Cosplaying with a Chronic Illness

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[Image shows three spoons laying on a laptop keyboard. Overlaid is a clipart of torn white notebook paper with a red paper clip. On the paper in black text reads “Cosplaying with a Chronic Illness” below the text is the black and red “X” Emblem for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from X-Men. At the bottom of the photo in red text is the URL for Thee Crohnie Grace Blog]

This past Sunday, I skipped my usual LARPing adventure for a new adventure which was the River City Comic Con, a convention I had been looking into since back in March. I had been planning for months to attend in my 90s Jean Grey costume. As some of you know, I’ve been obsessed with X-Men since I was a kid. And once I became sick, in the 4th grade, it became my escape mechanism. Even now I find myself wishing I was Jean Grey sometimes because despite the dramatic life she led, I still found her to be strong and able to take on anything. So the first time I adorned my cosplay outfit, put on my wig and took photos outside of the mansion where my aunt (who’s a nun) lives in NY, I felt like I could do anything.

But come Sunday when it came time for the Con to start, I woke up at 7am puking up my guts, despite not eating anything, since typically I only get sick after eating food. Then woke up at 10am with my heart rate at 165bpm. At that moment I was starting to think I would not make it to the con then.

I waited til about 12:30, upon resting, getting some fluids in me and my medicine, I had gotten my resting heart rate down to 95 and standing to 120, which was tolerable enough for me to throw on my costume, wig, do my makeup, and make my way to the con! I had decided not to take my cane because I was already having a hard time feeling like Jean Grey with the tube in my face, so I decided to push through and handle the consequences later.

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[Image shows me in a yellow and blue jump suit from the waist up, in a natural red long haired wig, and a blue head band with a sewed on red “gem”. I’m not wearing my glasses and have my NJ tube.]

I nervously made my way to the con, I knew some of the people I knew were going to be there but I had made the decision to not wear my glasses leading to a lot of blurry people. Within a few minutes of walking around in the vendor area I had run into a few of the girls I LARP with who were dressed as Homestuck characters.

I followed them around for a while, marveling at the amazing costumes and cosplays surrounding me. There was a Sans, Velma, tons of Harley Quinns, a handful of Ghostbusters, an adorable little Rey, and a Max Caulfield from my favourite game “Life is Strange” (serious feels for that game).

I eventually  found my friend Ryan who was there with his wife and daughter who was doing a great Romona Flowers cosplay. We chatted a bit, before I went in search of something to drink because the heat was starting to get to me.

They didn’t have any water that I could find but I found some Sprite which perked me up after a few sips. By that time it was time for the costume contest, which I was wanting to take place in but had been extremely nervous about.

I remember someone coming up to me as they announced it and asking me if my tube was part of my costume, then when I said no, asking what it was, so as I walked outside to the gazebo for the costume contest, I explained to the person about my feeding tube.

Once we got out there I chatted with a few people who approached me for a picture, a guy dressed as Captain America with a super awesome shield, a guy dressed as a Ghostbuster who had previously dressed as 90s Cyclops and the girl dressed as Rey.

They had everyone line up in single file, go up and introduce themselves and say who they were dressed as, and then make their way to the other side. I watched anxiously as the line moved. I have spoken to larger crowds, I used to be in Speech and Debate, but for some reason I was much more anxious, and the heat certainly didn’t help matters.

Before I knew it, it was my turn, I felt like I rambled because I was so nervous, this being my first con, though I should be used to dressing up in costumes with LARPing. I said my name, introduced my 90’s Jean Grey self and quickly made my way to the other side. I checked my heart rate which was 173 and all I could think was “If I pass out and have to go to an ER, this is gonna be pretty awkward.”

After everyone went they had all the contestants come back up, and took some photos, I hung out in the back with the tall Ghostbuster guy and hoped my heart rate would lower and that I could sit down soon, while anxiously awaiting the judges the decisions. The judges were Mid Ohio Valley Superman, West Virginia’s Wonder Woman, and Bunny Bombshell!

Soon they announced the winners, for best craftsmanship was the tall Ghostbuster dude, for best child they chose little Rey, for best adult (I think that was the category) a spot on Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad, and for most unique: me. I was extremely shocked but super happy. I had gotten 25$ in Con-Cash, and a cute photo frame with a paper showing what I had won at River City Comic Con.

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[Image shows a blue fish with a yellow cape and an “RC” emblem. Overtop reads “River City Comic Con 2016” and below reads “Costume Contest Winner Most Original”]

Afterwards we all got our photos together and with the judges.

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[Image shows a gazebo with trees behind it. On the gazebo from left to right are a guy fully decked out in a Ghost Buster outfit, Mid Ohio Valley Superman with little Rey in front of him, Bunny Bombshell as Valkyrie, West Virginia’s Wonder Woman as Super Girl, and then me in my Jean Grey costume.]

I ended up staying outside a bit longer chatting with Wonder Woman and two other girls I knew from high school. Soon though I went back inside, I sat down for a bit and hoped my heart rate would go down. It was only around 2:3o, I hadn’t been there too long. I ended up getting a Team Mystic shirt and then leaving to go home and start a feeding and hydrate more.

For my first con I was so thrilled, I cannot wait to do more cons, and do more cosplays. I’ve got a long list in my head. I want to do an Arya Stark cosplay since everyone tells me I look like Maisie Williams. It was really a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to do it again.

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[Image shows me in front of a garden in between pillars. I have my hands out stretched touching the pillar and bricks. I’m in my yellow and blue jump suit and wig with the head piece.]

 

 

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