I'm sure you have noticed the decline of cosplay photos on my page.
Cosplay is a hobby, and for me, its not even something I personally do anymore. I crack open the cosplay closet every so often at events, but realistically, I don't have the energy or money to go to many events and get new costumes. I'd love to continue to dress up, especially as my dream cosplays, but conventions for me are more about having a booth and getting my artwork out there and meeting other artists.
I never felt like I fit in with the cosplay crowd, and a lot of them don't even talk to me anymore since I stopped attending conventions as an attendee. I don't know if it's me as a person, or because I didn't have time and money to dress up.
When I look at these photos, I see someone who is trying deseperately to fit in, make as many people happy as possible without any regard to her own happiness, and is dressing up for someone else. A majority of my costumes were picked because I was trying to impress someone, or I was apart of a group. I can say with confidence that my favourite costumes are ones I did just for fun, like Velma, Rose and Cherry. I truly enjoyed those characters and felt I could be them with little effort. I remember choosing costumes based on if the photographer liked that series or not. Did the person I was dating like a cartoon? Who is the character they like? Better be that then. Everyone likes being told they look nice, and because my self esteem was so low at that point that I honestly craved the positive feedback in an unhealthy way. I NEEDED this validation, but people weren't looking at me, they were looking at the character I was.
Because of this unhealthy mentality, I was taken advantage a lot of the time within the cosplay community. Money, time, emotions, and even physically. I shyed away from it when I found out that someone was using me for their own personal fetish, as I felt disgusting and angry. Finding my cosplay photos on other sites and seeing the gross comments people leave are so dehumanizing. Then to come here and find the same traffic and comments either from said sites or people sharing my username was just as bad.
I want to be an artist in a different way, and making new products and selling items that are personal to me is so thrilling. It's a happiness I cannot begin to explain. I only felt that way a few times while wearing cosplay. I was always too worried about being made fun of, finding a shitty candid photo of myself online, reading crappy comments on forums, if I looked pretty enough, the accuracy of the outfit, etc. I thought this was suppose to be fun? The amount of stress it gave me was wild. Like, just as bad as attending college for animation, which was sleepless nights and lots of crying. My costumes weren't even good for the amount of time and money I put into them.
I've been selling and donating my costumes for the past 4-5 years now, and I think it's time to just move on from these. Some photos I really enjoy and like, and might keep them up for now, but others just bring back such a sad time in my life.
Slowly, I have been trying to learn to love myself for who I am. Wear what I want, and look like how I want to. It's been an uphill battle for me, but I feel like I am finally coming to some sort of agreement with myself when it comes to self image. Will I dress up in the future? Probably. Will I keep attending conventions? Maybe not as much. Do I still love the art of cosplay? Absolutely.
I just felt like it was time to close this chapter.