It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you,
NOPE. I’m not going to apologize for disappearing. Active costumers, especially those of the hobbyist persuasion, know that there’s too little time in the day to whine about all of the “stuff” that fills our non-research-shopping-construction time. We have to prioritize sleeping, eating, families, jobs, reading, gaming, social media–so some items will always be set aside. In that small space remaining in my week, the dreaded Con Crunch is now in effect.
WARNING: I’m about to start whining.
The Great Philadelphia Comic Con starts in 27 days, and I’ve got ish to do. At some point last month, I realized that I wasn’t going to have time to get out a blog entry. I’d like to cover and say that the time was better spent working on an interview for Luna Station Quarterly and consulting for a new course at the local university, and it was, but that doesn’t excuse the rest of month. I had already slacked on my #29daysofblackcosplay Instagram features, which take less than 10 minutes to post. I flat out skipped workouts a handful of days. I even forgot to follow-up on an open client balance. I won’t relive the laundry list of stuff that I straight up did not do (including laundry), but suffice it to say that February 2020 was not a banner showing for me.
Whether we’re two days out or two months out from a debut, regardless of the deadlines we put on the calendar last year, those conventions really sneak up from the shadows. Unfinished costume pieces errantly thrown on the work table a month ago peep out at us from under unfinished costume pieces that we decided to start a week ago. Frantically shopping for cheap boots that are “close enough”, then trying to survive the endless [one day] shipping time, adds an unnecessary level of stress to a still incomplete ensemble. I don’t want to harp on the evils of cos-pressure, the struggle for perfection, or imposter syndrome–for those of us playing the game of guest (that’s a whole other can of tuna). I do, however, want to provide insight for people who seem to be blissfully unaware of how deadlines work when you’re not being paid to hit them.
I make all of my costumes. This is not a commentary on how other people cosplay. Making costumes clears my headspace in a more satisfying way than reading, writing, gaming, and even dancing, ever have. I enjoy research. I enjoy sorting through my fabric stash. I enjoy making embroidered pockets when I need to be focusing on pattern drafting. Once in Con Crunch Mode, I’ve already made multiple To Do lists, costume spreadsheets, calendar entries for tracking, and turned down a fair number of commission requests. [Again, I do not take commissions.] Con Crunch is “don’t think, just do” time. Con Crunch is check items off the list and hope they still fit time. Con Crunch is a time for me to reflect upon what I did wrong to be punished with only a half spool of bright red thread, playing chicken with my bobbin on the hem of a robe. Even one month out, I know that I won’t be able to hand sew my gown, but maybe if I sew while casually biking at the gym, my efforts won’t be wasted. Con Crunch is just effing finish it time.
In truth, Orko didn’t need to take this long. I’ve made other cos-items in the last seven months, mostly last minute, but Orko has been moving along at a steady, yet leisurely pace. Since I still use Plasti-Dip, a high horse that I’m trying to jump off of, I blame the weather for these final delays. Apparently, I’m not allowed to just buy a pop-up greenhouse to paint in cold weather, and building a paint booth takes too long. Last weekend, I took the plunge, opening my basement windows and turning on all of the fans. It was an icy hell, but the deed was completed. Once I get everything painted and rig the headpiece (hat, ears, eyes, scarf), I have to run a cos-test. That final fitting is when I’ll need to time myself getting into the costume, take some preliminary photos, fix anything that’s going to jeopardize my sanity at the debut, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight. The crux is that all of these action items need to happen after the kids are put to bed, on a non-D&D night, leaving me an average of twelve hours per week for costume pursuits. I’m so glad that I have a second costume in progress that’s due the same weekend….
All of this to say that I’m super tired, and I feel some kind of way about not writing last month, and I’m super close to finishing the one costume that I can’t flake on, but I’d rather be fussing with historical seam placement on a different costume that, like, one person is going to understand. And for what?