Reflections on Cosplaying : Undies Update 6/28

So, if you’ve been following my page for a little bit, you may have noticed I’m winding down on the cosplay front lately. I honestly didn’t realize this myself until a good friend of mine messaged me and said “you seem like you’re over the whole cosplay thing, lately, are you okay?” And she’s not wrong. I am kind of over it lately. If you’ve been following me since March you’ve seen first hand, my interactions with [the con that shall not be named] and certain individuals in this community, you might think, well, it’s no wonder that I don’t want to do this as much anymore.

But I mean when I say I refuse to let people steal my joy. And to spit on cosplay as a hobby isn’t fair at all. Cosplay isn’t the problem, it’s certain individuals that are the problem. I can honestly say if not for this hobby…if not for the cosplay community, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today, right here, at this very minute.

I remember in 3rd grade, being on Weight Watchers with my mother. Kids in my class were calling me fat, and I didn’t want to give them any ammunition. I followed the diet, went to the meetings, and thought that this was normal. It’s really not. I had always had a very negative self image. I remember one girl in my class, we’ll call her C, was ALWAYS picking on me. If it wasn’t my looks, it was the way I spoke, the way I sat, the way my headband looked in my hair, whatever she could use to tear me down. I remember having a crush on a boy in my grade, in 4th or 5th grade, he used me for my kindness and made fun of me behind my back. And the insults were all the same. Fat, ugly, annoying. She can’t wear a two piece swimsuit to the pool party, she’s too chunky.

Their words replayed in my head well after I’d left elementary school and remained there throughout junior high and high school. I also remember saying to my mother, “Nobody will ever want to be with me, I’m way too ugly.” She assured me I wasn’t, that I was beautiful. “You’re just saying that because you’re my mother.” I remember replying. I sincerely believed it. In high school, mind you, I wasn’t even anywhere close to the weight I am now. I was probably BARELY plus sized, breasts aside. Even those caused me problems, unwanted comments from teachers, relatives, and boys at school made me want to crawl into a hole and die. I even tried to hide the fact that I had breasts by wearing boyish, baggy clothes, and doubling up on sports bras. I thought my body was something to be ashamed of.

Now here I am, modeling for a bunch of photographers, posing for shots at conventions, and being invited places to speak about my journey to self acceptance. If you’d told me, this insecure, depressed and image obsessed girl, that this is what I’d be doing right now, I’d probably have laughed right in your face. But here we are, nonetheless. “You have to get lost before you find yourself”, may seem like a cheesy, Hallmark quote but it couldn’t be more true in my case. Cosplaying, and being able to dress in costumes of characters that I know and love, has gotten me so far out of my comfort zone as far as how I dress and what I wear in my daily life.

While going to cons is fun and I enjoy meeting new people, I really feel like my goal next year needs to change. What I really love to do is to get content out there for you all to see. These blog posts, other writings and reviews, speaking on panels, managing things with C-Mart over at EvilGeeks.com, that’s what I really love doing. Cosplay has become too competitive…and it’s not a game I want to play. I didn’t sign up for scrutiny, backstabbing, drama, etc. I just want to have fun, do what I love, and give back a little to this community that’s given me so much. Sure, I’ll delve into cosplay here and there in the future, but I have a feeling Undiesofwondy will look really different a year from now. With grad school and my adult life beginning, I think it’s time for me to hang up the star spangled booty shorts for a bit.

But they will always be there for me when I need them, sitting in my closet, waiting for me to put ’em on, just to serve some justice.

Metamorphosis: Undies Update June 2016

I’ve been itching to write something since I’ve finally got some time to spare (for a change, huh?) and believe it or not, this entry was inspired by my class. For those of you who don’t know me in the muggle world, I’m an assistant teacher in a Universal Pre-K classroom when I’m not cosplaying/blogging/reading comics. Recently, we did a unit on the life cycle of a butterfly, and we got some caterpillars in our classroom. My class was able to watch the life cycle of a butterfly firsthand, and this week, after our Memorial Day break, we let out butterflies free.

Clearly this blog isn’t to inform you on how butterflies work, so I’ll get to the point. The metamorphosis got me thinking about my own life, and how I’ve changed as a person, writer, and cosplayer, in this past year alone. My favorite human, Walt Disney, once said, “”Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” I feel the same is true for all of us, whether it be about creativity, personal growth, or whatever, we are always changing and evolving as people. Do I think that I’m a perfect person? No. Not by any means. But thinking back to last year, I can see such tremendous growth in every aspect of my life.

I don’t talk about it much, because I hate being pitied and I really hate divulging any deeply personal details of my life, but last year I was going through so much. I was struggling so much with depression, anxiety and mental health in general. I hated my job. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I felt like a failure as a person, cosplayer, and friend. Now, here I am, getting regular treatment, taking care of myself, (hopefully) attending graduate school in the Fall for my Masters in Teaching, and sure of myself as a person.

This blog isn’t to brag about how great my life has been compared to last year, I promise. I’ll always struggle with my mental health, I had my fair share of drama in the cosplay community this year as well. But the important thing is…I’m still here, breathing, cosplaying, and living my life. And while I have bad days, I know that I don’t have a bad life. And it could be far worse. It HAS been far worse. And I’ll get through it.

Growth is a necessary part of life. And in order to continue that growth, sometimes we need to go back to square one. If you’ve ever seen Mean Girls– do you remember that one scene where Lindsay Lohan’s character, Cady, goes to visit Regina George (Rachel McAdams) at her house, after she was hit by that bus? Even though Regina was an uber bitch, Cady is able to recognize that she’s made some mistakes too. She says, “When you get bitten by a snake, you have to suck out all the poison, that’s what I had to do, suck all the poison out of my life.” Like Cady, I know that I’ve made some bad decisions and I’m not a perfect person. I can be overly defensive, and it’s caused me to burn some bridges within my friendship circles. It stems from my trust and abandonment issues and my anxiety as a whole. I’m not making excuses, though, and I fully intend to take responsibility for my actions. If you’re reading this and I’ve upset you in some way, shape or form — I’m really sorry. I want to suck the poison out of my life, and I’d love nothing more than to start over with a clean slate for everyone involved. Life is too short to hold grudges. Cosplay is an escape for so many of us…nobody should have to be riddled with anxiety or fear when gearing up to go to a cosplay event. We should all be there for each other, lead by example, and make this community an awesome one.

 

I suck at updating this thing 2k16

Hi guys, I’m sorry I’ve been so absent lately. I’ve been kind of feeling meh lately and I thought maybe a blog post was in order. This convention season has been nothing short of amazing thus far — every event I’ve attended has been amazing, full of kind staff members and great guests, and an amazing experience for myself and those attending alongside of me. However, I think I may have overbooked myself slightly and I’ve kind of watered down my appearances for the rest of this convention year. I’ll be at Albany Comic Con, doing a panel with my COSUnity crew and helping to judge the cosplay contest.

Recently I’ve been really questioning my involvement in this hobby as a whole. I’m really sick of a lot of things that have popped up recently. The egos, the bullying, and the backstabbing have got to stop. This isn’t a fame game. I can honestly say I have NO desire to be cosplay famous or well known in the convention world at all. It’s just sort of something that happened for me. I hate the term Cos-famous…I think it only really has negative connotations and like I said, that’s never been what I’m about. I am SOOOO grateful for every opportunity I receive and I love that I have such a large support system for doing what I do. But I’m not here to be a master craftsman, or to outshine anyone else. This has always, always been about love of characters for me, and through portraying them, making others smile and feeling great about myself.

I’m just kind of baffled about the way I’ve been ostracized from my local community. One day, I feel like I have a million friends and that I’m wanted, and the next, I feel like everyone hates me. I’m vocal about many of my issues, yes, but it’s not for love of drama. It’s because I’m always trying to help others. That’s it, seriously. I never meant to start a turf war between local conventions, or cosplayers, or anything like that. The way I’m being portrayed, as a monster or bully, couldn’t be further from the truth of how I am. I will literally forgive someone who treated me like dirt just to avoid confrontation…I have this weird complex where I want everyone to like me. And yes, I get that’s not the way the world works, but I still hope, and try, and wish that I could be liked and accepted by everyone.

If you’re reading this and you actually have come across me in any way, shape or form, where I came off as a negative person, I really am sorry. I struggle with my demons daily. I have anxiety and depression, as well as a number of mental health issues I don’t really feel comfortable discussing. But I have a handle on them. And I live every day trying to be the best person I can be.

My creativity lately has been so severely stifled by some of the things going on on this community, especially my local community. I literally am afraid to show my face at events for fear of being bullied or made fun of. I just want to go back to having fun again.

Back when I started, there were no groups or social media I had to worry about. That’s when this was new and exciting and the most fun. I did what I wanted to do and didn’t care about likes or who thought I was this or that or the other thing. I just WAS. And I’m really hoping to get back to the core of that, from here on out.

A friend of mine gave me some good advice recently. Delete Facebook off your phone, she’d said. At first I was worried that I’d miss out on something (the FOMO is real, guys) but then I realized the world keeps going without Facebook. I still have Messenger activated, and I have a separate app for my cosplay page management, so I’m not totally shut off, but you’d be surprised how much less negative your life is when you don’t mindlessly scroll through FB at all hours of the day, and see anti-trans, homophobic, negative, shit posts. I really do feel like a whole new person, and it’s only been a few days.

I guess the moral of this story, kiddos, is to know your limits, and don’t be afraid to take a step back and take some “me” time. I started cosplaying for myself, and that’s the only person, ultimately, who needs my approval.

Am I quitting cosplay? No. No, I’m not. But 2016-2017 is going to be full of big changes for me. I’ll probably (if all goes well) be going for my Masters, continuing to work full time, and trying to adult a bit more, in terms of paying off some loan debt and trying to save up for a future for boyfriend and I. But one thing is for sure. Undiesofwondy will always be around, in one way, shae or form. I love writing and keeping this website and blog active are some of my core goals for the rest of the year. I love being able to share myself with you through my writing, and it’s therapeutic as hell to just get it all out, regardless of if someone, or…well…anyone, for that matter, is reading this.

If you are reading this, hi. I love you. <3

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

Finding Confidence in the Nerdiest Places : Can Cosplay Improve Your Self Image?

 

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Photo by Darien D. Hester.

Sometimes, when your craft foam armor that you’ve worked weeks on starts falling apart, or days when your wig just won’t look right, or when you feel totally fat in spandex, it can be hard to remember why we cosplay in the first place. While cosplay can be frustrating at times,  it’s important for me to remind myself why I started in the first place. Continue reading “Finding Confidence in the Nerdiest Places : Can Cosplay Improve Your Self Image?”