Unplugging, Recharging, Updating – Undies Update Week of 3/29

I had to step away from social media for a bit this week. Unplugging is both a necessary and helpful thing for me when I feel swallowed by the anxiety and negativity others impart on me. For those of you who follow me, you’ve probably been privy to at least some of this negative wind garbage, and for that, I sincerely do apologize. This is the last I’m going to speak on the matter and I want to make sure I get absolutely everything off of my chest.

A good friend of mine, who happens to be a cosplayer and person I admire and trust, posted a status today that inspired this blog post. “If I cared about what people said about or to me as much as the rest of the cosplay community does, I would have killed myself by now.” This struck a chord with me completely. I won’t lie. These past few weeks have been by far the worst experience I’ve had with the local cosplay community as a whole. I’ve been so depressed and anxious, to the point that if I weren’t medicated and speaking to professionals, maybe I would have killed myself.

People may think the Internet is all cat pictures and dank memes, but the things I’ve seen about myself in the past two weeks on the Internet have both shocked and sickened me. I seriously laid in bed for about two days straight and sobbed, thinking about it. I was accused of perpetuating negativity, drama, and using my charity/activist endeavours to further my own gain.

I will say this much: I may overshare on the Internet. I only do this because I consider you guys my friends, and I want to be real with you. I’m also highly sensitive, and sometimes I react by posting or oversharing to an unprofessional point. I’m not saying this is right. I know that I have my issues. I’m not perfect. I’m a regular human. My defensive nature comes from years of bullying and mental abuse. When I feel threatened, my claws can come out. I know there are people I’ve hurt and pushed away that did not deserve it. For this, I am sorry. I can admit when I’m wrong.

However, to accuse me of things like “being fake” when I’m genuinely trying to reach out and mend a friendship or open up and share my feelings is sickening to me. How can you base your opinions of me off of the way I reacted to a situation in which I was treated SO poorly, I considered doing something drastic and harmful to myself? Clearly I was upset, my emotions were running high, and after being wronged time and time again by the same individual, I think I have the right to speak out and air my feelings without being accused of dumping my dirty laundry on people.

You don’t have to like me, or even believe me, but I’m a good person. I work hard to make connections in the convention community, not to further my own popularity or means, because this is not a job for me, but to try and help others so nobody has to feel the way I once did. Small, insignificant and alone. I want people to know that they can come to me with their problems and that I will be there for them. To spit on my charity work is also highly disrespectful to me. I was raised by a mother who always taught me to give back to my community in any way I can, and to share my talents for the good of others. I would NEVER use a charity event to further my own means.

To those of you who feel you need to “expose” me for the monster I am — I’m truly sorry you feel this way. If you have a problem with me, I really would like to talk it out with you and hear what you have to say. I guarantee you it’s either misinformation that has lead you to believe I’m this monstrous person, or a misunderstanding based off of how I’ve presented myself in the heat of these super emotional times. I’m willing to talk it out and, yes, even apologize if it calls for it. I’m many things– but unreasonable is not one of them.

For those of you who refuse to reach out and continue to hate on me, I’m choosing now to not let your words affect me. I feel sorry that you have this hatred or void in your hearts that causes you to not accept me. If you would take the time to get to know me, you would know I’m a compassionate person who just wants to make a good impression on this world. I could care less about my social standing — but I care about whether or not people think I’m a good person. Probably because of the aforementioned mental abuses I’ve had to endure that have made me believe otherwise for 3/4 of my life. I’ve worked so hard to love myself and it sucks that people would try and undo that just for their own sick gain.

Consider this a moratorium. I’m bidding adieu to the drama of [convention name redacted] and the people perpetuating this drama. I’m going to continue to hone my craft, to better myself in mind and body, and cosplay like there’s no tomorrow.

 

 

“Am I The Only Person Who’s Not Crazy?!” : The Distortion of the Cosplay Community

I know I’ve done a few blogs of this nature, such as my ‘Open Letter to the Cosplay Community’, but I felt a few things that I couldn’t express in any way besides blogging them out.  Let me paint you a quick picture of what my night was like last night. I sat on my couch, dazedly scrolling through Facebook while half-watching ‘Friends’ on Netflix, when I come across a post in a local cosplay group. I won’t state exactly what was going on in this thread, because I’m not trying to start issues or blow up anyone’s spot. But, to make a long story short, people were complaining about this one thing ad nauseum, and tempers started to flare. I sigh reflexively, prompting my boyfriend to ask me what was up, and I explained the day’s daily dose of drama. “Seriously, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m the only sane one in this community.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt the same way.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other people, maybe even in my area, who feel this way. People who probably contribute to this problem might even feel this way, but that’s another thing entirely I won’t get into. If you’ve noticed an overwhelming cloud of negativity in our community as of late; you’re probably correct. The cosplay community has become over saturated with people who seem to LOOK for something to complain about, who need their ego’s fed at all times, who silently judge people for this or that whilst pretending to be “body positive” and “there for everyone”.

I really do my best to stay positive. However, it’s really hard when it seems like everyone wants to bring you down. It really has me wondering where it is we went wrong, here. Conventions have been around since the 1970s, so I’m imagining that it has to be a combination of things that have lead to such a drastic change in temperament of the community.

The Mainstreaming of Geekdom 

Geekdom as a whole is way more mainstream than it has ever been. You could pick up your remote, scroll through the channels at a super fast pace, and I guarantee you that 75% of what you’ll see are things that would otherwise have been considered obscure (ex: SHIELD, Arrow, a Star Wars commercial) or “ew nerdy” five years ago. It seems nerd is in these days and of course that over saturation leads to unsavory people interjecting themselves into the community.

Rise of Social Media – Hunger for COSfame

I don’t know WHY this is even a thing, but shit like this takes the “play” right out of cosplay. People seem more concerned with numbers than they are about putting out quality work. Or about having fun. Sometimes people approach me acting like a friend and not-so-subtly drop the bomb that they wish they could achieve what I have or would like to be brought along to a con with me. And I’m sorry to say, that’s not how it works. You don’t ride on someone’s coattails. Especially not someone like me, who busts her ass and does PR/Promotional/Event Planning work for these conventions in exchange for being able to hold panels about issues I REALLY care about. It’s not for popularity and it’s not a game to me. I want to help people and deliver content that REALLY matters. My likes are higher than they were a year ago, or even a month ago, yes, but it’s a direct result of that aforementioned hard work. I don’t just have a magic recipe to gain popularity. If you want advice from a PR/Social Media standpoint, that’s another story. Just don’t use me as a stepping stone for your bullshit.

Models Turned Cosplayers

I stand by my belief that literally anyone can cosplay whenever. But now that it’s becoming more mainstream, and models are using cosplay as a “niche” to gain a following and to acquire jobs. Once again, this is great and I love that our community is growing. However, some asshats seem to think model=cosplayer and if we don’t fit that archetype, we don’t belong and aren’t as good. Even though I’m a signed plus sized model, the word “model” is synonymous  for skinny, buxom and curves that aren’t exactly realistic. We just need to remember that the idea of cosplay is that it encompasses many different people of all walks of life and all body types. No one body type is better than another and we are all beautiful, no matter what size or race. 

Competitive Cosplay

I’ve never really competed seriously to the degree that they showed on “Heroes of Cosplay”, since I’m more about the big picture and don’t care much for people diminishing the work of others just to make themselves feel big. I’ve judged plenty of times (and for those people who like to act like I don’t have the credentials to judge sewing or craftsmanship because I hate to sew: I have a B.A in Theatre and grew up with a mother who immersed me in theatre and great grandmother who knew how to sew/taught me how to sew. I just HATE TO DO IT and I am much more inclined to commission pieces like that. I am always honest and forthcoming about where my cosplays come from. My specialties are painting and prop making and makeup. Craftsmanship is more than just sewing. So for those who want to pick on me…stop.) and I always take care to judge critically but kindly. People work HARD and just because 3-4 judges like one cosplay the best, doesn’t diminish someone else’s craft. Lately it feels like people are making EVERYTHING competitive. I ask: why? Seriously. It was so much more fun when people didn’t have their noses upturned at every single person all the time. People could do with a dose of humility. Even if you’re the best in your little local bubble — performing/auditioning/singing has made me realize that even if you think you’re the best, there’s always someone better and always room for improvement. The same goes for cosplay. It’s a learning curve. Nobody just starts at an AMAZING level. We’ve all had to hone our skills. So, if you think you’re the shit, just remember where you came from, because I can assure you that your first cosplay probably wasn’t the best either.

Personal Notes: I feel like lately the messages of positivity myself and the other members of COSUnity have been falling on deaf ears. It makes me wonder what the fuck I’m doing if I’m not making a difference. I work so hard to make the community a positive place and it’s been feeling like I always get treated like shit and dragged through the mud. It’s really depressing. I won’t lie — through a lot of the recent drama, there have been times where it’s taken a huge toll on my well being. I feel so alone in this sometimes. I feel like people are constantly saying rude things about me. I’m so tired of defending myself. I do good things for this community but it almost feels like it’s never enough.

My plea to the community once more is to really reflect on yourselves and think about how your actions affect others. It’s really not okay to treat people wrongly and it’s sad that a hobby that was once an escape for me and many others is going to such shit.

Did I get all of the variables leading to the distortion of the cosplay community? Share with me your thoughts, please.

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Reflecting Back : Moving On and Moving Out

I said I’d be getting more personal with this blog, which may be a good or bad thing, I’m not sure, but I love writing and I’m doing this for me more than for my cosplay related stuff and to promote myself. I said in an earlier post that I keep journals regularly and I stumbled across an old entry dated March 2014, and realized that this week marks my 2nd year living here in Albany, NY.  It has honestly FLOWN by, I can’t believe I’ve lived upstate for two years. For those of you who don’t know, my “Just a Girl from Brooklyn” is more than a Captain America reference, I was born and raised there and have lived there for most of my life (barring my time in Orlando where I worked in the Disney College Program, but that’s a blog for another time, kids). What caused this spark and change in me to leave my childhood home? Well, I think all of that’s kind of way too personal for this blog, but let’s just say I had a need to get out of the city for my mental piece of mind.

Moving out of the city was honestly the best thing I’ve ever done.

People poke fun at me when I tell them I’m originally from Brooklyn, with the jabs ranging from “Ew, why?” to “Don’t you miss real pizza?” (The answer to the latter is YES, and is honestly the only thing besides family that I miss on a daily basis, but I digress.) But, I honestly love it here. People here don’t (usually) scare me, it’s much cleaner and actually affordable. But living at home until I got married just wasn’t for me. I knew I couldn’t do the long distance thing, from prior experience, it may work for others but it’s simply not for me. And when I first visited Albany and got to know what it was like in my boyfriend’s neck of the woods, I knew this is where I wanted to be. Chris and I discussed it and we thought, financially and all, that it wouldn’t make sense for us to have two separate apartments, and thought we could definitely make living together work.

The catch, and the thing that shocked most of my Brooklyn friends and family members, was at the time I’d moved up here, we were only together for 4 months at the time. Yes, it definitely widened some eyes, and perhaps 4 months is a bit too soon to move in with a significant other, but it just made the most logical and financial sense for both of us. I won’t lie: it was the furthest thing from easy. Coming to a place where I didn’t know ANYONE except those people I was introduced to by my boyfriend and his family (who, by the way, massive credit to them, because without them I wouldn’t have lasted two seconds without friends or a car)  was jarring in a sense. It hit me way later that I really didn’t have much of a life. I secured one job for myself, and at first, held a total of 3 jobs when I first came here, because I was really adamant about not receiving help from family, who at first, were not too happy about my choice to move in with someone who was kind of a stranger to them. And I don’t blame them for that in the slightest. It was pretty sudden of a move to them, but they did support the decision since they knew I would achieve the piece of mind I needed.

I would be lying if I said it was easy for me. It was a hard decision to make. But I knew I didn’t want to be that kid who relied on their parents for everything and I knew the only way I could figure out who I was as a person was to get out there on my own and experience new things. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brooklyn. I love my friends I have there but it just wasn’t enough for me to stay there. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford my own place and the job market out there was just really unwelcoming. Hard times financially took a toll and it was a hard rut to get out of. Add that on top of first apartment shopping, moving in with a significant other and getting used to living with a BOY…all huge changes.

A friend of mine recently brought up my move and asked how I did it…and the answer is, I’m really not sure. I don’t know how I managed to even survive. But I did, and I keep on surviving! When I look back to where I was when I started out here, and how my life is today, I’m honestly really proud of myself. Even with my anxiety issues I was able to push through and make this all work. Of course I had some help, but I’m so proud of the fact that I did something for myself. I spent so much of my life trying to please others and it was such an eye opening experience realizing that not EVERYTHING I do needs to be done with others in mind. I knew I was done driving myself crazy just so other people could have peace of mind. I deserved piece of mind and I’m honestly so lucky I got it.

Moral of the story kiddos: Change can be scary, but ultimately necessary in order to grow as a person. Even though I’ve made mistakes, I’m so glad I have support and that I live in a place where I can be free of the negativity of the past. I was given the opportunity to start over fresh and create the life I wanted for myself and I can honestly say I live a much happier life. Do YOU and make sure you’re living the life you want to be.

 

 

Undies Updates: Week of 3/13

I’ve decided it might be cool to update this weekly with kind of a recap of what I’ve been up to! I love journaling and keep my personal journal pretty up to date but I feel like I should open up more to my followers because a) it seems like there’s so many more of you now and b) I’m open about everything else, so why not? Besides, I really feel like I need to show you guys a side of me that’s more than just various costumes. I want you to be able to know the girl inside of them a little better.

Okay! So since Katsucon I feel like I’ve been moving non-stop in terms of costuming and conventions. Genericon totally creeped up on me…I really thought that I’d have such a huge gap after Katsu to prepare for it but I really underestimated how quickly it would come around. With the urging of two of my best friends in the cosplay scene locally, Jaye Cosplay and Comatose Cosplay, I entered a skit for Genericon, which yes, marked my first time competing in a skit category. I’ve done a few walk-ons at smaller contests but I’ve never really cared about competing. I don’t really like to sew and while I continue to build my craft, I’m more about giving panels, portraying characters and enjoying the big picture than getting caught up in the competitive side of cosplay. (And I mean, let’s be real, isn’t there enough competitiveness in the cosplay world?) But it seemed like competing in skit was all the fun parts about competing without any of the bullshit, so I was glad to do it, especially alongside two great cosplay pals. We didn’t win but I really felt as if people enjoyed our skit– lots of laughs and it was a ton of fun to do. If you want to watch it, you can click here and do that! I also acted as a human prop in my Fairy Godmother for Miss Ellie F Cosplay, one of my favorite cosplayers and people in general, who won first prize in the Youth Category for skit! Yay! I was also able to give two amazing panels and I had a great time giving both.

After Genericon was this weekend’s event, Syracuse PowerCon, where I was a cosplay guest and media guest with my people at Brotherhood of Evil Geeks. We had a blast there too. It’s been like, forever, since I’ve had to give a lecture/panel by myself so I was having a minor panic attack about it, but surprisingly, it went super smoothly! There should be video footage of it soon so I won’t spoil too much, but there were some adorable kiddos present who really made my day!

Personally, things have been looking up! I’ve got a pretty full schedule for conventions this year and I’m just counting my blessings. It’s kind of crazy that people want me at their events, and I feel like I’m actually making a difference in this community! It’s a great feeling to have. I’m working so hard to bring you guys content in terms of this site, my page, modeling and great panels. On top of that, I’m working on my education and hope that my GRE (Graduate Admissions Test) goes well and I can return to school in the fall! Fingers, toes, and other appendages crossed.

That’s it for this week! Hope you guys enjoyed this teensy glimpse into my life! Can’t wait for you guys to see what I’ve got coming up in terms of cosplay. <3