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How Cosplay Saved My Life

I have suffered from depression my entire life and for many years it seemed like there was no way to escape this pit of darkness. It was as if I was walking through a tunnel and no matter how hard I ran there was no light at the end. That was until I found a beacon of hope in the form of cosplay.

Before:

Depressed/ Lack of purpose of life

  • I have been in school for about 6 – 7 years (so am I super-duper senior?) and I still have a few years left to fulfill all my credits. But watching all my friends from high school move on with their lives; graduate college, move away, get their dream job and get married has been so hard to do. I want to succeed too and be someone.
  • Depression is typically found in the form of not wanting to do something but in this case I did want to do something I just didn’t know what. My head was mixed with every emotion possible and it wasn’t until I took a step back that I was able to find what truly makes me happy.

Mental Breakdowns

  • There was anxiety built in with watching everyone move past me and do something with their lives. Even those who were younger than me had suddenly figured everything out while I was still at this cross road.

Losing Interest

  • I lost interest in many things which included meals and spent all day sleeping

Introvert/ no social life

  • I grew apart from everyone because I was ashamed that I was so behind. There was nowhere that I felt I could fit into; I was lost.

It was Instagram that first sparked my interest; one of my high school friends begged me to get an account so we could keep in touch. My feed was pretty empty except for a few friends and people who I had gone to school with. KitKat* was a girl who I had known from elementary school who apparently had made it pretty big in the cosplay world (to the point where she made a career out of it). All she used were her crafting skills and inspiration to create amazing looks that matched popular anime and comic book characters. I realized I could do this too; as an ex fashion major I knew basic sewing and was a quick learner. From there I was able to create some of my first cosplays.

(My first cosplay from October 2015. I dressed up as Ariel from the Little Mermaid using a white skirt I cinched at the waist as a dress [meant to be similar to the tarp she found lying on the beach] and a brown belt.)

After:

Gives me purpose

  • So my first cosplay was a white skirt, a $60 red wig, some cheap star fish jewelry from eBAY and a brown belt defiantly not winning any awards for creativity with this one. However it was fun to change my appearance and though the wig kept slipping off I felt renewed with a new purpose in myself. I had worn this costume for a pride event and instead of being the wallflower I always seem to be I ended up splitting off with a small group to go to Towers. From then on I knew I had hit gold.
  • Finally I had a purpose in my life and something to look forward too; cosplaying and conventions. And the feeling when people came up to me to take photos with me, one word- amazing!

(Within an hour of entering the convention a young girl dressed as Lucy Heartfilia [Fairy Tail] wanted to take a photo with me [as Erza Scarlet])

Self confidence

  • As a wallflower or just someone who seems to have been invisible my entire life it has been a game changer having people come up to me. Not only to compliment me one my cosplays (majority had been made by myself). But also have people know what anime I am talking about and help promote me whether on Youtube, Instagram or my Patreon.

(This is my favorite cosplay from Anime Boston 2016 this dress was based off a pattern that I had altered myself and the tattoo was made from liquid eyeliner. I also used gothic white makeup to pale my skin and cover any blemishes. My best cosplay by far. Juvia Lockser with her Gray-Sama [Fairy Tail])

Taking care of myself

  • Proper diet
    • It is very important I learned to eat correctly when you are standing around at cons and taking photos with other cosplayers. Of course as a dietetics major I know this all too well but that is not the point here. When your body is starved whether in nutrients or just water it does not function as it should and conventions tend to be crowded and way too over heated. And all that walking can be hell if you are not in pristine condition!
  • Exercise
    • I am a bit of a perfectionist and have been trying to get fit to look better in cosplays (especially as a sailor senshi). Hey exercise is good for you and if the only way I can convince myself to hit the gym is so I can pull off the mini skirt  why not?
  • Assure of proper stamina (without it you won’t survive the cosplay world)
    • Between carrying around all your loot, running to the next panel and stopping to pose for people it can be exhausting!
  • Proper amount of sleep
    • It’s not just beauty sleep you need to focus on but also enough sleep that the hordes of people don’t make you angry. Why does everyone have to push at conventions and who is not wearing deodorant?
  • Learn to love myself
    • I have had issues with my body; I don’t fit ‘Hollywood’ standards but I feel like am one with anime. Because anyone can cosplay!
  • Expressing my creativity
    • Creating art has been a new outlet for me and helps me focus on the positives in life!

(Cosplay progress for an updated Sailor Neptune!)

Being part of the cosplay community has made my life more bearable. Through cosplay I have made friends and experienced more joy than I have had in ages.

(Juvia Locksers at Anime Boston 2016 [I am on the left].)

Cosplay may not be for everyone but I feel there is something out there for everyone! It can be hard to graduate in four years so don’t feel ashamed. Find your passion and stay true to you!

*Name has been changed to keep their identity secret

I am an avid cat lover, aspiring dietition and anime fanatic!A super senior at FSU with a major in dietetics and a minor in psychology and fashion design.
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