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Cosplaying as Self-Care

Self-care comes in many forms for some people, there is no right or wrong way to it. As long as you find a way to take care of yourself and heal whatever area you’re wounded in, mentally, physically, and emotionally, you do you boo. For me, cosplaying helps.

It’s not the act of cosplaying, it can be, but for me the act of making my costumes and props is how I heal my emotional and mental areas.

In my day-to-day life, my self-esteem and confidence is on a constant ebb and flow. Some days I’m pretty decent and other days something can send me face flat on the floor wondering how to I make it all work. From working a 9 to 5 where I feel like a lot of expectations are placed on me to wondering how do I deal with my usual bouts of insecurity and meh-ness, there is a lot going on in my head most days.

It’s in those times that I let little things get to me. I start to think I’m not as good as I can be, how people can notice my imperfections and want to toss me away, and how I’m not even a part of my group of friends anymore. Usually around then, I start to disconnect and disengage with things and spend more time alone. For me, this is how I know I need to reset and take a break. This is where cosplaying comes in.

Image may contain: 2 people

Me as The Batman Who Laughs at AwesomeCon 2018

When making a cosplay from scratch or modding something for my cosplays, all my attention goes right into the creative process. I figure out what paints work better on what fabric, what kind of interfacing I’ll need to make something stand right, and learning how to add rats nests or bumps to wigs from YouTube (check out WigginOutBZ and OnlineKyne). I get to take my mind off things and remind myself how fun and creative I can be. I get to put together amazing pieces of art and prove to myself that I can actually do great things despite what I may think some days. I even get to catch up on some anime series that I’ve been meaning to watch. Ones that make me laugh, rage, and have more than 30 episodes are usually my go-tos. Currently, I’m binging Mobile Fighter G Gundam.

Cosplay WIP

My current WIP cosplay for Otakon

But, my self-care isn’t all glue flumes and EVA foam scraps, it’s also about reflecting. Not reflecting on the cosplay and the con I’m going to, but reflecting on how I let myself emotionally and mentally go. Because I’m able to focus on a singular thought, the cosplay, I’m allowing myself the time to reflect on my feelings and thoughts. It’s when I’m trying to figure out how to do things better for myself and how to not end up in another funk.

You see, like I said before, self-care comes in many different forms and different things for people. Some mainstream outlets like to make it seem like it’s all spa days and #TreatYourself days where you go on shopping sprees, and in some cases for some people that may be true. Maybe you let your skin go because you were in a depressed rut for a few days or went through something and just tossed your normal skin care routine out the window and thought, since it’s already this bad why fix it because you weren’t cute before anyway. And maybe for you, doing a mud mask or doing a sugar scrub is how you do physical self-care. That’s fine. Do you boo. Just remember, mainstream media on mental health or mental health first aid isn’t always the only way.

Self-care is about taking care of yourself and addressing your needs; addressing your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This includes, but not limited to, taking a walk to get fresh air, getting rid of toxic people in your life like bad friends or toxic relationships, taking care of your hair because it was one of those things that got caught in the depression, mowing the lawn, fixing your car or bike, giving yourself positive compliments or feedback, buying that new cake mix you’ve wanted to try, going out to dinner at IHOP by yourself, taking off of work to sleep, volunteering at a woman’s shelter, listening to Robyn’s Dancing on My Own and dancing around your house while your pets/roommates staring in confusion, fixing an annoying habit of yours, etc etc etc.

(She’s perfect and you’re welcome for the ear candy)

There are sooooooooo many ways you can take care of yourself and whatever bothers you. For me, one of the ways I take care of myself is to be creative and express my creativity through a very nerdy blerdy outlet. It allows me to be selfish and unplug from the world for a bit. I get to just do me and focus on me and what makes me happy. I get to laugh, rage, cry, and give myself compliments and positive feedback that I forget to tell myself. I get reminded of who I am and all the great things I can do and why I have a great circle of friends around me. I also remember why I’m obsessed with fray check, but that’s not the point here.

The point is this. As someone who is VERY nerdy and dorky, self-care for me comes in nerdy forms some days and that is okay. And if that’s how you get down with self-care, that’s okay too. If replaying Mass Effect on Xbox, coming up with a new cosplay version of Allura for a con, being stuck in your craft room applying rhinestones, or washing and styling all of your favorite wigs is how you get down with healing yourself…do you, boo. At the center of self-care is the self. Take care of yourself. Be happy, be safe, and be well. And nerdy too, if your nasty.

About Ashley Mika (55 Articles)
Cosplayer. Makeup enthusiast. Avid fan of Smooth-On Products. Crafter. Passionate wrestling fan. When I'm not reading the latest comic or manga that comes across my desk or searching YouTube for crafting tutorials, I'm doing something else that is also as nerdy. Whether that's planning a new cosplay, reading articles about who is coming to the WWE, or watching a recommended anime series. Need to know about what resin or foam to use for your prop? Anime series recommendations? Old school manga that came out in the 80s? I'm your girl!

3 Comments on Cosplaying as Self-Care

  1. This is awesome! I also used cosplay as a form of rehabilitation 😊👍🏾

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s dope! As stressful as cosplay can be (ex: when paint dries weird because it was too humid and con is tomorrow), it’s a nice way to mellow out.


  2. I love your post. I truly love cosplay because it generally makes me happy.


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