Becoming the hero, and fleeing in terror OR why I won’t cosplay now or ever

Cross posted from my Tumblr

Halloween, 1993. I’m nine-years-old, and hopelessly addicted to the X-Men. Yes, little has changed. But I decided that year that the best idea ever is to make my own X-Men costume. For some reason, at this time, there weren’t any or many cheap vinyl X-Men costumes at Wal-Mart or ShopKo.

I wanted to be Cyclops, but on allowance wages, that was a bit much to buy in raw material. But hey, I had the right stuff for Wolverine, by which I mean yellow basketball uniforms and plastic milk jugs.

I painted the mask, which my dad helped me cut. My mom sewed plastic claws into an old pair of gloves. I was so set. I was so kickass. I was even short, just like Wolverine. Sure, he wasn’t my favorite, but I had an X-Men costume.

This was the biggest mistake I made in 1993, and that includes the time I had my broken arm reset.

You see, there’s a point in childhood when you become aware that you are an object of mocking. Previously, you were oblivious or immune. But then the line is drawn in the sand by other people with a trip wire, and you fall over it.

I went to a haunted house sponsored by my Cub Scout troop and was feeling awesome beyond all awesomeness. Then people saw me and laughed. They walked by and said things like “That was scary! If only we had an X-Man to help us!” It was near constant, even from kids younger than me.

I learned a lesson that day. Keep your head down. Never stick out. Be neither seen nor heard.

I learned it, but like much of schooling, quickly forgot it. The next seven years were similar mocking, right up until the age of 16. But at least I had the X-Men, hated and feared by a society they were sworn to protect. Unfortunately, puberty never brought me mutant powers. Instead, it made me really chubby and awkward.

I’m thinking of making a Beast costume for Halloween this year. However, instead of 4’5 and 70-90 lbs, I’m now 6’1 and 260 some, so I don’t think mocking happens much anymore.

ADDENDUM: As evidenced by this awful Vision costume from 2006, I never learned my lesson: