewildered faces pressed up against the window, unable to comprehend the madness they happened into.
I’m certainly not the confused driver. But neither am I the committed cosplayer. I’m somewhere in the middle.
The daywalker: none of their strengths, all of their weaknesses.
It’s not purely a bravery issue. That plays a part, but I’ve put my weirdness out there before (this website, for example).
Apathy is a component. Putting together a decent cosplay takes time, resources, and effort. As a creative, I sometimes engage in self-destructive perfectionism. Make it amazing, or don’t make it at all. So if I don’t have weeks to commit to the project, the latter wins.
I wondered if writing this post might be cathartic in some way, maybe even shocking me into action. It could happen. But I don’t think my psyche works like that.
I often write about the implications of future sensory/brain mod tech. Maybe that’s the answer! I’ll just wait for a mind hack that can eliminate shyness and procrastination.
Empathy, too. Definitely getting rid of that annoying bastard.
How far away can we really be? Two years? Three?
Until then, I’ll tinker with my costuming, mingle with my betters at Dcon, and envy the real cosplayers.
Better than nothing, right?
Please, somebody say “right.”