Why Cosplay Matters

Sometimes I don’t like being me. I’m sure everyone has felt this way at some point except narcissists except Trump. Sometimes I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see literally or figuratively. I wonder why I’ve ignored important responsibilities, or why I haven’t been better about keeping in touch with my friends from college, or why I haven’t finished a novel yet if I want to be a writer so badly. I tell myself I should be doing more to help the environment, and working harder in my teaching classes. I question if it really was out of my control that I needed to leave my job at Disneyworld or if I could have changed something by working harder. That there are 8th graders out there who are programming devices to help disabled friends communicate and there are probably 9 year olds helping cure cancer, so why haven’t I done anything important yet? Or at very least why haven’t I replied to that one email that’s been sitting in my inbox?

I worry a lot about what is means to be an adult, because for a long time I had the idea that adults know what they’re doing. I assumed that at some point I would be old enough to know what I’m doing. It hasn’t happened yet. I have even less idea what I’m doing now that I’m beyond the K-12 and college track, and this feeling of inadequacy eats at me. Why am I not a real adult who does adult things and lives an adult life? When will I get it together?

Like a lot of people the recent election has shaken me. If we’re taught that someone who is racist, sexist, and mean is a bad guy, then we’re left feeling like somehow the bad guy won. I’m scared. For my friends. For myself. For the people who have already been targeted in hate crimes since the election and will be targeted in the future. I’m scared for what this will mean for our country and for the progress that we had made. I’m scared by how embarrassed and ashamed I feel to be a citizen of a country who would elect someone who jokes about nuking other countries over possibly the most qualified presidential candidate we’ve ever had. There’s been almost nothing in my social media feeds or the news beyond the election and the protests and the hate crimes. The places I would normally turn to in order to be distracted by real world problems are no longer places of refuge.

Personal inadequacies and concern over world events is a perfect combo for lying awake late at night with thoughts dashing around your head. And then you sleep in late because you’re so tired from being up half the night, and then feel guilty for not getting up early and being productive.

Cosplay of Cinderella (2015) at Raleigh Comic Con 2016.

Cosplay is important. Everyone needs a way to get out of their own head sometimes, and for me, cosplay literally does that. I like dressing up because costumes are fun, but also because for a short while I don’t have to be me. This weekend I went to the North Carolina Comic Con. I dressed up both days, and on the second day I dressed up as Cinderella from the 2015 movie. We arrived at about 3:30 on Saturday and stayed until just before 11. We were only at the comic con for about seven hours, but for those seven hours the nagging doubts stayed away. I was around people who were excited just to be in a positive atmosphere celebrating things that they love. I got to pose for pictures so I could be part of people’s happy memories from Comic Con and play with little kids who were so happy to see Cinderella. For seven hours, I didn’t feel the incredible insecurities I usually have in social situations. I even stayed for part of the gala dance, and not only didn’t feel uncomfortable but had fun. As someone who only lasted 15 minutes at the single non quidditch college party I went to (aka the only party where I wasn’t surrounded by people I know), that’s saying something!

Cosplay of Cinderella (2015) at Raleigh Comic Con 2016.

For seven hours I was Cinderella, who wears a stunning ballgown and has perfect hair and is sweet and kind and brave. She reminds me of the type of person I want to be, even if I’m not there yet.

I know I’m lucky to be me, and I wouldn’t want to change who I am, but sometimes it’s nice to step into someone else’s glass slippers for a while.

Stay magical readers!

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