Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Origin Story: How I Got Into Cosplay, Anime, And The Geek Community

I've been revamping my blog, if you couldn't tell. I'll be doing a whole separate blog post about that later, but for now, I'm going to share with you my origin story. Every geek has an origin story. Like Sailor Moon, Spiderman, and Captain America, everyone has a story of why they do what they do or love what they love. For me, I do crafts and love pop culture. And today I'm going to tell you why.

I had a few early encounters with anime when I was really young with things like Pokemon and .hack//Legend of the Twilight, but those never really caught my attention and pulled me under.

It all started for real when I was 10 years old, when 4kids was at its prime butchering of awesome animes. I didn't realize they were being butchered until much later though. At the time, I just thought Mew Mew Power and Magical DoReMi were simply the coolest things since sliced bread.

I became obsessed. I made my own Freewebs fansite, which was actually pretty popular, but it's since been removed from the internet. I can't find it anywhere. (๑◕︵◕๑) I made TONS of fan characters and even tried animating my own spin off. That's when I started drawing and animating.

I have always been SUPER stubborn, so I didn't actually watch the entire series in Japanese until I was about 12-13. I kept saying, "no, I'll be the cool anime fan who doesn't watch it in Japanese at ALL." I don't know why I said that, and I don't know why I STILL DO IT WITH OTHER THINGS, but I do. And I get so mad at myself every time.(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ

When I finally did start watching it in Japanese, I opened up a world of possibilities. There were so many more shows I could watch. When I was 13, I met someone in a forum who introduced me to cosplay, j-pop, and k-pop. That got me started crafting, even if it was slow. I thought cosplay was the coolest idea EVER. I already loved Halloween, and this just made it even cooler in my eyes. I tried making my own cosplay of Ichigo Momomiya's cafe uniform, but while taking the pattern out of the package, it ripped and I gave up. I'm not proud of myself. ƪ(‾_‾)ʃ

When I was 14 I went to my first anime convention with the friend I mentioned earlier. It was when cosplay was just becoming popular, and before it became all competitive and mean. So I had a fantastic experience. I cosplayed as Haruhi Suzumiya and my cosplay SUCKED. But everyone there was so supportive and sweet, and that definitely made me want to cosplay again and again.

Unfortunately, I became the villain of my story for a while. That friend and I would go onto and find cosplays just to criticize them. We would nitpick at every single detail that was even slightly wrong. And if we couldn't find something wrong with it, we would find something wrong with them like their nose, skin color, or just the fact that they were a little fat. We joined the bad side of the cosplay community and hurt a lot of feelings in the process. I still feel guilty for doing this, and I'm working hard to defend anyone who is getting that kind of treatment. This kind of behavior from me is what turned me into a feminist. I realized what a horrible person I was being and how quick I was to objectify, slut shame, and criticize, and I hated it. I never want to be a part of that ever again.

Because of that part of my story, I ended up becoming a perfectionist about my cosplays. I would cry and freak out when my cosplays weren't perfect, because I knew that if I were a stranger, my friend and I would be taunting and making fun of the small, inaccurate details on my cosplay. I didn't want others to say to me what I had been saying to them all along. That made me give up cosplaying for many years.

I gave up anime for a while when I was about 15 and I explored other fandoms. This is when I got into Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Trek, Hunger Games, and other fandoms. I mellowed out a LOT, in order to become more acceptable to the crowds of friends I wanted to please.

But finally, after years of trying to please others and suppressing what I loved, I went back to myself. I began cosplaying and watching anime again at 18, and stopped suppressing my passions. I stopped worrying about what others thought of me, and stopped worrying about all the imperfections in my cosplays. I decided that being a geek was all about having fun, and anyone who didn't agree, didn't deserve my time of day. This is when I finally opened up and became the person I wanted to be. This is also when I came out of the closet as Bisexual, and met my now husband, so it was a huge year of changes!

I had a baby a month after I turned 20, and tried to suppress my passions for a little bit again. Because what kind of mature, responsible mother watches anime and spends her fun money on cosplay? (a cool one, that's who) This didn't last long, because I realized I didn't want to set that example for my son. I'm SO glad I decided that too, because over the year, I have met so many new friends that I never would have met, had I continued to hide my passions.

My origin story is still going as I find new fandoms, and introduce my son to old ones. I'm currently working on his origin story. ヾ(*ゝω・*)ノ  Being a geek has been the most incredibly life choice I could EVER make, and I don't regret it at all. Had I not become a geek, I wouldn't have found all these fun ways to learn important life skills, I wouldn't have taught myself how to draw or animate, and I wouldn't have learned to make the cool things I do, which allow me to stay at home with my son.

I LOVE this community and I hope to continue to immerse myself in it and meet new people. Do you have an origin story? Link your post down below! Or if you don't have a blog, just tell it to me. I LOVE reading how other people got into this amazing geek community.


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