Cosplay and Priorities

I’ve been cosplaying for the past decade. A lot can change in ten years! I have noticed that my perspective on cosplay has changed. As I am getting older and am getting into my career–and finishing up my next degree in the next semester or so, I had an opportunity to talk with a few friends about the subject of priority and cosplay. My friend, DJ Ranma S, from Anime Jam Session also gave me the idea which motivated me to make this post.

I  first came across this topic of priority and cosplay years ago, during a winter convention. A family member went with me and she came home with the flu. Someone with the flu came to the convention and may have gotten her sick. But recently– and especially in reaction to today’s climate on viruses and illnesses overseas, discussion on viruses has become somewhat of a punchline and joke. I feel that the topic should be taken a bit more seriously– if you are sick, especially with the flu, do not attend a convention. Your health, as well as the health of others around you, is a bigger priority.

Like any hobbies, there should be  some sort of boundaries. I feel that hobbies usually fall into three categories in regards to priorities and setting boundaries relating to wellness,  academic/work , and responsibility over one’s finances.

I explained a bit about wellness in terms of physical health. Though mental health does fall into the same category and the two often coincide. When I first got into cosplay, and even in recent years, I wanted my cosplays to be perfect with all of the right details. I did not test my cosplays before hand and ended up having mishaps. Plus, I sacrificed personal comfort and ended up panicking as I struggled to reach my definition of perfection. I wore uncomfortable shoes, had binders on for long periods of time, and sometimes did not even drink enough water…. and on a few occasions, nearly even skipped meals while I was so caught up in my own head. But my friends and family have helped me recognize my own shortcomings when it comes to my skewed priorities. I may make a future post on the subject of perfection and cosplay, but I digress.

I now try to follow the 6-2-1 rule. This means have at least six hours of sleep, at least two meals, and one shower per day. I feel that this rule is important for anybody to follow.  I also make sure to wear binders for just a few hours, make a mental note to bring water, and take a few additional measures for the sake of my well-being. If a character wears heeled boots for example, I may choose to wear boots without heels– or opt to wear a comfortable pair of shoes underneath boot covers.

Financial responsibility is another topic. In the years of attending conventions, I have heard stories about people cramming folks in hotels rooms far past capacity to save money, as well as people sleeping in cars in parking garages because they could not afford a hotel. Financial responsibility can be a bit of a rocky topic. But if you notice yourself maxing out credit cards or taking money away from bills in order to attend a convention or as you order supplies to make a new cosplay, try to think carefully about your spending habits and be wary of such signs. Although the dealer’s room is also a tempting place to spend money, try to set a budget for yourself and leave plenty of extra money for essentials such as food and water.

Sometimes it can be time to step back and remind yourself: cosplay is a hobby. Even if you miss an event, your cosplays will still be there, ready for the next one.

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