Haven’t updated in forever, but now I hope to keep up with this site with a new series I’d like to call “Cosplay Confessions.”
So a lot of times I’m asked the question, “How do you stay so confident?” There are a lot of things I can say in response. I can say how I have amazing friends, a wonderful partner, family, followers, and all sorts of people supporting me. I can go into how I’ve heard negative comments before cosplay, growing up as a black, plus sized geek, and how I added to the quote, unquote “weirdness” by coming out. But instead, I want to do something different.
I’m going to admit to some things.
The truth of the matter is that confidence isn’t a constant. We all can, and do, have bad days. Everyone has moments of insecurity, and I think it’s important to be honest about that. This is because I feel like people sometimes look at me and feel hopeless. They applaud my confidence, but then they look at themselves and feel like they’re doing something wrong because they haven’t felt that good about themselves. So, I’m here to tell you, that there are still things that get to me. I’m still bothered by things, still insecure at times, and have those moments of wanting to hide who I am. I want to tell you this because I think it’s important to show that I’m human, just like you, and I’m not on top of my game all the time. No one is, and that’s normal, and I hope by revealing my insecurities you’ll realize that you’re not alone in this.
So, here’s my first confession:
Cosplay Confession: Swimsuits and showing any skin
I love the water. I don’t actually know how to swim but I love the water. I love being in it and I could stay in a pool for a long period of time without a care in the world.
But I hate swimsuits.
I hate them and love them at the same time. I think they’re adorable, and love seeing this wave of plus sized ladies rocking two pieces. I think they’re gorgeous.
But my immediate thought when I see them is, “That’s cute, but I’m going to look ugly.”
I started thinking about this because I’ll be going to Colossalcon, a convention at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. I’ve seen pictures of this convention from past years and I absolutely love the swimsuit cosplay I see. There’s been some really neat swimsuit character interpretations to fit the waterpark setting, and everything I’ve heard about the convention is amazing and fun.
But swimsuits? My immediate thought is, “no.”
And I’ve worn them before, and have had this same “no” mantra in my head before going to a pool and having the fear dissolve somewhere in the water. But every time, without fail, when the thought of showing my skin comes up I freak out, and it’s not just swimsuits that make me feel that way. Even in my Mario dress, which is kneelength, I hesitated before I put it on. And I LOVE that dress, I think it’s really cute and it’s really comfortable but just the thought of showing my legs in any way left me feeling concerned about how I would look. This also happened with my Wonder Woman ballgown, because I wear a corset, and my Tiana dress, because my arms are out. I had this voice in my head telling me, “Don’t do this. You need to be covered, completely, because you’re fat. They’re going to make fun of you.” This has even happened in my everyday clothes, it took me forever to appreciate the wonders of a pencil skirt.
And, to be honest, I still hear that voice sometimes, even now, even after wearing these cosplays and skirts quite a few times, even after telling people to love themselves and not be afraid to show who they really are.
But this is about being honest, and honestly, sometimes, I’m still afraid.
How to deal with the fear
While I do have this fear with showing my skin in any way, I also think it’s important to try. While I did have this fear with these cosplays, I also really, really wanted to be these characters. I wanted to be Tiana. I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I wanted to be Mario. With Wonder Woman and Mario, I sketched the designs for the dresses myself. I wanted to wear what I had designed, I wanted it to be brought to life. So even if the fear was there, I focused on my desires to show off my work. So I went to my partner, like I always do, and she made the dresses I sketched. She helped me put them on and I stood in the mirror for a long time looking at myself.
The fear was gone.
I was so focused on bringing my work to life that when I saw that I had done just that, I couldn’t help but smile. Instead of being worried about what others would think, in that moment, in front of that mirror, I was happy. I was confident. I was me.
So when it came time to post pictures on my cosplay page and the fear started to creep back in, I focused on those positive feelings. I had sketched my own version of a character. I had sketched it in a way that I wanted. My partner made sure it would fit me right. She took all the measurements and put her heart into bringing my dresses to life. So when I started to feel that concern, I took a breath and remembered the positive feelings I felt in that mirror. Because nothing would ever take away from that moment where I felt like I was on top of the world.
How to deal with the backlash
I’m not going to pretend like I haven’t received my fair share of hate for the cosplays I’ve done. The honest truth about any sort of backlash you receive in anything you do is that it’s going to hurt. I’m not going to lie about that. While I do have my share of sassy comebacks, it does hurt. It has made me question whether or not I should keep cosplaying. But, once again, I took a breath and remembered the positives. But focusing on the positives is really hard to do, because hate is loud and resonates with us. It’s really easy to focus on nasty comments, and I’m guilty of doing this despite the amount of positive I have around me. The reason I’m saying this is because I think it’s important to be honest. I think it’s important to show that I’m human. I hurt, I question myself, and I stumble.
The trick is to keep going, at your own pace.
Some people are able to ignore hate. Some people are able to yell right back. Some people are able to have dazzling responses. But a lot of people will tell you that, no matter how grand their response is, the hate does, at least, sting. They’ll tell you that they remember feeling bad about themselves at some point, whether it was growing up, or whether it was yesterday. But what they do, and what I do, is keep going. I stumble, and even fall, and sit and contemplate whether or not I should ever post anything again, but then I look back and remember the positives. I remember how great I felt the first time I wore a cosplay. I remember how excited I was seeing it all come together. I remember the positive responses. I remember the love and support.
As Colossalcon draws nearer, I’m going to keep having these hesitant feelings about a swimsuit, but I have actually started sketching ideas for swimsuits because my desire to try it is bigger than the fear. I know, throughout the process, I’m going to shake my head, insist that I can’t do it, or insist that I bring some sort of long shirt to cover up the swimsuit, defeating the purpose of designing something to show to other people.
I’ll even hesitate in sharing this article because it’s admitting these feelings.
But I can’t deny the excitement I feel as I come up with another potential swimsuit idea, and I sketch it, color it in, and fawn over my idea. I can’t deny the desire to want to do this. I know I’m going to have that paranoid voice tell me not to do it, and warn me that someone is going to make fun of me and that I’ve been made fun of before. But that’s when confidence really works best: it gently calms that voice down and comforts it so you can smile and be your amazing self.