When I first started cosplaying, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer any of those questions. I started cosplaying with my boyfriend for an upcoming convention and, if I’m being perfectly honest here, I didn’t plan on continuing the little hobby. I had no real reason for spending hours a day working on a costume. I had no real reason for walking around a convention floor in that uncomfortable costume. I had no real reason for any of it.
This quickly changed as I continued to work on costumes and attend comic and anime conventions, alongside my boyfriend and friends.
As of today, I have worn four costumes to various conventions and I have discovered my reasons for cosplaying. Here are my reasons for being one of the nerds people laugh at and secretly take pictures of as I walk from the parking lot to the convention center. (Yes, I notice when you random bystanders do it. You’re not very discrete.)
I can be a very antsy person, sometimes. Of course, I enjoy my lazy days where I do nothing but sit in bed, binge watch TV shows and eat a whole tray of oreos in one sitting, but for the most part, I need an outlet for all of my pent up energy to flow. Cosplay allows me to do this while binge watching TV shows in bed with a tray of oreos! It allows me to focus on multiple things at a time and use my hands, instead of going stir crazy from just sitting in my room.
Older comic book lovers/nerds
I’ve been to my fair share of conventions now, and the one thing that never fails to amaze me is the older men and women who have a spectacular devotion to comic books and other parts of “nerd” culture. I remember, when I dressed up as Rogue from “X-Men” at Wizard World Austin Comic Con, I had men and women old enough to be my parents telling me that I brought one of their favorite comic book characters to life. My heart fills with complete joy and I begin to blush when I hear compliments like that. It means a great deal to me that people who have devoted a large part of their lives to comic books and hold these character near and dear to them, believe that I did a well enough job to be deserving of such a beautiful comment on my costume.
Younger fans of comics and nerdy things
This reason brings a story to mind, a story in that brings me to tears of joy every time I think of it. The story may be short, but it has made an everlasting impact on me and I will forever carry it in my heart. When I first walked onto the convention floor of the Austin Convention Center, I didn’t know how people were going to react to my Rogue costume. I had been having wardrobe malfunctions since I got out of the car and, needless to say, I was feeling extremely self-conscious. Well, as I begin to walk around a bit and try to forget about the problems I had been facing just moments before, I hear a faint voice whisper, “Rogue.” I turn around to see one of the sweetest little girls I have ever come across at a convention. I gave her an enthusiastic, “Hello,” and she asked for a picture. The twinkle in her eye when I said “yes,” and how she happily walked over to me has been a driving force for the cosplays I want to work on in the future. She, and all the other little girls and boys I have made smile, act as my biggest reason for cosplaying because, let me tell you, there is nothing better than watching a child fill with so much joy, happiness and admiration as they look at you, dressed as a character they have come to love so much.
The cosplay community
I have been cosplaying for a little over a year now, and during that time I have been able to make some amazing cosplaying friends that make everything so much more fun! Being in the cosplay community has taught me so much about having confidence in myself, believing in my work and realizing that no matter how skilled you are, if you made your own costume to the best of your ability, then that’s all that truly matters. They have also taught me to just have fun with it and stop thinking about it like it’s some sort of contest. The cosplay community has been almost like a second family to me, and for that, I continue to cosplay.
I cosplay for many reasons. I don’t do it for glory, or compliments or pictures; I do it for the people. I do it for the happiness that I can give people by creating a costume of someone that is admired by many. I also do it for myself.
Cosplay has become an important part of my life, and maybe it will become an important part of yours. You just need to find your own reasons for being the weird guy or girl in a costume walking across a parking lot with your head held high.