All I really need to know I learned from COSPLAYING

"Were I unwed I would take you in a manly fashion." Maggie and Kyle cosplaying at the event as (obviously) Kaylee and Wash.
Part of being in Geekdom House is participating in the geek culture and community. This past Tuesday (because Dawn always gets in trouble on Tuesdays) was an event that we simply could not miss: Sing-A-Long with Feeling, Once More!

It began as a dream of one die-hard Buffy fan, Kendra Monk, and turned into something best described as a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing, except it was comprised of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and the musical Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling.” The night was made complete with mini-PhD degrees in Horribleness (that we were given to wave around at the appropriate time) and paper hearts that loudly snapped when you broke them (to use during those times when Spike gets rejected). The event was a smashing success.

Given the relatively smallness of the event (and the promise of prizes), I decided to give my first go at this thing called cosplay. My first idea—a cardboard adaptation of the Serenity ship combined with a long black haired wig and a name tag that says: “Hi my name is River Tam”—did not work out. Plan B: I thought I could pass for Wash and it was off to MCC Thrift Store and Value Village to make that dream come alive.

Along the way I learned a few things about cosplay and about life:

1) Life (like cosplaying) starts with the joy of an idea. Joy in life starts with a day that has a specific purpose and direction.

2) Life (like cosplaying) is better when you’re not comparing yourself to others. It is bad to compare your outsides to other’s outsides but it is infinitely worse to compare your insides to other’s outsides yet for some reason we all do it far too often. You will always fall short and odds are they are doing the same with you… and falling short.

3) Life (like cosplaying) is better when you celebrate others. Despite what Western Civilization will tell you, life is far more exciting and interesting when it becomes a cooperation instead of a competition.

4) Life (like cosplaying) is about being okay if it’s the wrong Hawaiian shirt. If you are on the wrong side of the fine line between “attention to detail” and “perfectionist,” you will never create anything.

5) Life (like cosplaying) is not as complicated as you think it is. Every spaceship was built by first attaching two pieces together. Take everything one step at a time.

6) Life (like cosplaying) is not about winning the prize. The world has numerous definitions of success and any time you achieve it, you’re reminded of where you are not successful. You define the parameters of your own success.

7) Life (like cosplaying) is about playing with dinosaurs. Come on… I dressed as Wash from Firefly. The ensemble wasn’t complete without a plastic T-Rex and Stegosaurus. The best part was enjoying the odd parts of life.

8) Life (like cosplaying) is about the little things. It is easy for us to be discouraged by so many things in the world and all that rough stuff just seems to stick around for so long while the good stuff always seems fleeting. Make a habit of enjoying the little, daily, things—or the plastic dinosaurs that are a part of your costume.

9) Life (like cosplaying) is a treasure hunt. Whether it is creating something from scratch with your bare hands or finding the right pieces of your costume at a secondhand store—this whole thing is meant to be an adventure and, honestly, the best part is the journey.

10) Life (like cosplaying) isn’t about you. I started compiling my costume not for anyone else’s benefit but my own. I knew there was going to be some prizes and I wanted to win… I quickly realized that the smile on the face of others was the best reward. When the judges needed to confer about who was going to win what prize there was this moment where the finalists (myself included) were left on stage to stand around awkwardly. With my dinosaurs in hand I stepped forward and reenacted the iconic “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal” scene, much to the audience’s amusement.

In life, when we get so wrapped up about ourselves, our own goals, our own dreams, our own lives, we miss something. We are a communal people and community is the real prize.

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To all you cosplayers out there that put so much time and effort into your art and the community, I salute you. A special thanks to Silvan Cosplay, BambiStark Cosplay, Manitoba Mando, and Kid Remington for inspiration!

To all you Firefly flans who echo the refrain, “TOO SOON,” RIP Wash.

Kyle Rudge

Kyle Rudge

Admiral at Geekdom House
Kyle is an avid web developer and programmer with a strong tendency to be distracted by marathon watching various television shows. While he loved to write in several languages, most of them are based on 1's and 0's.
Kyle Rudge