I've debated posting this for a while, so here it goes! Hope it doesn't sound as weird as I think it will. D:
We put so much thought in everything we do on our weight. Some "fat" girls want to be skinny. Some skinny girls want to gain some curves. Once we've slimmed down and reached that weight, we realize that it's not what we thought it would be.
When I was in high school, I became anorexic. I went from being curvy with a nice pair of C cups to 102 pounds at 5'7". I went from a size 9 in jeans to a size 2. Let me tell you that a size 2 on me didn't look anything like I thought it would. Looking back, I would kill to be size 9 again. I don't even really remember what made me want to lose weight in the first place. Was it all those gorgeous women I saw in magazines? On commercials? Did I think my boyfriend would like me better that way?
When I hit a size 0 in jeans and my pelvic bones were sticking out of my skin, I decided I'd gone too far. Being anorexic KILLED my metabolism, and the worst thing for someone with zero self esteem and recovering from ED to have happen is to gain a bunch of weight in a short span of time.
I moved straight out of high school to Chicago, and gained about 60 pounds. I was back to eating the same yummy foods I ate with no problem before I had my ED! I was loving life again! But, it made me gain weight so fast. I got horrible stretch marks EVERYWHERE on my body -- my stomach, my arms, my breasts, my sides, my thighs, back of my legs... Seriously, you name it, I probably got stretch marks there.
My self-esteem went from zero to "I seriously hate myself" in less than six months. When I say I hit rock bottom in terms of self esteem, I mean it: I found out my boyfriend cheated on me, and when I asked him why he said it was because he preferred "thin" girls. My old friends asked me how I got so fat. I dropped out of cosplaying because I didn't even like myself in normal clothes, much less in costume. And in the Summer of 2010 I hit my worst low I'd ever had: I tried to kill myself.
When I was seeking treatment for my ED, my doctor told me that eating disorders never truly leave you.
You think you've overcome your illness, but a few months down the road you start thinking those thoughts about what others might think of you and you slide right back to square one. After being in the hospital for six days following my attempt on my life, I had people come visit me that were supportive, sad, and even angry with me. My friend asked me why I let my stupid issues get to me so bad that I would hurt everyone around me by killing myself. I was so enraged that someone would think that I would ever harm myself over "stupid issues", that I didn't think of everything, that I didn't try everything. She didn't understand what I'd been through.
When I left the hospital I came to the best revelation I've had to date: I don't owe these people a damn thing. I don't owe it to them to be skinny, I don't owe it to them to be flawless on all my facebook photos, I don't owe it to them to live up to their standards.
That night I went home, hugged my cat, and dusted off my old sewing machine. It took me a year and half to make a simple ass costume, a bunny suit. My favorite anime character is Asuka from Evangelion, and I thought I would NEVER be able to cosplay a 14 year old. Then I found an amazing figure of her in a bunny outfit, and I thought, I could do that. So I spent a year and half of off and on sewing, berating myself for thinking I could pull it off, calling myself a whale, going through periods of severe depression, getting over it and telling myself I will look totally amazeballs, and then rinsing and repeating many many times. Finally, a week before the con, I had *finally* finished it.
I tucked in to some nylons to make my legs look schweet, wiggled in to some shapwear and donned my bunny suit and pranced around that con like a loony. I was a smash hit. I found pictures of myself in every corner of cosplay albums from that con. Men and women alike asked me to pose for or with them, I was interviewed, got free stuff for posing at booths with their products, etc. Now, half of that reason was because I was dressed as a damned bunny girl, but the other half was because I was owning that costume like a mofo. I didn't care if I was fat to anybody in that con, I was confident and it showed in all my photos. The high of the con lasted a week, and I gained enough of a following to start a cosplay fan page on facebook. I was happier than I'd ever been in my life.
A friend told me one day he'd found a picture of me posted on 4chan in the cosplay section. The person who posted it liked the costume and posted in a "best cosplay" thread, but after looking at the thread myself I was shocked to find so many people calling me a whale, making snarky comments, saying I disgraced bunny costumes, I made them vomit, I hate sausage legs, etc. Then a whole slew of pictures made their way over to /b/...
The comments were horrendous. Someone linked to my FB page. I had to close it because it was getting so much hate. I got messages saying that I had no business cosplaying and that I looked gross. Somehow my personal info got leaked. I was at work when I got a call and the voicemail was someone saying they knew where I lived and were going to rape me.
All of my accounts (even this cosplay.com account) were hacked, and someone cleaned out my personal FB and posted horrible photoshopped pictures of me on there, calling me a fat whore, etc.
All this over one costume? Why were the people so intent on tearing me apart when they knew nothing about me? I even became a meme on 4chan. "Fat Asuka" I was called. Nasty comments were left on my dA. Eva fan sites, the same sites I had been a part of and contributed to for years made fun of my costumes and me and called me a whale, and when I told them it was my costume they immediately apologized. You're sorry you got caught being a jerk?
I immediately went back to my old ways of hating myself and lashing out at people because of it. Eventually, my new boyfriend sat me down and told me straight, "Those people hide behind the internet and think that they can say whatever they want. They are bullies
. They have insecurities and they tear you down because it makes them feel better." I knew this to be true. Why was I so upset about these people? These people I'd never met? If someone said those things to my face I'd punch them in to next Tuesday. The positive feedback I got at the convention were from real people, and these were lonely people on the internet who hung out on 4chan all day and bully people and are racist, sexist homophobic lackeys. And you know what? After wearing that and some other costumes to cons this year no one has once said "Thar she blooooooows!" to me to my face.
You're not cosplaying for their approval.
You either put blood, sweat, and tears in to that thing or you paid good, hard earned money for it. You didn't cosplay specifically for that one random internet douchecanoe's approval, did you? Of course not!
Then, back in earlyish June, someone sent me a message saying I'd been featured on Cosplay In America's facebook! He didn't put in the description, "Great plus size cosplayer! She's so brave! etc." He just left as a great cosplay, regardless of my weight. Sure, there were one or two comments about my weight by a few losers, but 99% of the comments were people telling me I looked fabulous and my cosplay was beautiful. (You can read the comments here, if you'd like: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=1&theater
Then CiA contacted me asking if I'd like to do an interview with them. Me? They want to interview a "fat" cosplayer?
Then, I got messages on facebook from people saying they were overweight and inspired them to cosplay again or not worry about what others think when they are rocking their cos. They told me about their horror stories of finding unflattering pictures on the internet and horrible comments about their looks. People would try to thinly veil their snark about their weight by saying things like, "Oh I don't mind if overweight people cosplay, I just personally don't care for it.
There were support groups, galleries, panels, and meetups galore for girls (and guys!) who were plus size cosplayers and just wanted to enjoy themselves while in costume. Being in that environment helped me to be the person I am today, and I can proudly declare that that person is the person who just don't give a fuck.
Today I workout to maintain my size.
I lift weights, I eat right (sometimes >_<) and remember to treat myself every once in a while. I encourage those who want to get fit for themselves and nobody else. I don't put a number on my goal weight, just stop until I'm happy with myself. You want to drop 60 pounds for a costume! Rock on, but make sure you do it in a healthy way (don't kill your metabolism like I did!) and make sure it's for YOU.
If there is only one tip I could ever give someone who wants to looks good in cosplay -- CONFIDENCE! You sulk around look like you're not confident in your looks, people will notice. You walk around that con like you own the place and rock that costume and people will notice, no matter your weight. I've seen girls and guys of every body type that exists do badass cosplays, and the last thought on my mind is their weight. Take it from me -- you will never those cosplayers who retouch themselves in to oblivion. And you shouldn't want to. You're going to look damn good no matter what you do. This summer I'm planning on doing Asuka in her plugsuit, which you guys all know is a very tight, unforgiving costume.
But I'm gonna rock that mofo. Wish me luck, and happy cosplaying guys! I'm going to go pass out since I stayed up way past my bedtime.