The reason I have not had time for a real blog post is that I have been busy helping my daughter Meg (age 12) finish off her Astro Boy stilt walking costume for Comic Gong, a festival of comic art held in Wollongong just down the road from us. Not that I actually helped much, I was mostly in charge of rushing out to buy extra supplies and passing the pins etc. Also, I discovered that Free Comic Book Day was the weekend before Comic Gong, and stupidly suggested to Meg that if she finished her costume a week early, she could enter the cosplay competition at our local comic store, Comic Cafe, as a test run.
Well... as any parent with children on a project deadline knows, it can quickly turn to tears. Firstly, being new to the whole sewing machine thing, there were some challenges. Luckily Meg is well versed in asking Google for help, and discovered the reason her fabric was being chewed up was that we were using the wrong needle! Off to Spotlight for some stretch needles. Phew! Simple solution to that one. Next, even though she's been planning this costume for about 6 months, she suddenly had a crisis of confidence and ended up lying on the floor crying, "I'm too fat! All my friends will laugh when they see me in this leotard. What was I THINKING? Even my skinny friends are constantly complaining about how fat they are, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I can't go out in public in THIS!"
OK parents of admittedly chubby but very active 12 year old daughters, what should I say? I don't know what I said in the end, but eventually she got off the floor and kept sewing, and after a late night Friday we got up on Saturday morning and headed off to Comic Cafe. Meg told me later that what made her get up was that I said, "think of all the chubby little girls who will see you and be inspired by such an awesome girl strutting her stuff, in a leotard, on stilts, and totally killing it". Did I say that? But apparently it wasn't the thought of being an inspiration to chubby girls that made her get up. It was the thought of the skinny girls seeing her and thinking, "I'm too skinny to do something like that". Well whatever got her off the floor, she really did kill it.
At Comic Cafe there were a group of adults in some pretty amazing hand made costumes. Meg's boots were sagging a bit (it was a test run after all), but she got a great response from everyone. It was so nice that the adult cosplayers, who obviously had a better handle on the sewing machine and glue gun than Meg, were so supportive. Everyone asked her about how she'd made the costume and gave her sewing tips. Then, for overcoming her nerves and doing such a great job, we bought a few comics and sat down at the cafe opposite for a well deserved chocolate milkshake and churros. Because that's exactly what you need when you've overcome a bout of self fat shaming.
Shane, the owner of Comic Cafe suggested we head over to Warrawong, where DVD World were also having a cosplay competition for Free Comic Book Day. As long as we promised not to buy any comics from his rival store! So off we went on a mini road trip across Wollongong. Because why not? Again we met some lovely adults in amazing costumes and Meg got more sewing tips. She shook hands with little children, had her photo taken with about a hundred people, and won the Junior Cosplay competition! Talk about a great way to boost your confidence.
|I can't believe The Flash made his own costume. Amazing!|
|Meg couldn't miss a photo opp with her favourite Ninja Turtle Leonardo!|
That afternoon, very proud of herself already, she got a call from Comic Cafe. We hadn't realised they had a junior section for their cosplay competition and she won that too! So before we even made it to Comic Gong she was full of confidence, had forgotten all about the shame of being in a leotard in public and had started texting photos of herself to all her "skinny" friends inviting them to come along to Comic Gong next week.
And at Comic Gong? She fixed her boots and got the hat trick, winning the 0-12 year olds Cosplay Comp there too.
So yes this story had Japanese (Astro Boy and cosplay) and sewing in it, but mostly it was about how proud I am of my daughter for pushing aside those thoughts we all have about "will I look fat in this?" and just being fabulous as herself. I really hope she can keep it up through the teenage years!
By the way, her prize from Comic Gong was this 80cm tall Kylo Ren statue. What every teenage girl wants in her bedroom. Have you ever worked your guts out to win a competition only to find the prize wasn't quite what you were hoping for? Actually she loves him. But he gives me the heebies at night.