Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Only Way to Fail Is to Give Up

Photo by G. Edwards Photography
This past weekend at New York Comic Con was a ton of fun for a lot of reasons, but there was something that happened which reminded me of how far I've come in the last year and it's a sentiment that I think everyone should try to incorporate into their lives.

As you all know, I spent over 120 hours in the last month making my Dragon Age costume for Comic Con. I learned a whole new set of skills. I spent a lot of money, sweat, tears, and passion on creating my Tallis costume for NYCC. I carefully tested everything out before the event and wore the armor around the house for a few hours so I could make adjustments for comfort and fit. I was ready.

I wouldn't find out how sadly mistaken I was till the morning of the con on Friday. My friend had done my hair and make-up, another had helped apply my ears, and yet another was on hand to help me get suited up. I had a support team of champions at the ready to help me look my best. I'd done a Whole30 leading up to day of the con to slim down a little. Well, apparently I slimmed down more than a little. When I pulled on the leg guards, they immediately slid down my legs. I couldn't take a step without them falling down around my ankles. The more that happened, the more they started to destroy my boot covers. When I was going to the bag check the bag ripped my choker apart somehow. It was like watching Vesuvius destroy Pompeii. The pieces of the puzzle were all there, but they were losing functionality by the second. I really just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Not only had I made this costume for me, but I made it so that I could have an immediate "in" for starting conversations with people and telling them about this site and my mission to help my fellow geeks get what they want out of life, whether that's getting healthy, getting into cosplay, or just chasing after their life goals. Obviously conventions are fun, but they're also great for networking and cosplay is a wonderful way to bring fellow fans out of the wood work. 

It was just a gargantuan disappointment. It made me miss one of the panels I was most looking forward to and it felt like the world was crashing down around me as my masterpiece fell apart. It got to the point where I had to make an important decision. I could struggle to wear it all day and be horribly uncomfortable as the costume was destroyed through wear and tear, or I could take it off and just be a normal con-goer. That might sound like a silly thing to stress over, but in the past year I've realize how very important cosplay is to me. It has completely changed my convention experience and I oddly feel naked without it. 

As horrible as that all felt, I also knew that making the decision as efficiently as possible was for the best. If I had stayed in that state of dejected panic, I would have ruined the whole weekend for myself. After giving myself five minutes to be super depressed, I got myself to a bathroom, changed into my street clothes, shoved my business cards in my pocket, and hit the show floor with renewed vigor. 

The next day, I grabbed my Ren Faire costume, and added a few pieces from Tallis for details. Even though I wasn't a recognizable character, I still got attention from photographers and other cosplayers because I stood out from the average con goer. Every day, I made it work with what I had and I made sure to create my own opportunities to meet my personal heroes and anyone else I thought would enjoy hearing about Project Reroll. I made friends in every panel line and made a schedule for all the signings, industry meet-ups, and special events I thought I should attend. I met pro cosplayers like Yaya Han, Ivy Doomkitty (who I just featured a few articles ago), and Nicole Marie Jean. I attended afterparties to bravely worked the room (something that still horrifies me to this day) and was rewarded with meeting my favorite Mythbuster, Grant Imahara! I waited in line to meet Felicia Day, who was so congratulatory about my achievements that she gave me a high five, followed by taking the time to talk about how almond milk was our jam and that cupcakes are the greatest thing ever. On Sunday I went to a panel on how to protect your new business from a legal perspective and after asking a question about my idea for a geek themed Paleo cook book, I got approached by someone who helps new authors put together book proposals. As an added bonus, my year of research into cosplay helped me recognize Monika Lee and Jessica Nigri on the street on Monday so I could meet them too! What was a disaster turned into an amazing weekend of meeting new people, building public knowledge about our growing Slayer community here on Project Reroll, sharing stories, playing ALL THE DEMOS, and celebrating my geek identity. Even though I couldn't premiere my new costume, it still made for a great one year cosplay anniversary.

A year ago I might not have been capable of picking myself up like that and carrying on, let alone making the absolute most of a bad situation. When you work hard at something like weight loss or sticking to a very strict diet, the first time you experience a big failure, it can be extremely derailing. A lot of people give up right there, but in reality, giving up is the only way to fail. If you  make a mistake, you can recover if you just keep working hard afterwards. So be brave (like this amazing little girl who wanted to be like Sokka so much that she shaved the sides of her head to achieve his exact hairstyle for her cosplay. WATER TRIBE.). Don't let disappointments get in the way of the bigger picture. There's always something you can do to make the most of a bad situation. Hell, you might even be able to transform it into an AWESOME situation if you put your mind to it. 

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