“Sometimes life gives us a million reasons to want to give up, but we stick around.” Lady Gaga
I started 2018 pretty focused on one thing, creating something that the world would deem better than Rococo Belle. It all started in March of 2016 when I debuted Rococo Belle after 6 tiresome months of lessons learned and discovering a love for sewing I never knew I had.
I competed three time in three different states, winning Masters class in all three competitions. To some, this would be called “sandbagging” a term used in the cosplay community when someone wins a major award with a costume and then competes in it again, whether they win or not. To me, this was the entire reason I spent 6 months on one costume, to compete and win.
Something happens to you when you win, you go from thinking about all the fun little costumes you can make with your friends to thinking about your next competition piece. You start asking yourself, how can I be better than that? What can I make that is better or that will win me a bigger award. It’s maddening the things you think when you’ve won a few times and you want to do better than yourself next time.
Next time, I tried to be better. I did more work, tried more techniques, but it just wasn’t enough. I wouldn’t call Anne Boleyn a flop since I made it into The Crown Championship which I failed at three times prior. She also got me to Twitchcon 2017 which is an amazing feat but what I put myself through to get onto that stage was mentally and physically unhealthy.
Anne Boleyn taught me a lot about things I need to work on and much later it taught me how strong I was. After losing five times in Anne Boleyn I had hit burn out, not only from this costume but from working on streaming, Patreon, oh and not mention making 25 Sith costumes a month for customers over on Etsy.
By the end of 2017 I was so burnt out that it caused me to have break down after break down, I was in such a slump and the only thing that was really motivating me to go forward was making a Belle dress not for competition. I needed a break, bad, and Belle was my outlet and guess what it worked, kind of?! I was brought back from burn out and I was finally motivated to start my Twitchcon Cosplay Contest Entry for 2018.
It was late February and I had hit my donation goal over on Twitch so I was able to actually start making this costume.
Remember when I said I was over my burn out? Well I lied, I wasn’t, not even close.
Things were going slow on Sakizou, I hit road block after road block and distracted myself with projects I didn’t have the time for.
One night in early May, I was having some serious doubts, not just about my costumes, about my friendships, my business, where I was going in the world. I was so afraid to continue working on things and continue making art because I was afraid I would fail.
I was so afraid of failure and how it would affect my relationships that I spoke the unspeakable words, “I wish I was dead.” The sentence came out and a flood of images of what life would be like if I was not around came to me. I thought about how happy everyone would be not having to hear me talk about cosplay and about being better than Rococo Belle and how I peaked only two and half years into my career. In that moment, that night I honestly believed the world would be better without me. I fell asleep believing that idea.
I woke up the next morning, it was my first ever subathon. I was tired, I wasn’t even sure if I had it in me to hit start streaming, but I did. I didn’t tell anyone what I had said the night before, I’ve actually never told anyone until right now. But something happened that day, my community came together to celebrate sewing, our stream, the shenanigans that are my life sometimes. That day didn’t change me completely, it didn’t make that sentence go away but it did push me forward and it did give me the strength I needed to fight the voice of fear.
By the end of May I was back to working on Sakizou, here and there I would put in hours but I had already lost 6 weeks and I was already going to lose more time to get commissions done. So, instead of dedicating all the little time I had on Sakizou I decided to get a dog.
Her name is Eva and Eva is essentially what brought me back from the darkest place I had ever been. I fought with myself in this dark space for a month and I honestly thought it was going to be an ongoing battler forever. I was wrong.
So now here we are Mid/late June and I am finally on track! I am working 6 hours a day on Sakizou, filling my etsy orders and spending my time with my doggo!
This lasted through July and finally in August I was home free. Working 12-16 hours a day on Sakizou, my life was 100% focused on my goal of creating something better than Rococo Belle.
I can’t tell you how many times from August until October 25th that I thought I would not be able to finish this costume. I had so much work to do and no clue how I was going to do it all, it got to the point where Toby (Renee Cosplay) was actually making my meals for me. I took two 30 minute breaks a day from Dragoncon until the Monday before Twitchcon. All while dealing with the mind games from other contestants; the drama that should not have been; and of course making 22 Sith costumes in October because Halloween.
The Monday before Twitchcon I had finally finished, I felt like I shouldn’t have been done. I thought, “If I’m already finished I must not want this enough.” So I spent the two days I had creating documentation, making sure everything on my costume was exactly how I wanted it and ultimately preparing for another failure. Okay, I didn’t think I was going to fail but I did not think I was going to win either.
SPOILER ALERT! I WON…it all! I took Best in Show, I ugly cried on stage, it was flipping great and I did create a costume that was leaps and bounds better than Rococo Belle.
So, “Why am I retiring?” one might ask.
I do not want to put myself through the pressure of making something better than Sakizou. Instead, my time is better spent helping those of you who want to be up on that stage next year.
There is too much talent out in the world that has yet to be seen on a stage like Twitchcons Cosplay Contest. My goal from here on out is to help those who need encouragement, who need tips and tricks of the craft, who might be lost and need a grounding point. I want to be all the things that others were for me on my journey to being a champion.
It’s your turn!
So now, go follow my stream. Become a member of our community and allow us to help you make your dreams come true.