Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Full Circle

In the winter of 2003, I was a teenager attending public high school.  There was very little thought of the world beyond Toonami afternoons and getting by in class.
A close friend mentioned that a local college was hosting a convention.  Excitedly, we decided to attend and make our own cosplay.
Bear in mind, this was 2003.  The world "cosplay" had rarely (if ever) been uttered on television, and eBay was not yet overflowing with cosplay choices obtainable by the click of a mouse.
Through the use of my mom's raincoat and spray painted football pads, I manage to put together a passable costume of Sephiroth, from Final Fantasy VII.

My original Sephiroth cosplay
The convention itself was very small, hardly a flicker of what it is today, but the sense of camaraderie I experienced there was overwhelming.  We sung karaoke, watched anime and played D&D; all things we did at our usual gatherings, but the difference here was strength in numbers.  There were hundreds of "us" in one place, celebrating.
We could debate the console wars or argue if Goku would beat Sephiroth in a fight, but we would do it with tremendous love and respect of each others' passions.
Each year since 2003, I  have attended that convention, Genericon.  It has grown and changed and metamorphosed into something much bigger, but its spirit, and those memories, remain with me.  I have met some of my closest friends there, and I make new ones each time attend.
Smash cut to the spring of 2014.  Life is very different.  I have a big girl job, a house and a mortgage.  My family grew larger through marriage and smaller through death.
When I was unpacking my costume items from my recent move, I was stunned to find my late mother's old raincoat in one of the boxes.  It was marred by streaks of spray paint left over from the long missing armor.  It was still far too big on me.
I decided to revisit the costume that started my addiction hobby and remake Sephiroth.  This time I ordered a roll of pleather, molded thermoplastic and wore striking green contacts.  No spray painted football armor this time.
By the summer of 2014, he was completed and worn to Connecticon in Hartford, Connecticut.
 My 2014 Sephiroth cosplay. Photo by Vicious Victor's Photography.

 Cosplay has taught me many things, brought me many places and given me the opportunity to meet incredibly creative people.  For me, it has always come from a place of love.  Do I love this character?  What can I learn from creating their costume and having their persona for a weekend?
No matter how many more costumes I make or cons I attend, something always stands out in my mind.
It is amazing how much you can learn about yourself by being someone else. 

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