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Why People Who Cosplay Are Wonderful

Why People Who Cosplay Are Wonderful

You’ve seen the photographs from Comic-Con and Anime Expo. You’ve watched videos of the attendees at conventions having the time of their lives. Yes, cosplayers are a unique and interesting sort, and not just because they look like super heroes.

Here are a few reasons why cosplayers are more amazing than they are given credit for.

They are brave.

Have you ever been getting dressed in the morning and thought, “Ugh, I can’t wear this. It’s too outlandish!” The thought that you might be seen by someone else as having “bad fashion sense” or “poor taste” is real for so many people.

In the world of cosplay, however, that borderline is pushed far, far back. Does your character wear a hawaiian shirt and swim trunks with a giant turtle shell on his back? Better get the shell out! Cosplayers can push away the fear of judgment from other people in favour of flying their colours high–and that takes courage.

They are loyal.

What happens when a cosplayer gets judged harshly? It happens. Someone will criticize a cosplayer for being the wrong shape or size–or even colour–to cosplay that character. The overwhelming majority in the cosplay community will not stand for this kind of behaviour!

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Cosplayers stick together. If you can’t be yourself around other people in the same niche, then what’s the point? Cosplayers take that to heart, and there’s nothing better than watching a naysayer get schooled by a band of supportive cosplayers–nay, of friends.

They are resourceful.

Have you seen some of those giant robot costumes that people bring to big conventions? Eight feet tall, with lights and sounds, and fully-articulate, these costumes are phenomenal to witness. They must have cost a fortune, manufactured by some big movie company, right? Well, actually…

The dominant majority of the cosplay community made their costumes by the sweat of their own brow. The Gundam MK-II you saw was made primarily of cardboard and EVA foam, with hours of trial-and-error and research on how the joints should move. The Edward Elric’s automail arm was painstakingly built from pieces of plastic drink bottles and craft foam, painted to look like a pristine metal prosthesis. The huge Buster Sword that Cloud’s carrying around? Expanding Foam and papier-maché. Especially because so many conventions have special rules as to what your costumes and props can NOT be made of, cosplayers have to get creative.

They never cease to impress.

They are passionate.

Ever talked to someone who had a real, vested interest in something, and were just blown away by their zeal? Cosplayers are that to a tee.

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What’s better, though, is that the same passion they use for making their costumes extends to making friends. There’s no better way to gain a new friend than to ask about their costume’s series or compliment them on the construction of the specific details (because believe me, they put effort into the details). They will sit and nerd out with you about this series or that character, despite having never met you before, so long as you invoke the same passion that they have.

Extra tip: Find a “Doctor Who” cosplayer and ask what they think of the 8th Doctor. You’re sure to get some passion there!

They are highly skilled.

The skills needed to be a successful and amazing cosplayer are myriad, but the ones that stand out the most are the use of a sewing machine, wig and hair styling, makeup, and conceptual design. From a professional standpoint, cosplaying can build up a great portfolio of skills to show potential employers. It can be a great tool to learn new skills. And, according to a study from Asia Pacific University, it can even lead to a full-blown career: Many cosplayers take the knowledge and skills that they acquire in their hobby and turn them into a lucrative and successful lifestyle.

They are organised.

To be fair, it must be acknowledged that not all cosplayers are super-organised. Cosplayers will often speak of the “pre-con rush” that precedes the debut of a new costume, where they are far behind their deadlines and have to work into wee hours of the morning finishing their stuff. However, that too shows a level of organisation that is unparallelled in many other hobbies.

To make a cosplay, one needs to first gather reference images and stills from the source media. Gathering those, one then has to plan out all the pieces of the outfits and source materials. Costumes next need to be built individually, using a variety of skills and tools. Items that cannot be built must be bought or otherwise obtained, adding another layer of complexity.

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Finally, once all the items are finished, they have to be pieced together into the full costume, which includes styling a wig or hairdo, applying makeup, and making sure that all aspects of the costume look proper.

Bravo, cosplayers!

They are sociable.

With all kinds of social media available to the specific cosplay scene, including Facebook groups, Cosplay.com’s forums, Cosplay Archive, and even Cosplay Amino, even people who haven’t got cosplay friends nearby can immerse themselves in the community. Many colleges have anime clubs and cosplay groups. There are meetups in basically every major city. And if nothing else presents itself, there are always conventions.

Some people might think that going alone to a convention and cosplaying is an example of the non-social nature of the art form, but that’s the furthest thing possible from the truth. When you go to a convention alone, it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, hang out with other skilled and passionate cosplayers, and expand your social circle infinitely. With a little courage, presto! A new group of friends. This goes the opposite direction, too–cosplayers who attend conventions in groups tend to be warm and welcoming to those who approach them.

They are good people.

Every community has outliers–the people who body shame others, the elitists who will not socialise with other, “lower quality” cosplayers, the people who go to conventions looking only for pictures of scantily-clad con-goers.

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It must be made clear, however, that these people are not the epoch of cosplay, nor are they even close to a majority. Cosplayers tend to be polite, cordial people who look out for others and enjoy being with people who share their interests. Far greater is the number of “Your costume looks amazing!” cosplayers than “You should stop cosplaying” members.

At the end of the day, when you and your new friends go to the diner down the street and sit around eating pancakes and sharing stories until 3 in the morning, you’re experiencing the reality of the cosplay community. When you head back to school or work when the gathering is over, your life is enriched by your passion, your efforts, and your friends. When people come to bully you for your taste in media, your choice to dress like a super hero, or your spending time with others like you, it is they that need the support the most.

Invite them to come along to the next con with you–maybe you’ll make a new friend there, too.

Featured photo credit: Rocket Racoon and Groot Cosplayers by Gage Skidmore via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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