Thursday, June 13, 2013

[Sarah] Cosplay Groups: Family You Choose

 [JT's note: CUE THE TRUMPETS!  I finally... finally... get to introduce you formally to Sarah, our newest author and Jas's other half.  As a matter of fact, Jas wouldn't be on this site if it was not for Sarah (I met Jas because of her).  She will be doing a multitude of different things; anime, manga, etc...  and of course, cosplay...]

                First, I’d like to introduce myself. Hello, nice to meet you all; I am sure you have heard lots about me! I am Jas’ cosplay partner Sarah and the eternal ghost presence of this blog. JT has been begging me to write a segment for ages, but I haven’t had the time, inspiration, or will power until now.
                I decided my first contribution will be some boring and philosophical (or not, probably it’s just going to be some word vomit [JT’s note: Deeeefinitely more likely…]) about cosplayers and the behind the scenes loves and terrors that occur within, what have rightly been categorized as, cosplay “families.” I have often heard people refer to their cosplay friends as family. I myself consider my cosplay friends as a second family (love you Jas BABY <3). But it is the overflow of tacky banners and hipster-esque captioned pictures with the message that got me thinking about my own cosplay family and the dynamics of others I have encountered.
                Unlike any other sport or hobby cosplay is virtually an unorganized phenomenon when it comes to fashioning groups and partnerships. There are no group leaders, teachers, councilors, or coaches to push cosplayers together and have them socially interact. No one is there to intervene when we have problems, or guide our activities, and there is no one there to pat us on the back when we do a good job. In numerous ways this can be considered a plus. Many people, myself included, as a result become more self-motivated, responsible, gain better interpersonal skills, and learn how to collaborate as well as lead in a group setting. Due to this freedom from authority cosplayers are also given the privilege to construct their own ideal team; their own perfect family.
[JT's note: Cue multicolored smoke?]

                The truth of the matter is, rarely is a cosplay group ever a perfect family and in fact many are far from it. Because there is typically no true authority in a cosplay family many lack a mediator to quell rising tensions that inevitably arise. Forming a circle of friendship in cosplay is like making new friends in Kindergarten. Usually it begins by awkwardly shuffling up to someone who you admire or has a similar cosplay and gushing over their perfection secretly hoping they take some sort of ironic pity love for you (I mean what? That’s not how you make friends? [JT's note: No... Just her...]). Although; rather than asking your new friend if they will let you sit next to them at lunch like in Kindergarten, you are asking them to endure your presence for a 2-4 day long stress filled weekend in a room that is most likely meant for two but is currently holding six. GREAT TIMES RIGHT?
The people who will tolerate (and love) you're crazy ideas
This is why there is often “con drama;” or in clinical terms the emotional catharsis of whiny babies on the first day of con. As fun as conventions are they are also extremely stressful especially when you are packed into a room the size of a sardine can with an inappropriate amount of people who have an inappropriate amount of fragile luggage. It’s crucial to find friends who are compatible since cosplay can be an unpredictable hell of a hobby all the way from the hotel room to the con floor. You want friends who will not only consider each other as “people they’d like to be with over family” but people who treat other AS family. What do I mean by this? I mean friends who can work well around each other, respect each other’s decisions, care for each other, and compromise for each other. For example: Say Jas is putting on her pants and I ask her to help me put tape on my boobs I’d like her to say; “There is nothing in this world I’d rather be doing than putting my hands on your chest.” Not, “Can’t you do it yourself I’m busy! You are so needy, you whiny baby!” And, hey, it’s true I am a whiny baby. In fact my nick name among my cosplay family is “Problem Child.” But rather than be malicious and get frustrated with my more than apparent air-headedness my friends carry super-glue, Velcro, scissors, and whatever else I may need and I do the same for them when they wear a complicated cosplay.  
Will you paint on my abs? I'd love to.
Our family!
               Now that this has been written out it all seems to be very obvious but, no one likes to awkwardly walk by a cosplayer crying into their latex gloves exiled from their hotel room. In order to live harmoniously we have to pick our teams well and know that a good friend will not always make a good group or roommate. What I have learned is just like growing up through trial and error eventually you find the perfect friends and the perfect roommates; for me they were ones who eat well, sleep well, take care of me, are responsible, and love me (*uglycrying* My babies). Although, what is perfect for me may not be perfect for you the important thing in finding a cosplay group or even a set of roommates is finding people who respect you and your life style whether that means working around it, complementing it, or matching it!

[JT's final note:  And there you have it.  Hopefully I can convince Sarah to write things a little more often (not like I have room to talk right now).  I hope you enjoyed her first batch of word vomit...  does this make her literately bulimic? ...  Anyway!  Look forward to more from Sarah, and more from NP in general.  We aren't dead yet; hell, we have a fifth heartbeat now!  >.>  <.<  >.>  Maybe we should get that checked...]

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