While #1 and the other two seemed most interested in running around and meeting other cosplayers and making new friends, I was more interested in the panels. Over the weekend I got to sit in panels and listen to celebrities tell stories... I got to see Alex Kingston (whom I've been a fan of since ER, but loved her in Doctor Who as well), Karen Gillan (loved her in Doctor Who and love her in Jumanji too), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek TNG), George Takei (Mister Sulu himself), and a panel with David Tennant on live Skype chat from his home (as his wife just had a new baby). I also went to panels about gender-bending in cosplay (and learned what crossplay is). I tried to go to the panel on posing and photography for cosplay, but had a coughing fit halfway through and had to leave. #1 and I went to a panel about Lolita fashion - something I'd never heard of, but it was quite informative. I also went to a panel about how cosplay and fandoms can help with anxiety and depression. That one was pretty good too.
On day 1 and 2 I was in my OC cosplay (yet un-named, non-gendered person), and I had enough confidence by day two to actually walk around and go to a panel on my own. This is huge. As I've mentioned before, I have Asperger's and one of the side effects is that I have such severe social anxiety that I am unable to go anywhere without someone I know being with me at all times. I'm talking about not being able to excuse yourself from a room to go to the bathroom without someone walking out and back in with you. Not being able to go down another isle at the store to check something out, not being able to order food at a restaurant, and having to plan around always doing something with a chaperone - it means missing out on a lot of things because my interests and the schedule for things that interest me do not always match up with other peoples'. But on Saturday, I was confident enough with the layout of the convention center that I went to a panel alone, and walked around a bit. It was something I can't really remember doing (without a service dog anyway) since I was in school. I've gotten so used to being a closeted hermit that I've forgotten how it feels to have a taste of freedom.
Day 3 my dear daughter talked me into attempting to cosplay a known character (Hange Zoe from Attack on Titan). Problem being that I don't own the clothes the character is known for... No white pants, no yellow button up shirt, no Attack on Titan jacket or straps. So all I could do was put my hair up like that character, wear my Hange (Hanji) keychain (the only thing I bought at the convention), and hope people might take a stab in the dark at who I was. I posted videos on TikTok, Instagram, and Tubmlr while we were there, but nobody stopped to say hello. In fact, only three people spoke to me at the convention at all... one vendor to ask what I might be looking for (Hange/Hanji merchandise) on day one, one person asked me what was up the stairs while I was sitting on a set of steps (no idea) on day two, and one person asked if they could use the chair beside me on day three. I admit, I had to remind myself the entire time to keep my head up. I'm so used to staring at the floor and trying to avoid everyone, it was a whole new experience to walk around with my head up and actually look around.
I also found that the first two days when I could easily pass as being male, if I accidentally made eye contact with someone, almost always they'd look away, even before I could. Nobody seemed to feel the need to start a conversation with me because I made eye contact. Something I could never avoid when dressed as a girl. Why is this? But on the third day when I had to wear my hair in a feminine fashion, I became cripplingly insecure again. I think some answers came from the gender-bending panel. Three female cosplayers were hosting the panel, and one of them explained it quite well. She said when she dressed in a male cosplay, and her sister dressed in a female cosplay, her sister got a lot more attention, but most of it was "oh you're hot" and "can I get a picture with you?" kind of interactions. While she got less attention but the interactions she had were a lot more genuine. I think this is a huge part of why I really am only interested in cosplaying male or gender-neutral characters. And besides, let's face it - I do not have the body to pull off an attractive anime girl in any realm, and even if I tried, I don't have the bold personality needed to flash off more skin than can me seen in a Minnesota winter. I'm a prude - or so I've been told.
My dear husband is considering starting a website for our cosplay, since #1 cosplays, and #3 is starting to get into it (she just made an OC Hogwarts Professor on TikTok and has as many followers as I do already). I'm not sure how I feel about that. ... The website idea, not my daughter being more popular than me (no surprise there). I mean, who wants to see my miserable attempts at cosplay? I'm a nobody, and I don't even know how to put on make-up. My "look at me, I'm a girl" phase lasted a couple months at best in high school and I had some hand-me-down eye-shadow (one blue, one silver, both used), and two very used eyeliner pencils (black and blue, about 2 inches long each). That was the extent of my make up - and nobody ever taught me how to use it. I guessed. I mean, I suppose there's got to be makeup and cosplay tutorials on YouTube and whatnot, and if I can teach myself to crochet a scarf and turn that knowledge into making bags and purses for the kids and blankets and stuff... I should be able to get an idea of make up, but the thought terrifies me for some reason. It's expensive (make up in general), and I can't help but think that practicing and trying new things is wasteful. I feel like I'm just way too old to be starting into this. I'm in my 30's now, and I have no idea how to use make up. I'm having body image issues for the first time in my life, I have never dyed my hair, and I don't understand how people can wear a wig all day (so hot and itchy). Besides, I touch my face all the time and would inevitably smear any make up I put on. I don't know. Maybe we could get into making props or making and selling accessories or something on the side to help fund the cosplay expenses.
The convention was fun though and when I asked Tony if we could do another, perhaps one Harry Potter themed - he immediately pulled up a convention scheduled for next year in Florida. Florida? That's a heck of a drive for an amateur cosplayer. He says he's game if I can cut down on my animals so it's easier to travel and we can save up some extra money. Since I was already planning to downsize the animals, it seems like a good motivation. Perhaps I should re-read the books again and take notes on character information. I know #3 wants to cosplay Luna Lovegood. I'm currently enamored with a cosplayer who does an awesome rendition of Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. I might want to gender-bend to be one of them... if I can get my body into shape. No way would either of those characters have a "mom bod." Of course, a trip to Florida would be crazy expensive. I don't think we've ever taken a family vacation. We'd have to save up... a lot. I refuse to beg for handouts, though Tony is considering a Patreon... once we figure out content.
But I digress (a lot).
Today we had a rabbit return. His name is Dexter and he is Peanut's brother (out of Kaelyn and Sushi). He's such a sweet boy. He sat in my lap most of the way home and hopped around at my feet the rest of the time. We have him in the house as he was a house rabbit in his previous home. Their landlord said no pets, so here he is. I'm secretly hoping that nobody buys him and that I can give him back when they eventually move out to a new home... but in the meantime, Dexter will be staying with us and I will casually be trying to find him a home. Of course #1 is highly allergic to rabbits, so having him in the house is not the greatest, but it'll have to work for now.