Hello readers! I am so glad to be back to regular posting after a few life changes derailed the previous restarting of the blog. I missed you all.
You might recall that a year ago, I wrote a post Confessions of a Wannabe Cosplayer. With the encouragement of a few fellow bloggers, I have decided to turn that post into a recurring series and chronicle my ongoing internal battle between the desire to cosplay and social anxiety, insecurity, and inhibition. I'm hoping that eventually the series will culminate in attending a con. I don't want to put myself under too much pressure, so we'll have to see!
In that first post, I mentioned that I hadn't dressed up for Halloween in eight years. Where I live, Halloween has become more about casual neighborhood cookouts than costume parties, communal bowls of candy rather than trick-or-treating, and even kids seem to dress up far less often than they did when I was little.
I hate it. I don't know exactly when or why this transition occurred, but stereotypes about adults who dress up started popping up all over the place: They don't want to grow up. They're self-involved and narcissistic. They're ridiculous. (And often, for women: They're s***s... that will have to be another post). And I bought into it. I bought into the patently absurd idea that dressing up as someone else says something about one's personality besides, "I like this character, and I like dressing up." Some people who dress up might immerse themselves in fantasy worlds to a degree that others would consider unhealthy. Some might be narcissistic. Some might be ridiculous. But... the same could be said about everyone, including that guy in jeans and a t-shirt at the gas station.
(Image from wikipedia)
Like Mr. Nerd, he dresses up as an extra from Grand Theft Auto,
every. single. year.
I will never be a professional cosplayer. That doesn't fit in with my life and schedule. But I finally decided that my first step toward any sort of cosplaying would be dressing up again for Halloween. I love steampunk costumes and had seen various pictures of steampunk Disney princess ideas, so I settled on Snow White. Because I don't (aka can't) sew and didn't want to go out spend much money, I just bought a few extra items like a red bow and welder's goggles and used my own clothes, changing an old shirt into a skirt with a pseudo-bustle in the back (courtesy of scissors and duct tape).
I had no party to go to, didn't plan on going trick-or-treating, and am not a club/barhopping type of person. So I asked the question on Facebook: Adults running errands and doing daily activities in costume on Halloween: awesome or weird? The response was overwhelmingly positive. Most people said things like, "I once saw someone dressed up as [character] at the grocery. It totally made my day!" or even, "YES DO IT." And you know what?
I went to the grocery. Went to the crafts store to buy cake decorating supplies. Went to the park. Got lunch. All in costume. I won't pretend that I felt totally comfortable or at ease; I didn't. I often felt awkward and scared and was so worried that someone would say, in a tone that made it clear that they thought I was a nutcase, "Um, why are you dressed like that?" that I sometimes had difficulty getting out of my car.
The truth is that other than a friend from a former workplace, no one commented at all. I only saw two other adults in costume the entire day. Sometimes I wonder if people assumed that because a lot of my costume was re-purposed everyday clothing, I was just a girl with a very unorthodox sense of style. Even though I didn't receive any positive reinforcement, I didn't receive any disparaging remarks either. A few stares and odd looks, sure. At times I nearly crumbled under those stares. I had to keep in mind that those looks weren't inherently negative responses. I was the one assuming that the motivations behind the stares were negative. But no one came up and berated me for being "too old to dress up." No one laughed at me. No one asked me why I wasn't dressed "like a normal person." I took solace in that. I even started to have--wait for it--fun.
So this year, when Halloween rolls around, I might just have to do it again.
**Blog notice: you might have noticed that the "Redefining Sexy" post never happened. I had it written and ready to publish at the beginning of the year, but then I read it through and realized that I didn't have anything original to add to the discussion that already took place in October 2013. If you would like a list of the posts other bloggers have done on the topic, see Les Gros Bonnet's Redefining Sexy Round-up.**