Cosplay and Friendships: How Cosplay and Cons Helped me Find my Place
Making and keeping friendships as an adult can be tough. Listen, I even had a hard time as a teen forging genuine friendships. I was that geeky, and proud, girl writing and editing stories for the school paper, nose buried in a book and comic books hidden in her bag. Little did I know that in the future all that nerdy attitude would help me truly find my place.
Growing up, I always adored Batman, Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman. In my 20s, I did not embrace the geekiness as much, kinda hiding behind the early 2000s “Sex and the City” fashion vibes and media events that I schmoozed at. It wasn’t until about the mid 2000s when I met a wonderful group of gals that made my “Real Aurora” come out and I really let my geeky flag fly.
This group, known as Geek Girl Brunch South Florida (Miami and Fort Lauderdale) was the place where I met these ladies. Each brunch was themed to the max, and I happily started donning some cute cosplays (Batgirl, ’80s Jem, Harley Quinn) to a variety of brunches and felt empowered. These girls also went all out to dress up, and I finally felt like I had found my place.
Though COVID has brought group brunches to a halt, these girls are still close friends of mine and we all share a love of books, comics and pop culture. What I love more about cosplay and the community that it creates, is that we are able to bond over a common character, or love of a same television book or comic book movie, with no holds barred. I felt like I can be myself at all times, and a lot of these friends that I made have become also book club buddies, birthday gathering attendees, and have been known to check in when the going is tough.
Flash forward to today, and I’m also a huge fan of comic book and pop culture conventions. My husband and I, donning geeky costumes, can be found roaming around a convention or two, such as Florida Supercon, Megacon, and New York Comic Con, and we have also made some lasting friendships there. From bonding together at a panel, to walking up to a complete stranger that later became a friend due to a similar taste in costumes and characters, we are loving the fact that these events bring us together in ways that adults usually cannot get together in the present. With full time jobs and responsibilities, it can be hard to find kindred spirits, but I feel like these conventions have kept my friendship dance card full, and I still communicate with people who we have met and spent time with and we look forward to seeing each other yearly.
You could say that cosplay, comic book cons, and geeky get-togethers have made me proud to be the girl that I am today. Currently, I’m looking forward to attending the Cons this year, seeing all these old friends and finally dressing up after a tough 2020. My classroom is getting ready to be set up with new 2021 superhero and pop culture posters, and I cannot wait to have tales to share with my students and other friends of how fun it is to don a costume, be yourself and just be a part of something bigger that connects all your passions.
I honestly advise any other pop culture and geek culture lover to open up their heart and try to step away from their comfort zone to attend these events. I have had a lot of times where I have battled with my depression and bipolar anxiety, and making new solid friends and escaping into a fun convention or event with like minded souls has helped me open up. It’s also made me realize, and I am thankful for this, that it is so possible to make close friends as an adult.
We are not an island, and if we are brave enough to let our true colors show, we can find like minded individuals, and even find the truth of who we are within ourselves. I know, that there’s nowhere I’d rather be on a day off than hanging out with my fellow cosplayers and my geek community. To me, they are home.
Need cosplay inspiration for your next con? Here are some book-inspired cosplay ideas to get you started.