Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yip Yip! It's My First Cosplay!

Well I had my weigh-in yesterday and I was pleased to see that I wasn't derailed by my weekend at New York Comic Con with my friends. I really did my best to stay on track. I packed a bunch of meals and looked at the menus for the restaurants we normally go to in order to prepare myself for what I might face. I did end up losing 2.8 lbs this week which is great. I was prepared for the scale not to move at all. Even though I brought Nutrisystem food with me every day for lunch and my afternoon snack, I was in costume, so I had to hunt down my friends in order to retrieve it since I didn't have a bag with me. The only day that went south was Saturday because a friend I was with got really sick and she had to stop walking around. I didn't want to leave her alone so I had to get a hot dog for lunch because that was all there was in the vicinity. It was one of those situations where I did my best to do the least damage possible with just a dollop of ketchup for flavor, but I felt kind of cornered and guilty about it afterwards. I ended up skipping my afternoon snack because of the hot dog and had a salad with grilled chicken, low-fat balsamic vinaigrette, and avocado when we went out for dinner. I guess I was just trying to minimize the damage while trying to enjoy a "special occasion" night out with my friends. 

All in all, it was a successful, healthy week and I still met my goal of at least 2 lbs lost per week WHILE having a ton of fun at the convention. 

I've always been afraid to cosplay because of my weight. I just didn't think I'd be able to become a character that would be recognizable. Most of our heroes and heroines in fandom are quite svelt and the idea of fitting my pudginess into that mold seemed like a lost cause. Plus the internet can be a cruel place where people lampoon photos of "bad cosplayers" or "fat versions" of characters and mock them mercilessly. I was really afraid of becoming a target for that. 

However, when I started this journey, I really wanted to plan a cosplay as a motivation because it's something connects my personality and my geekdom with my health (two things that have been in opposition or just not related at all for most of my life). I chose to create an anthropomorphic version of Appa, a flying bison, and one of my favorite characters from Nickelodeon's animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender. With help, encouragement, and advice from friends (as well as learning how to hand sew on youtube!), I think I was able to pull off a pretty great look. I wanted to share it with you all here! Some of my best friends agreed to reprise their Toph and Man-Toph costumes so that we could all go around as a group and enjoy the convention together. I really appreciated their support and show of solidarity. <3

Yip yip! Appa takes to the skies!

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This was the first Aang that I came across at the convention. For those who don't know, Appa is Aang's spirit animal companion and the creature that carries Aang and his friends around the world on the show. I made it my goal to get pictures with every Aang I could find (one of whom was 6 years old and ADORABLE), but this one turned out the best. Although, it sort of looks like "Appa and Aang go to the prom." Ha!

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Here's a view of the back of the costume. Appa has a very distinct look and people wouldn't necessarily recognize me from the front immediately, but as soon as I passed by, they would shout "Appa!" It was really funny. 

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Moreso than anything else I learned from this experience, I found that cosplay brings people together. We met so many other fans of the show we love, some were even dressed up as other characters. When we all posed for pictures together it stopped traffic. People swarmed us like paparazzi. We all got to talk about why we loved the show and how we made our costumes. Everyday as I passed through the crowd I just heard a continues melodic strain of "Oh my god! It's Appa! Appa, look! Wow! Look at that Appa! Dude! Amazing, it's Appa!" It was just such a rush to feel people's support for all my hard work and of course to get to share our common love of the show in the process. One artist in artist's alley told me a story about how Avatar brought him and his girlfriend together and how Appa was their favorite. He was telling me this like I WAS Appa and I was personally responsible for his joyous relationship- which was hilarious and touching at the same time. The whole time I was nervous that cosplaying with be a degrading experience, but now that the convention is over, I can not only say that we made a great impression (as evidenced by all the pictures I've found of us that are now floating and garnering positive feedback around the internet! Haha), but I can also say that my experience was completely positive and even empowering. After the con was over, my boyfriend and I started planning a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cosplay for PAX East in March. Now I have another goal to achieve and the best part is that he's going to participate in it with me so we can share our love of the show with other fans. :) 

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And for those of you who know what "Gangnam Style" is, here's a "Heeeeey Sexy Appa" pic. You're welcome. This happened because my friend yelled at the other cosplayer, "Hey man! Hey! I need you to come yell at my friend's butt." To which he responded, "Sure!"

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