Korosho! Re-Motivating Our Dreams!
Some of us reach a place in our cosplay ‘career’ where we become unmotivated. Upset and critical of our work. We may have financial hardships or others that eat up our time. We find ourselves asking “Do I really want to do this?” and “Do I really have the time and money for a hobby like this?” and loads of other questions. I myself have felt this way the past few months. At the beginning of 2018 I had a list of TWELVE cosplays I wanted to make this year. It’s May and I haven’t completed a single one and I’ve scaled back my plans to just 3. My family has been through the ringer since November 2017 and I’ve lost a lot of steam and motivation to spend time sewing and creating. My mental health has been unstable and I’ve been lazy about doing the simplest of things like cooking and doing my laundry. So creating a whole cosplay has been too big an undertaking that I’m not willing to commit to right now; so for my own mental health I’ve scaled back because I’d rather look after myself and my family right now.
So how does one become re-motivated after experiencing months of hardship, pain and loss of creativity? Reigniting a fire burning with passion. This year, if I complete NOTHING else, I want to at least complete my Sailor Cosmos cosplay. She has been a dream of mine since I started cosplaying and I’m finally making her happen. Even if I don’t finish the other 2 cosplays I have planned, finishing this one will be an accomplishment. I’ve been motivating myself by thinking about how much I love this character. She has a beautiful, magical and ethereal design about her that I want to bring to life. Her story in the Sailor Moon manga is so simple, but it’s so powerful. She is the epitome of rising up from despair and looking chaos, fear and heartbreak straight in the eye and overcoming it. (Literally though. She loses everything and finds her strength and will to defeat Chaos - a villain!). Becoming her is a long awaited dream come true, and I’d rather take my time with her to create a lovely, perfect cosplay from the start. Taking your time, taking a step back and focusing is perfectly ok.
It’s ok to be critical of your work too. It’s healthy and can generally help you find out what skills you’ve learned and things you want to improve. Some cosplayers find motivation in comparing their cosplays to others. “I saw so-and-so create this beautiful cosplay, so I’m going to try my own version!” And yet I know people who become overly critical of their work to the point they want to outright quit. They compare themselves to everyone else so much that they’re disappointed because they aren’t producing award-winning costumes. And it’s understandable. But if you’re comparing your 3 years of skill against someone who’s been creating cosplays for 10 then you’re not giving yourself a fair chance. A lot of cosplayers are self taught, and a lot aren’t. A cosplayer with self-taught skill against someone who’s in fashion design school will usually have a lot of differences. We learn as we go; as we need to learn certain skills. I didn’t start properly ironing my seams until I was 1.5 years into making my own stuff. But that’s a basic skill that people who take classes are taught from the beginning.
I have found that motivating myself for my own personal reasons is the most effective after being in a slump. I don’t worry about what everyone else wants me to do or producing a cosplay that can match someone I saw on Instagram. I love cosplay so much that I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I’m in no rush to get really good really fast because I know I have a lifetime of this ahead of me. I’d rather hone my skills by updating current costumes and making a handful of new ones rather than wearing a cosplay once and then forgetting about it. That’s just my style, and it motivates me to constantly improve my own skills.
My mom has been fighting cancer since November. She’s been in and out of the hospital, in and out of treatments and brain surgeries. She has some personal favorite cosplays of mine that she just adores. So I’ve been wanting to update those cosplays so she can see how much I’ve grown. So my momma can see her daughter be proud, happy and passionate about something. She’s always been so supportive of me that I want to be proud of myself to make her happy. She already is, but it’s so satisfying to have people who support you surround you.
If you ever find yourself questioning your skills and evaluating yourself as a cosplayer; please don’t give up right away. Give yourself a break to breathe and an opportunity to gain new perspective. Revisit what made you want to cosplay in the beginning and find that part of yourself again. Discover something that makes you feel passionate and excited and start creating! Y’all out your feelings with people close to you, those who understand you and support you. And if you’re thinking about starting cosplay and are struggling with confidence and skill - try it out. Buy a costume, make it, thrift it - whatever you want. But don’t sell yourself short. You are worth more than that! Your happiness is worth more than that! Give it a shot and see where it takes you.
Take a dumb idea and make it awesome.