Cosplay Bullshit - The Final Word
Yes, there is a part three. This is the last part.
PART THREE: AND NOW, FOR SOME TRUTH MINUS THE BS.
So you've read about the some of the ass-backward attitudes people have towards cosplay . . . if you don't want to look at things that way, what is the alternative? Well, here are a few reminders for you to help you keep a healthy outlook. This is the stuff you might want to print out and post up somewhere, because from time to time you will get swallowed by the clamor of the BS and need to be reminded.
~ Everyone has to start somewhere. There's no shortcut to skill, and skill is a fair portion of everything you do, whether it's making costumes or making pottery. Be ready to make mistakes, because you will; but also know that they're a step towards getting better. Don't say "oh I'll never be that good"; you CAN be that good, if you're willing to work at it. Just be aware that it will take time, effort, and money. There is always frustration, but you can minimize it by keeping a good attitude and by not setting unreasonable goals for yourself. Any goal IS reachable, but you have to give yourself the chance. And don't doubt that your "cosplay idols" made a costume that didn't turn out so well at some point.
~ There is no "right way". There are no rules in cosplay (and ignore those who try to create them). Never be afraid to experiment and take risks; it's the only real way to learn. Don't let people tell you that you've done it "wrong"; that's a crock. This includes the idea that there are "right" and "wrong" characters to cosplay, for whatever set of reasons. If it's about how someone else makes costumes, then you should pay them to make you one and save yourself a lot of trouble. And if it's about who someone else thinks you should cosplay, why are YOU the one doing it? Cosplay is about being someone else, but that doesn't mean you can't still be proud of who you are and what makes you (and your costumes) unique.
~ Annoying people exist everywhere. This is basic common sense stuff. As nice as it would be if it were, cosplay is not a utopia, free from everything about the outside world. There are ALWAYS people with unhealthy attitudes, everywhere you go, and you will have to deal with them at some point. The quality of the costume does not determine the quality of the person. The upside of all this is that there are NICE people everywhere. Don't let the not-so-nice people scare you away from meeting the nice ones. A good attitude is the most valuable thing you can find in any community; hold on to yours, and you will find other people with one.
~ Cosplay is a created hobby celebrating created worlds; everything that happens within the community is a creation of the people there. There is no spoon. There is no cosplay community. It's a completely fluid fabrication; cosplay is the cosplayers, no more and no less. That means that your approach DOES make a difference; that any "celebrities" are something that happens because of coincidences of public opinion; and that any drama that occurs is in your power to dismiss as unimportant (though it is perhaps not something you can completely avoid, no matter your intentions to do so). You always have control over YOU unless you chose to relinquish it, and that is a lot more power than you may think.
~ Don't forget why you cosplay. Whatever that reason is, hold on to it, because it WILL be challenged one way or another. If it's about the character, don't let people sway you from that. If all you really care about is how many pics get taken of you, go for it. You may, however, find that some reasons are more sustainable and ultimately satisfying than others. But whatever it is that gets you the most out of your cosplay, don't let other people tell you what should make you happy.
~ FOR THE LOVE OF THE COSPLAY GODS HAVE FUN. This is a corollary to the above - no matter what you tell yourself about why you cosplay . . . as soon as you're not having FUN, it's time to STOP and evaluate what the realities are. Maybe you're just having a run of bad luck and a bad day. Then you've got to wrest some fun back from the jaws of defeat. Maybe you're feeling like there's too much pressure and you've wound up doing something you didn't really want to, and you need to back away from the so-called "community" for a while - don't agree to groups, don't compete, maybe don't even cosplay at cons for a while. Whatever you think it will take for you to get your head back in the right place and try again. And if you're still not having fun . . . do yourself a favor. There are a lot of other hobbies out there. Try anime music videos. Try fanfiction. Try stamp collecting. Try anything but something that's costing you time, money, and emotional energy and isn't enjoyable - because that is truly pointless.
~ Always ask yourself first and listen to yourself last. Don't feel that you *have* to do everything on your own or that help and support is bad. I think every cosplayer builds off the experiences and advice of others in some way. And don't assume that just because there are some bad apples in the big barrel of cosplayers that you have to be anti-social. Your opinion is the most important one of all. You may agree or disagree with all or some of what I've said. Don't take MY word for it any more than anyone else's. I can only tell you what conclusions I've reached from my experiences, and the approaches that have worked for me. Find out yourself. This is your hobby and your adventure - take it into your own hands and run with it!
AND ONE LAST WORD FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO SPEW THE BS . . .
Either get a life, or admit that you don't have one and get over yourself.
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