Trigger Warning: The following dishes out a hard matter-of-fact dose of reality based on personal experiences…also the occasional use of memes.
Merriam-Webster defines drama three ways.
A: type of Literature.
B: type of “movie or television production.”
C: “state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces.”
The Urban Dictionary’s top definition: “Something women and especially teenage girls thrive on. consisting of any number of situations that have an easy solution, which would bring a fairly good outcome, but these girls choose another, shitty, bad way to deal with it, again consisting of backstabbing, blackmailing/gossiping/betraying their friends…”
To quote one of my very best friends; “why are all these people having so many issues about people dressing as characters they love and admire? It doesn’t hurt anyone.”
That is a serious question. Why?
Right now ya’ll are probably thinking who the hell is this chick and why does she think she has a right to speak about drama. I don’t, but I have relatively little drama in my life and I was asked to speak on my experiences in avoiding it. So I was given this platform as a soap box to stand on and preach against drama and I took the opportunity to help give back to the community.
I am generally a light-hearted person with a very dark sense of humor. I do not take myself or life too seriously. Please keep that in mind as you continue reading. If you get offended at anything I am saying then maybe you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are contributing to the problem.
Personally, I am very tired of seeing everyone hate on each other. My only hope is that I reach those that are being affected by drama and provide some support. Maybe be a bit of a guiding light navigating the dark waters of drama…or at least make someone stop and think.
Drama: The Setup
Whenever you get large groups of people together there is the inevitable creation of cliques; The Queen Bees, the Wannabes, the Drama Llamas, etc. It’s natural. Humans have been grouping up like this since they could walk. If you couldn’t navigate these groups in middle school I’m sure you’re having problems now. It’s the same game, but unfortunately some people never grow out of adolescence. I’ve heard “I was bullied as a kid” so often that I wish I had a dollar each time I heard it, cause I’d be living on my own island right now.
News flash! The majority of the members of the cosplay community have experienced some sort of childhood bullying, including yours truly. Unfortunately it’s a natural occurrence in growing up. Ever observe a pack/herd/flock of any animal? Establishing a pecking order occurs in every species on this planet, including humans. Does that mean I excuse the behavior? If you think so you’re not paying attention. The answer is “Hell no, but it happens”. I hate that it happens, but there are right and wrong ways to handle it. Long story short, putting salt in another’s sugar is not going to make yours any sweeter.
Drama: The Field Guide
I wish I could provide the magical one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with the bullies out there, but there isn’t one. The only thing I can do is share what I have learned personally over the years.
You are not defined by your experiences. You are defined by how you handle your experiences.
What do I mean by this? You could either label yourself a victim all your life or you could BE a survivor. Like I previously stated I too was bulled. So what? People suck and that’s that. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get and the thrill that they have control over another person’s emotions. If you stop providing that they tend to move on. In my case it was a swift kick to the gut knocking them into a locker…but violence rarely solves anything and I cannot condone it. So don’t.
Handle your losses and wins with grace.
It’s really difficult to not be salty over a defeat. I’ve been guilty of this, so I completely understand. Blasting out to the world that you are salty is perhaps not the best way to handle the situation. Consult with a friend or two, and then learn from the experience. Do the same with your wins. Be humble. Don’t pour salt in people’s wounds. Don’t brag to the world of your win…for months. Be grateful, say your thanks and move on. Your 15 minutes of fame is just that…15 minutes.
Choose your friends carefully.
The people you surround yourself with make a world of difference. Your friends should be supportive and positive. Even when you may not agree you should still be able respect each other. If you feel like a worthless individual after talking to your friends, maybe it’s time to break-up. Breaking friendships is sometimes harder than breaking romantic relationships though. As the Behrendts have stated It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken. If you haven’t read it, you should.
This one’s pretty obvious right? This is actually the hardest goal to achieve. When you truly love yourself it’s easy to dismiss the negativity. If you love the way you look in those hot pants then you wear the shit out of those hot pants. If someone says you look like a cow wearing a speedo then you tell them thank you and that their opinion is a moo point.
Be honest not just with others but with yourself. Don’t be something or someone you’re not. Embrace the quirky individual that you are. This goes hand-in-hand with loving yourself. If you don’t want to do something just flat-out say you’re not interested. There’s no reason to make excuses or lie, just say no thank you and leave it at that. If the person asking can’t respect that then that’s their problem not yours. Peer pressure is still an issue in adult life. It’s annoying, but if you are just honest it won’t be much of an issue, at least in my experience.
Don’t seek out the drama.
This might be one of the hardest rules to follow. We want to watch that train wreck. People love watching drama. This is exactly why reality shows are so popular. We have a morbid fascination with drama. It’s what drives us to read the comments, to go browsing that particular sub-Reddit, to follow that blog, etc. etc. Y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.
Also while you may love yourself and you may totally love that photo of yourself in the earlier mentioned hot pants, others may not. I am totally a supporter of letting your freak flag fly, but at the same time just know you’re opening the door for the riff-raff as well. You just have to be prepared for it. Just moooooooo at the haters and move on. They do not matter. (And yes I acknowledge that writing this article is opening me up to various commentaries from the Cosplay Community Peanut Gallery.)
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Here’s another obvious one; The Golden Rule. If you would not like to hear it, don’t say it. It really is that simple. If you think something really needs to be addressed then do it privately. Don’t drag an issue you might have with someone out in public. It brings out the drama buzzards, llamas and lurkers. They tend to make things worse and that just isn’t fair to either party.
This is very prevalent when critiquing a person’s costume. You can be critical without being mean. I have judged at cons for a few years and it takes tact and can be a hard skill to perfect. I by no means have perfected it but I try very hard to positively judge costumes. Even if you find their work a hot mess…be…nice. They worked really hard on it and you should at least find something you think they did really well. Don’t tell them “your seams are shit”, instead try “I see you zigzagged your seams, have you thought about trying a blind stitch? You might find it gives a cleaner look.” Encourage each other. Don’t be ugly stepsisters and tear them apart.
Drama: In Conclusion
Easy right? HA! I know, easier said than done. I get that. In all seriousness though, this has got to stop. I get it, it’s a struggle. He said, she said, they did, on and on and on it goes. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in a story and end up in the middle of something you have no business being in. By nature I want to help so the hardest thing for me to learn was to just let it go. People are always going to gossip. People are always going to think they know better than you. It will happen regardless of if I’m in the middle of it or not, so I just stopped caring. That might seem a bit cold and harsh but it really isn’t. It means that when someone comes to me saying “did you know they said yadda yadda yadda?” I reply with “ok..and? They didn’t say it to me, it doesn’t affect me, and I don’t care”. (Okay I confess, my response might include more colorful words that that, but I digress.) Bottom line? The rumor stops with me. My friends know who I am and those that really care about me will ask me the truth. They are what matters. Why should I care about the opinion of a person I have never spent any amount of time with?
Yes I have opinions of people, but I try to base those opinions on my own personal interactions with that person. If I don’t interact with a person then I remain neutral, I don’t let other people’s experiences influence my personal opinion. I have found many times that the reputation of a person doesn’t always match who they really are. In the Cosplay Community many people have a “public persona”. The motivations for having one ranges. Could be for entertainment, could be for personal reasons. Maybe they have a social disorder. It could be as simple as they want to separate their private life from their cosplay. Keep that in mind when you make opinions of people. You know, that whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing?
Please just be nice to each other. I have talked to way too many amazing people that are down in the dumps due to drama this or drama that. I listen, console, support, and try to inspire. The Cosplay Community should be one of love and support. Not all this petty drama.
OK, now here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for, the final frightful conclusion. Here’s the part where we lambast all our "frenemies" in the cosplay community by vaguely describing things they’ve possibly done to us or me or the good people that contribute to this site. Here’s where we describe just enough of these people so that everyone might possibly know who they are without exactly calling them out but with enough info so they can easily find out and then y’all can hate them too.
Oh wait, no. That would be cosplay drama.
Unfortunately if you found yourself perk up at that last statement in any way, you might be a part of the problem. We ALL as a community need to understand that fact right there. The gossip, the backbiting, the lying, the rumors and hate-mongering all need to stop.
Again to reiterate, PLEASE JUST BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.