Cosplay Saved My Life… Or At Least My Sanity

550843_409977535707449_715499246_nI don’t remember the first time I realized that I wasn’t happy with my body. I don’t remember the first time I looked at myself in the mirror and started pushing my thighs apart to create a gap between my legs or smoothing down my “extra chins”, pulling my face back to look like the victim of a bad face lift. I don’t remember the first time I looked at a woman in a movie and then looked at myself, realizing I didn’t look at her.

I DO remember the first time a boy rejected me because I wasn’t up to his physical standards. I do remember the crippling anxiety attacks in college where I couldn’t leave the house for days at a time because I was terrified of people looking at me and judging me. I do remember sobbing into the toilet while I tried to make myself throw up the lunch I had just eaten. I remember hating the way that I looked, the way that I felt. I remember hating eating. I remember hating MYSELF.

Body issues have constantly plagued me. I’ve laid in bed most nights, wishing to wake up the next morning in a different body. I’ve had break downs in dressing rooms, envied and secretly hated my prettier/skinnier friends, and destroyed relationships just because I didn’t feel up to par with the person who wanted me. I obsessed – constantly – about the way that I looked. It didn’t matter if I was at my lowest weight of 125lbs or my highest of 180lbs: I still saw a marshmallow thighed beast every time I looked in the mirror.

The first time I cosplayed was about five years ago. I had casually dressed up in the past, but this was my first REAL experience with it – wig, makeup, character personified. I dressed up like an anime character named Suiseiseki from the series Rozen Maiden. But despite the fact that I liked the character, the main reason that I chose her was that her costume was a long, sweeping gown that covered my “hideous body” from head to toe.

I had a blast. I loved posing for pictures and getting attention, but I couldn’t help that people were judging me behind their smiles and cameras. I felt that people were thinking: “ugh, look at that tall chubby girl, she’s not small and petite and cute like the character she’s personifying. Ew. Why does she even bother?” It was ridiculous for me to think this way because I looked at all the other cosplayers – other humans of every shape, size, and look – and admired and loved them for embodying characters they loved.

I tried again, and again. I put on more and more costumes, became more knowledgable about my trade. The eyes didn’t feel as harsh and overwhelming, but I still felt insecure. However, I continued to push myself beyond my comfort level. I befriended other cosplayers, and finally I reached a turning point: I was asked to be part of a massive cosplay group for San Diego Comic-con, 2010 with a bunch of other beautiful, awesome women. We decided to dress up as the Female Furies – a group of characters from the DC Comics Universe – and I agreed to cosplay Knockout because I thought she was a badass (which she is).

However, Knockout’s costume isn’t yards of fabric to hide my curves behind. It is a skin tight leotard with a thong and boots – and by agreeing to cosplay Knockout I could already feel the anxiety building. But I figured that being held accountable for this costume would give me motivation to work out. And I did: I ran. I biked everywhere. I dieted hard. And it didn’t make a difference. The months went by and I was still as curvy as ever. The panic kicked in – should I back out? But I couldn’t. I was flying to San Diego Comic-con the next day, and I wasn’t going to let these ladies down. I COULDN’T.

The fateful Saturday arrived when I donned spandex leotard, my thighs and hips bared to the world. At first, I wanted to simultaneously cry and hide: behind other attendees, behind my purse, behind my fellow cosplayers. But as people stopped us for photos, I could feel myself loosening up. I felt the eyes – not judgemental and cruel, but approving and admiring. Something happened inside of me, standing there amidst a crowd of photographers and fans: I started to love myself.

It was like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. I felt a feeling I had never felt before: I felt SEXY. I felt BEAUTIFUL. I felt I was a perfect embodiment of that character, and by the end of the day I was literally strutting around the convention like I owned the place. I had never felt so good about myself in my entire life.

The high lasted for days, for WEEKS. I didn’t collapse on my closet floor when selecting outfits in the morning, I didn’t look at the photos popping up on me online and shudder. I looked in the mirror and smiled at myself, rather than scowling and feeling like I couldn’t breathe.

I planned for future cosplays. Instead of going through character pictures and selecting the ones that covered me up the most, I picked the ones with the tightest spandex – the characters that spoke to my personality, not my aesthetic “ideals”.

Thus began my journey to self acceptance through cosplay. This hobby has helped me more emotionally and mentally than anything else I have tried or experienced. Every time I pull on spandex I transform – I feel sexy, I feel empowered, and most of all I feel HAPPY.

Cosplay saved my life.

 


Molly McIsaac lives in Seattle, WA but cosplays everywhere. You can follow her on twitter or visit her blog, The Geeky Peacock.

Comments

  1. I’m happy you feel better about yourself and kind of sad that you ever felt badly.

  2. There was a comment here a few minutes ago, but it got deleted (not by the author, I assume).
    I had a reply to that comment, but now that conversation won’t happen because the comment is no longer here. One of the ways the internet pales in comparison to real-world interactions, I suppose.

    • I saw it, it made me laugh and I just wanted to tell the author that. He’s over where now?

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      You don’t have to agree with Molly’s thesis. But be civil. Be substantive.

      Thanks.

    • I was gonna comment with “in b4 some misogynist shitstain makes a mean comment”, but apparently I wasn’t fast enough.

    • Yes, criticism of this article must be rooted in misogyny. There are no other possibilities.

    • You’re not replying to the author of the comment that got deleted, in case there’s a confusion.

      I was simply disappointed that a potentially interesting conversation was impossible because the comment that got deleted was somehow not sufficiently sensitive to the issue. That degree of self-importance is really counterproductive, imo, considering that everyone (myself included) would have a chance to reply and counterpoint the idea that an attractive female will always see herself that way. (I know this issue is not gender specific, but this text was written by a woman, so that’s what we’re talking about).

      Either way, at least two people won’t engage in this topic because someone thought that this was somehow too important or solemn for someone to crack a silly joke. It’s a shame.

    • You’re right, Is1200. It’s completely possible that she didn’t think she was hot before she put on the skintight leotard. The real lesson here is: “be hot and you will feel better.” A valuable one indeed.

    • I gotta agree with @Is1200, I wish the comment hadn’t been deleted. I don’t believe it was sexist or that that’s what the author was trying to come across as. Insensitive? Maybe but we’ll never know now. I thought the original post really touched on something in Molly’s article. Unfortunately I can only remember the gist of the first line and even that’s fading.

    • Aww I saw that comment when it was first posted also, I laughed. White knights out in full force, wtf is this Reddit?

  3. I was part of a study in my Sociology class not long ago about body images corresponding to Gender. One of the dicoveries was that women’s ideal body shape was 2 sizes smaller than men’s ideal body shape of women. Reading this kinda drove that home.

    • Yeah, there are obviously exceptions, but I think that in general the media (particularly the fashion industry) sort of conditions many women to want a body type that many guys (and doctors of both sexes) would tend to find a bit too thin”, sometimes in a very unhealthy way. Not trying to start anything, because I’m well aware that some women are naturally thin and are very healthy that way, but in general, yeah, in the real world more men definitely prefer a voluptuous woman… even though our media images don’t always bear that out. And then every year or so a voluptuous, healthy-lookin’ woman like Jennifer Lawrence or Christina Hendricks will come along, and a hundred articles will come out asking “Is so-and-so FAT?” It’s ridiculous. There’s this strand of media that (not necessarily with any diabolical intent) tries to convince women (and some men) that anything over 98 lbs is “fat”.

      It’s a real problem, has been for a long time, and ironically I think people’s interest in other, alternative media sources can actually make them realize that their own particular normal body type is usually just fine. I think the best situation would simply be for everyone (in this case young girls) to just not ever become so susceptible to what the media thinks in the first place. But given the civilization we live in, I guess even something as wacky as cosplay can actually do some good in remedying false and unhealthy notions of “one ideal” body type is.

      Good article, Molly.

    • @Flapjaxx, I’m curious why it is females who have these self-destructive body images/self esteem. Is it possible their brains maybe more susceptible to this media influence or is it that they are just the targeted demographic? It is probably the latter but if the former is true then awareness would go a long way to improving the situation. Interesting fact: in tropical islands before they are Americanized the women have been proven to have a healthy self-image. After Americanization and the people are intorduced to television women’s self-esteem goes down in a noticeable way. That was something my class learned about before we began the body image study .

    • @Itho – Why? Because human beings (and all animals) are hard-wired to reproduce and sustain the species. All actions we take are inherently based in that one base protocal – continuation of the species.

    • I mental “protocol.”

    • “human beings (and all animals) are hard-wired to reproduce and sustain the species. All actions we take are inherently based in that one base protocol – continuation of the species.”
      @Grandturk, I’m calling bullshit on that for 2 reasons; 1) saying humans just blindly follow their instincts like other animals I believe sells our species short because we are not entirely like other animals, we don’t have mating seasons, we don’t move from one climate to the next every season when the weather changes, we (most of us) actually care and raise our young for many many years, we invent tools to increase our quality of life (versus just enough to stay alive). 2) I don’t believe EVERYTHING we do is to continue the species. A few minutes ago I was playing “Skyrim”, how does that help me find a mate to reproduce with? I’m not even looking for a mate in the game, I’m having too much fun killing dragons and raiding dungeons.

      Also I don’t really see what this has to do with poor self-esteem in women.

    • re: “Also I don’t really see what this has to do with poor self-esteem in women.”

      Females are hard-wired to find a mate and reproduce. To do so, they have to make themselves as attractive as possible to lure a mate. When they feel that they are not as attractive as another women, they look for ways to rectify it.

      Look, there’s a lot more going on, but that’s the absolute base human desire. Sure, there’s logic and reasoning and art piled on top of it, but to deny that instincts such as these exist and provide motivation is fatuous.

      As for playing Skyrim instead of doing something else, well… its no Fallout.

    • @Grandturk, ok I think I get where you’re coming from but I still have to disagree. You think Molly (and other women around the world) have these destructive self-images of themselves because of their desire to be attractive and find a mate. However it is not natural to have these poor self images. It’s not caused by their “natural instincts”, it’s caused by a mental disorder (or condition, whichever you prefer) that what’s in front of them in the mirror will never be good enough which leads to anxiety,depression,rejection, etc. That may stem from their “natural instincts” but it is not their instincts themselves which cause the poor body image. I’m not denying the existence of natural intincts in humans, but I believe we have some measure of control on how we follow them.

      As for “Skyrim”, I much prefer it to “Fallout”. However I think they’re made by the same company so it’s basically ham or bacon, it’s the same thing is just up to personal tastes.

    • Base level, root subconscious desires. These are not active thoughts. They are underlying currents in all animals. You don’t actively think about eating and shelter, but they’re there and provide motivating forces.

  4. Tell you what – looking at that picture above – sitting on that railing CANNOT be comfortable.

  5. Molly, this is SO inspiring! I’ve always had “body issues” too – thank you so much for being so honest and open with your struggle. I’ve always wanted to make a Mara Jade Skywalker costume (like my picture icon), but the thought of wearing something leather and skin-tight always made me cringe. Now I’m inspired to get healthier and post a picture of ME in costume!

    • First of all: I am so, so happy that I could help you with your own body issues! They are a horrible monster, and I understand how they can completely consume your life and emotional well being.

      THAT being said… I think you should cosplay Mara Jade ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. If you don’t work out, so what? You are cosplaying a character that you love, and I guarantee that escaping into the role of a strong female character will do more for you than you realize.

  6. “Yeah, I guess the costumes had something to do with it. It just feels strange, you know? To come out and admit that to somebody.” – Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl), Watchmen issue #7

    Bravo Molly

  7. Molly, thanks for sharing. I am glad cosplay, and by extension comics, could play a positive role in your life.

    I feel, tho I have no scientific data to back this up, that there are more positive and diverse and varied role models for women and young girls these days and that is seemingly having a positive impact on self-image. Just to take a recent example, the cartoon Young Justice was filled with strong and capable women that was ethnically diverse. The show also had an underlying message of acceptance of once identity. I would think things might be getting better. I hope so for the future generations of girls out there.

    • Can someone explain how this works again?

      So, me WANTING to see a woman in tights, with little to no clothes, is demeaning, demoralizing and sexist. Some would say perverted.
      When a woman puts on said outfit and gets attention, its empowering and self-esteem boosting.

      So what we’re actually saying is that it doesn’t matter what the act or outfit is… the only thing that matters when delineating between ‘sexist’ and ‘acceptable’ is who chose it in the first place. Its pretty much the female-version of the N-word. Did a black guy say it? Its ok. Did a non-black person say it? RACIST!

    • http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/double%20standard

      I mean, its in Websters so it must be true.

    • I’ll explain it, Jesse:

      Wanting to see a woman in tights, with little-to-no clothes is not sexist. Treating her like a sub-human while she’s WEARING those tights is sexist. Oggling, cat-calls, and assuming things about her simply because she’s wearing tights is sexist.

    • CaseyJustice, well said.

  8. I’ve never had to courage to comment on an ifb thread before… but thanks to your article I think I can get over my negative self-image and start contributing.

    Kidding–this article was great and emphasized the personal hell that so many women I know have put themselves through for years (and plenty of men too). I think that as we lift the stigma of sexual repression and improve our society’s awareness of the importance of physical health, we can start healing the damage we cause ourselves everyday by comparing the image in the mirror to the image on the screen. Through cosplay we get to actually reconstruct ourselves based on that screen/page image. It’s a step towards asserting the reality that our lives are in our own hands–we can be the heroes of our own stories every day.

    Keep causing kids to crush at cons! Consonance!

  9. Thanks for sharing such a personal story in such a public forum. It takes guts, and I give you kudos for it.

  10. I’m glad that you had a good time with your cosplay group, but I hardly see this as “saving” your life. All you’ve done is channel your insecurities into wanting attention from strangers. Revolving your life and sense of self-worth around what others think of you is never a healthy mentality to be in.

    You will know your life is “saved” when you start working out for your own health instead of to impress people at a con and when you start valuing the relationships you have with people instead of valuing how you look.

    • You see, that’s just the thing: I DON’T care what other people think of me now. Cosplay helped me begin that journey to self acceptance.

    • I don’t understand why you think that she primarily wants attention from strangers. I mean, obviously everyone enjoys getting a thumbs up for their creative endeavors, whether it’s putting together a costume or some art or some other thing you might share at cons, but surely the main thrust of the article is the joy, kinship with like-minded creators, and even redemptive power of creative expression for its own sake.

    • Because she never felt so good about herself in all her life until strangers looked at her approvingly — until strangers made her feel sexy and beautiful. It has nothing to do with creativity or craft. this isnt an article about a creative endevor. It has everything to do with her desire to feel desired. That’s the point of the article. The cosplay wasn’t even necessary. She would’ve gotten the same reaction at a car show.

    • @mcguffin Couple things here. First, you really are missing the point of the article. A car show isn’t the same, because Molly doesn’t seem particularly passionate about cars. It’s not just the reaction from others – but doing something you love, & being able to get past your insecurities through doing it. The level of anxiety, the purging, etc. – those are extreme afflictions, not necessarily uncommon today, but not normal levels of “I don’t like ___ about myself.” Your statement seems like it’s coming from a place of not understanding those low points at all.

      Second, you’re discrediting her achievement of bettering herself internally, based on how she got there. (And really, you don’t get a rush when someone pays extra attention to you? That’s human nature. How many people work out, decide to dress better, stop picking their nose, etc. – so that the opposite, or same, sex will look at them better?) And it was in a way that wasn’t harmful to others. … People are sloppy, chaotic messes. It takes a lot to work your shit out in life. Even if the attention WAS what got her past the debilitating insecurities, what would that matter – in a human, empathetic sense? I’m saying, good for her for working some of her issues out, & then sharing them with the maelstrom of the internet.

    • @jasonhart I do understand those low points, which fuels my dislike for the article. I understand anxiety as an affliction unto itself as well as social anxiety.I also understand hating your own body. I hated being rail thin my entire life so much that I completely dedicated myself to working out, sticking to a rigid, joyless diet to this day to make myself look the way I want to look. I did get past my self-hate and insecurity, but I did it through hard work, setting my own personal goals and achieving them. Yes, I wanted people to be attracted to me, but my hatred for my own body completely overshadowed that. And by the time I got where I wanted to be, I didn’t feel half as good about how I looked as I did about the work. It wasn’t the work or the creativity that got Molly over her insecurities. It wasn’t something that she derived from within. It wasn’t the craft of cosplay itself because she had cosplayed many times before. What got her to changed her self perception was being a chick with a curvaceous body in a leotard at a con and having attention and admiration lavished on her by men who love curvaceous bodes (Which, lets face it, is most of us. But apparently the message hasnt been received because the internet is overloaded with women lamenting their big boobs, small waists, and wide hips. How awful for them). What if she didn’t have the figure to pull of Knockout? For Christ’s sake, if you have the figure to pull off a character whose is so-named because she’s stupid-hot you need to stop complaining, at least out loud where other people who don’t have such a desirable figure can hear you. Those men and women who aren’t blessed with such conventionally attractive bodies can’t just put on a Knockout or Nightwing costume and have the same experience. If I had daughters, like a poster below does, I would not want them to take that message to heart, because they might not be so priveliged to look like Molly. And then what?

      Yes, I am discrediting her “achievement” based on how she got there. There are good ways of making yourself feel god about yourself and there are shallow ways of making yourself feel good about yourself. I feel compelled to criticize the shallows ways because I don’t think women, especially young women should internalize those lessons. The world is already excessively judging women by their looks. There’s no need to feed into that by basing your self worth on your ability to get your ass stared at at a con. I hope to have kids one day. Maybe daughters. I do NOT want them taking this message to heart. I want them to understand that the are not just things to be objectified. I want their pride to be rooted in the fact that they made a badass costume with their own hands, not in the fact that they just happen to have the body to pull it off. That is why it matters.

      Also, I appreciate your taking the time to criticize my points and not simply taking the easy way out bywriting me off as a misogynist. Thank you.

    • mcguffin, you should read my comments below for further insight into my journey of healing.

      I just wanted to comment to correct a small thing: Knockout is named Knockout because she punches people. SUPER STRENGTH.

    • Molly, pretty sure Knockout’s name is intended to be a double entendre. In her secret identity she was a stripper.

      Your healing journey is certainly more nuanced. I’m just working with the text of the article and discussing whether or not its message is one that has merit.

    • @mcguffin ~ Okay, man. Now I get where you were coming from. I didn’t with the first comment. I still think this is a hard conversation. It relies a lot on nuance & on the writer’s (& reader’s) motivations, which can be tricky, convoluted things, even to the person expressing them. I guess I can see both sides. I still think Molly’s point was more of a “here’s something good that happened to me & I want to share my happiness” than a “here’s what you should do too” statement. But when you put out an article, yeah, you are releasing it into the zeitgeist. And that does create a broader conversation, one where intent & the way others might interpret it do factor in. As a father of a pre-teen girl, yes, I think if this article is read a certain way, a kid could draw some unhealthy conclusions. MockingJay gets into that a lot below, & you can’t discredit her point of view on the matter either. Ultimately… I dunno. I wave the white flag or something. It’s tough, & I’m definitely not qualified to argue more than what I have already.

  11. Molly, I’m sure you don’t need “JokersNuts” to tell you. But you are beautiful! Thank you for this wonderful article. I love seeing stuff like this on iFanboy.

  12. Molly, I’m glad that you found a creative outlet that serves as a confidence booster. That said, you should also think about developing confidence that does not rely on the approval of other people. At the risk of sounding like Tony Robbins, your confidence and self-worth should come from WITHIN.

    And I recommend you stop caring about whether or not you’re attractive. Attractiveness is only as important as you make it. Why do you need to feel sexy in order to feel good about yourself? Isn’t it possible to feel good about yourself without that?

    • Seconded. I appreciate the message and have several friends who also cosplay, but this is the third variation of this COSPLAY = POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM theme you’ve posted on iFanboy.

    • @adamtohell: And judging by some of these comments, she’s going to have to keep writing about it.

    • @cskilpatrick: Sure, but considering the theme, I’d be curious to know if this newfound confidence led Molly to take better care of herself physically. Or, to put it another way, if one day went back to her heaviest weight of 180 lbs., would she still have the security to wear such a revealing outfit?

    • I’m currently around 170lbs, not that it’s any of your business, and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

    • Says the man. We have a lot less eyes judging us and a longer ‘shelf life’ (according to our society) as it were.

    • Unless you have experienced any emotional pain that comes with body image insecurities you really should not assume her new attitude and outlook are solely a product of peoples accolades and or attention. It looks like dressing up made her permanently comfortable with her body, not only comfortable when she is dressed up. Who are you to delve into someone’s psyche about sensitive insecurities? This was a really moving article, thank you for sharing Molly.

    • @Invicipal – I think most people have dealt with body image insecurities and I’m no exception. I left my insecurities behind by letting go of my vanity and accepting that people may or may not judge my body. The trick is not deluding yourself into believing you’re beautiful or perfect but accepting that you’re not. That’s all I was trying to express. Also, I have to wonder if you recognize the irony of your question (“Who are you to delve into someone’s psyche about sensitive insecurities?”) on an article where the author has exposed her insecurities and opened them up to conversation via this forum.

      @Molly, I sincerely apologize if I came across as though I was attacking you. I was genuinely trying to give you what I thought was helpful advice. You don’t have to be thrilled with your body to have a healthy body image. You don’t have to feel sexy or empowered. You just have to be content with it. Accept the idea that there will be people who DON’T like your body just as there will be people who DO like your body. Don’t hold any standards to your body other than being healthy. Anyway, much love to you and good luck with the next costume!

  13. Enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing your story. I always enjoy “origin” stories, and this fits the bill.

  14. Excellent article! It is so very hard for some of us to get out of the trap that is self-perception. To finally view yourself as the world actually sees you is such a wonderful gift, and I’m happy that you found it. We will all at some point be judged by our fellows, but to judge ourselves is a nightmare. Seems like being able to step out of that through cosplay was the trigger. A woman is a woman no matter how she is dressed, and men need to be strong enough to deal with that.

  15. Man, the unfounded judgement calls in some of these comments. Who needs a therapist when all I’d have to do is write a couple of earnest articles and send them to you guys?

    It sounds like she basically had an epiphany. To contort that into assuming she needs an ongoing Me Party to keep up her self-esteem is a leap you don’t have the information (or, likely, qualifications) to make.

    It’s a lovely article, Molly, and you look gorgeous in all the amazing costumes I’ve seen you in.

  16. Molly, great article. Very honest.
    To some of the people commenting that you shouldn’t get your self-esteem from what others think of you:
    That isn’t what I got from this article. I got that the act of dressing up as someone else (a powerful hero) helped take you out of your usual mind-set, and seeing others reactions helped you realize that you were just fine the way you are, and helped you get closer to overcoming your self-image issues.
    That isn’t the same as deriving your self-esteem from what others think of you. It is learning about yourself by forcing yourself to do something you want to do, even though it makes you uncomfortable at first, and seeing that it is okay.

    • That is precisely what I was saying.

      If I had just wanted attention, the years of cosplaying other characters before Knockout would have fulfilled this. Personifying strong, empowered female characters helped ME to become strong and empowered.

    • Great Article and great costume. Your comment here makes a lot of sense. There is a theory in psychology the way we act can cause us to have certain emotions just as much as having emotions can cause us to act certain ways. So, it can be the case that acting confident can make us actually feel confident rather than the other way around. A great popular introduction to this theory is “The As If Principle” by Richard Wiseman.

  17. Molly, glad you broke out of that self-destructive spiral. As a person who had his own self-loathing about his appearance (skinny as a rail in high school – not a big hit with the ladies) and having dated someone who sincerely believed she looked 70 pounds over her actual weight, I know where you’re coming from. No matter what anyone says, if your story helps just one girl, whether she’s 8 or 80, feel better about herself, you’re an inspiration. Love this quote by Maria Sharapova when someone asked her if she felt she was going to be the next ‘World’s Greatest Female Tennis Player.’:

    “I’m not the next anyone, I’m the first Maria Sharapova.” That’s all that matters.

  18. Thanks for the article, Molly. As a father of two young girls, I worry about their self-esteem growing up and the role of body imagery in their own development. I’ve always thought that comic books can be inspiring (they have always been for me, and God knows my pecs have never come close to Superman’s). I hope that seeing strong female characters and role models will be of value to them as well.

  19. Jesus. Those types of insecurities are a cruel beast. My girlfriend deals with similar self-loathing on bad days. Jeans are too tight, she feels frumpy in a shirt, etc. It pains me to see her that way. I am very happy that you’ve found something to make you feel better.

  20. Great article, Molly. Always great to read about overcoming ones insecurities.

  21. Really great article Molly.

  22. The society we live in can be sick at times. A wise old man once told me “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.” Life is too short to live in misery.

  23. The society we live in can be sick at times. A wise old man once told me “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”

  24. Let me start by saying that I am going to try and not come off as rude here. I’ll try and be as “intelligent” about this as possible. Secondly, I am genuinely happy that you feel better. However, I disagree with everything else in this article. There are a lot of things you mention you went through, but, did you ever try and get help? Anxiety can be helped with therapy and medication. How do I know this? I take anxiety medication when I need it, and I have spoken with doctors and counselors about it. Bulimia, well that just sucks and I’m sorry you thought that was a better idea than going to the gym….How did you parents support you? etc… You listed alot of things and didn’t mention how you got over them, or sought help. Or did you get over them? The descriptors you use combined with your max weight of a whopping 180 pound…..is kinda offensive to me. I have been fighting weight issue with ALOT of people. I’m not the only one, and you are not the only one with weight issues. At my heaviest I was also 180 pounds. I am also 5’1. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 16 years old. I am now 26. That entire time, my mother would dog on me and call me fat to my face. Then this past year my own husband said he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. But, I didn’t refuse to go outside, and I didn’t starve myself or throw up, my anxiety doesn’t even stem from that. I continued to take my thyroid medicine, I started to eat healthier and I got on a damn treadmill. I never drowned myself in fabric, but I didn’t cosplay anything skimpy because I have always dressed to my weight. However, even when I was 180 pounds I still cosplayed because I loved it. I cosplayed the characters I like despite my weight, and still had fun doing it because I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks anymore. I’m glad cosplay was an outlet for you to be comfortable, but the fact that you had to dress in a skin tight small cosplay to feel better about yourself once and for all is just……not good. It doesn’t send a good message to younger people at all, nor to women who are struggling with weight issues. They read this article and think “oh she is just as sad as I am. Once I dress up as something skimpy and rely on OTHERS opinions I can feel better about myself……” Of course that is completely made up and my opinion, but still you get what I am trying to say. If there was no one to help you then I am truly sorry for you. That sucks. Support networks are very important and what you did was self destructive. At least, that is how you wrote it. You only got up to 180 pounds and talked like it was the end of the world. Think about the women who cosplay who are twice that weight. At 180 pounds you can still “hide it”. How do you think they feel reading this? I would personally like to know. There are women who face 10x more than you ever did, and this article doesn’t mention ANY of that. It’s about how hard your life is and it just rubbed me the wrong way. I suppose if it was written in a way that mentioned other people with examples. It’s just an article about you.

    So, if you are like this author WAS please get help. Tell your friends, or your family so long as its not your family that’s tormenting you. Go to a counselor, a community center, your doctor, etc. It doesn’t have to be a therapist, because therapist is such an ugly word anyway. lol Anorexia and bulimia are just stupid way’s to deal with it. I know people are going to say “but its a mental disorder” Hey guess what. I had one of those and I got help, on my own…..If you are TRULY unahappy. The only one that can change that is YOURSELF. Not the opinions of others, not throwing up, not whining about it. Hard work and eating right is the only healthy way to fight weight.

    • (Slow Claps). Now that was inspiring shit right there.

    • It takes incredible inner strength and courage to experience something like weight problems and the hurt caused by loved ones because of it, yet keep moving forward. Much respect to you MockingJay2015. Take care.

    • Mockingjay nowhere in Molly’s post does she state, “if you are suffering from low self esteem, bulimia, or depression then here is what you should do!”. She only told us what was happening in her OWN life and how cosplay helped her through that difficult time.

      I for one commend her for sharing such a personal story in such a public forum and in the process start a dialog here on ifanboy about serious matters – one that obviously resonated with you and compelled you to write your own personal post about how you overcame your problems.

      I’m sure Molly doesn’t me to defend her words and hopefully replies to you, but I think her post came from a place of compassion and not boastful.

    • Now, that’s message of substance. A message I can get behind. Well said, Mockingjay.

    • Bravo Mockingjay, bravo.

  25. I am very much aware that she didn’t say “if you are suffering from low self esteem, bulimia, or depression then here is what you should do!”. My response was an overview of what I read. It is how I interpreted the material. Which is why in my response I wrote that it was “made up and my own opinon.”…. I also didn’t use the word boastful, and that was not what I was saying OR how I interpreted it. My reaction was how I felt while reading it, and I stand by that. Like I said I’m glad she is happy now, but this article left alot of questions, and it just came off as a….. I really don’t have a word for it. So I’m just going to stand by what I wrote. Thanks for your response.

    • As a high school English teacher, this seems like a classic author’s intention vs. reader’s interpretation debate. And since the author is still alive (Molly, you are still alive, right? Pop it. Lock it. Drop it. Cool) then we should probably agree that her explicit motives for writing this article–which she clearly communicated in the comments section above–trumps one’s subjective interpretation.

      You may ‘feel’ your interpretation is correct, but it’s a little bit–I don’t know–over-confident to assume your interpretation trumps the author’s now explicit–not implied–intentions.

      She may be able to communicate her ideas better in the future, but she has already clarified this in the comments section above.

  26. Molly I admire your courage in putting such a personal experience out there. Hopefully your efforts are helping some of us (the readers) come to a more considered and a more considerate view towards cosplay and towards women in general.

    That goes to MockingJay as well for sharing your experiences and perspective as well. There is no one right way for someone to come to grips with their demons, we must each find our own way through. Each person’s story is valid as it really is what happened to them and each stands as an example with which people can find some empathy and, hopefully, understanding.

    For me personally, one of the biggest parts of attending a con is to get that ‘at home’ feeling of being around people with whom I share so much. Nothing inspires that feeling more immediately or more viscerally than the cosplayers. So not only can it be a big positive in the lives of those who cosplay, it can have a similar effect on some of the rest of us too. So, thanks.

    • I agree for the most part. Even other cosplayers are viscous when it comes to bullying or making judgements etc…The internet is obviously where most of that happens but I have witnessed some very tense moments between cosplayers in person. It is kind of sad when these things happen within the cosplay community. It’s not just “outside” anymore.

  27. i think as the gulf between the airbrushed celeb and reality gets bigger and bigger. i can understand how people feel rubbish about their physical appearance. it’s a real modern day crisis that needs sorting. i think what molly is doing is fantastic, because of what she does she is now a more confident person and that’s all that matters.

  28. @Jacksondanger33

    Well sir, as and English teacher you fail. No where in my response was I trying to “trump” the author. No where did I say my opinion is above hers. Because what I wrote was in fact, an opinion and nothing more. With all due respect, I don’t know what she said in the “above comments” because my statement was my own and not based on any others comments so I didn’t feel the need to read every single comment. Her intentions for writing this article were good ones. Any moron can understand that. Just because I disagree with an article and how it was organized and put out there in no way means I am trying to “trump” anyone….It is a simple response and for the most part no one has accused me of being a troll etc… just for disagreeing. So if you are going to respond do so in a more educated manor. Thank you for your response.

    • *manner

    • I think you missed his point.

    • I think she missed A LOT of points.

    • @MockingJay2015

      No, thank YOU for your response.

      Seriously, though, I was trying to call your attention to the fact that you assumed things about the author that were not true. That’s the point. You used your experience–which I respect–to invalidate her experience and say that she was wrong. Other comments have dealt with her ideas; however, you have attacked her character, not only as an author, but as a person, as well.

      “There are women who face 10x more than you ever did, and this article doesn’t mention ANY of that. It’s about how hard your life is and it just rubbed me the wrong way…It’s just an article about you.”

      These statements are assumptions used to attack the author’s character, instead of engage in a healthy–and respectful–conversation about her ideas.

      Even though it’s the internet, we still should strive to be kind.

  29. Self acceptance is a wonderful thing! Love it.

  30. I think the point of this article can be generalized to find any hobby or interest filled with like minded people. Make friends and be happy.
    The irony of the article is it involves a practice that is literally pretending to be someone else.

    • batwomanbeyond batwomanbeyond (@batwomanbeyond) says:

      In pretending to be someone else, I think you can begin to see things in yourself that you didn’t even realise were there before.

  31. Loved this. Much in the way people enjoy watching movies where you get to see characters doing things they are really good at, I love reading about wonderful people finding and doing things that make them happy. Cheers!

  32. Great article! By your pictures as Knockout, I really can’t see how anyone could ever find something wrong with your body. You are really beautiful, in my opinion. I really dislike those uber skinny women without curves anyway.
    So, great to hear you overcame that. I don’t think you needed to worry about it in the first place 🙂

  33. You are definitely being way too hard on yourself. Based on the picture accompanying this article, I think you look great. If you don’t meet some random guy’s standard of perfection, find another guy. There will always be someone out there who will think you’re beautiful without making you obsess over every minor detail about yourself.