“I had nurtured a dream, protected it, devoted all my energy to its care, and when it was over… when it was over, I was spent and empty. There was nothing else to chase after, no intensity of purpose, nothing more to surrender to. [We] had endured an exhausting, soul satisifying quest, and we were returning to the mundane. We were back to where we’d started, but it just didn’t feel right any longer. I was depressed.” -Tom Ryan
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From the outside, I’m sure cosplay looks like an obsessive compulsion and perhaps a cry for attention, but what most people don’t see is the singular drive to conquer an insurmountable obstacle by blazing your own trail. The struggle to create is both artistically fulfilling and draining, but always leading to the achievable goal of premiering that costume at a convention. When they are at the convention, cosplayers feel a heightened sense of joy, pride, and relief when wearing their costume in public. But what many have a hard time planning for is the seemingly unavoidable emotional crash at the ending of any convention. On top of the depression that comes from returning to the hardships of life and leaving behind close friends, cosplayers inevitably have an emotional imbalance that stems from the fact that we can never get as many hours of reward as we have put into its creation. There is always a stark contrast between the months of labor and the culmination of your goal, that makes the convention feel as though you have just the blink of an eye to enjoy it before it’s all over.
If you intend to fight this depression, you should find innovative and fulfilling ways to keep the convention alive in spirit until you’ve exhausted all means of expression.
Write a Blog
When I put my unique experiences into words, it helps me relive and hold onto the sensations that keep me coming back year after year. This is one of the reasons I started posting “convention reports”.
Upload and Edit Photos
Cosplayers will especially benefit from this advice. It’s always fulfilling to feel as though your costume has morphed into a new artform that can be shared with and appreciated by others. Use your downtime to digitally enhance your cosplay photos and upload them to deviantart, or frame your photos and display them around your house.
Take Care of Your Costumes
Rather than severing all ties with your costume after the convention, it helps bring some closure and peace of mind to wash, iron, repair, and pack your cosplay costumes.