When I met my ex, I was working as a wench at the Bristol Renaissance Fair. I’d also been a fairly active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (the SCA) up until that time. I tried to get him interested in what I was doing, because both of those experiences were one of the few creative outlets I allowed myself to have. Plus, they also gave me an emotional support system of like-minded individuals.
The reason he gave for not wanting to be part of the SCA was that he had enough trouble between keeping a hold of reality between his love of role playing games, he didn’t want to essentially be part of a LARPing group, and lose his handle on reality. There was no real excuse for me dropping the Renaissance fair, other than I became too busy “taking care of him” to keep my connections to it active.
Here, I’m talking about how he isolated me from my support network (except for my family, because I think he knew that attempting to make me turn my back on them would make me leave), and I’m STILL finding a way to excuse his behavior. I just had to erase half of the post simply because I was spending all of those paragraphs making excuses.
Yes, I’m STILL trying to break that habit.
I did try going back to the SCA, but what was so important for me in my twenties just didn’t have the same punch. Perhaps it was the difference in locations, or maybe it is just that I’m not the same person. I’m not quite as naive, innocent or idealist. And by the time I could go back to working at a Ren fest, my body wouldn’t let me.
On the other hand, I am involved in a local sci-fi/fantasy convention. I have, in the past, volunteered there. But, I don’t quite have the stamina for it anymore. That doesn’t mean I want to stop going – because I do have friends that I only ever see at CONvergence that once a year.
How does all of this come together?
Part of what I liked about both the SCA and the Renfest was becoming a character. The costuming, the makeup, the whole shebang. But I’ve never let myself do anything like cosplay. Why? Because costuming and make-up cost money, and all of the household money was being used to make sure my ex had what he wanted/needed for the convention. That kind of stress made me less than happy to attend the convention, even though I have lots of fun.
I didn’t attend last year. Most of the reason was having no money, but there was also the fact that the divorce was just final in June, and I chose to have compassion on myself to not force myself to deal with anything more than just me – including the ex, who also goes to this convention.
There is a bit of nervousness about going this year. But, I’m allowing myself to make those characters again. I’m not making the costume of a real character – which is technically the limited definition of cosplay. What I am doing is mixing my love of history with my love of costuming. My mother and I have been working on two costumes, both of which are steampunk. One is a very idealized and pin-up version of a WWII WAC (although, since I look like shit in khaki or olive green, I’m doing it with more of a U.S. Navy color palette). The other is a Western saloon girl.
I did want to do a version of the Evil Queen (Regina) from “Once Upon A Time.” But, that was a much more difficult costume, and a more costly one. And since I’m taking the opportunity to learn more about sewing clothes from my mother (and honestly listening this time around), the easier costumes were a better idea.
So, yes, I’m doing many of the things that made my life better 20 years ago, and evolving those interests in relation to who I am right now.