Sunday night we got home from Ubercon; exhausted but happy. For the unlikely folk reading this blog who do not already know me; Ubercon is a gaming convention in Edison, NJ that a good number of my friends and I trekked out to this past weekend.
A gaming convention, for the uninitiated, is one of those wonderfully nerdy events like a Star Trek convention where folk of like interest in the realms of Sci Fi, Fantasy, Computer gaming, tabletop Roleplaying Games and general costumed madness get together to celebrate the stuff they love.
Ubercon is a con that a few of the fantastic new friends I made this year (hi Liz and Tali) help to run. I mentioned to Ted on the way home that this is to them what the LARP is like to me and Sandi – a huge labor of love. We were so happy to be able to go share it with them and appreciate all the hard work they put in.
Also… best Con party I have ever been to. Ever. ‘Nuff said on that…
I’ve let myself believe over the past five years or so – that the time in my life where I’d feel really good about how I looked was behind me. That being admired was a happy memory from my twenties that I’d always take with me and appreciate, but that I had put to rest and had no need of any longer. After all I have the constant warmth of my husband’s regard and honestly it’s been more than enough. Ted makes me feel like the most beautiful thing in his world on a daily basis.
This weekend I rather awkwardly re-discovered the part of myself that doesn’t mind being considered attractive by other folks as well…
Let me explain.
The world of conventions isn’t really like the real world… the Hollywood standards of beauty don’t apply. As such, a moderate looking girl such as myself who can properly fill out a corset draws appreciative glances. And I won’t lie; you know it’s not the real world… but it still feels good.
This ties into my love of costuming… every day clothes are boring – but costumes rock! My mother instilled this love of non standard attire when I was little and she’d work every year to make me a unique Halloween costume. I was a dragon, a Unicorn, a gigantic egg (my sister was the chicken) all in costumes lovingly made by her hand. I looked forward all year long to Halloween and getting to dress up.
Then I became an adult and Halloween sort of went away… the chocolate was nice, but it’s the costume part that I truly loved and missed. Until I blundered into the world of RPG’s, conventions and Renaissance Faires and discovered – with joy – that these people dress up crazy whenever they feel like it!
In past years and at various conventions I’ve been part of an all-girl pirate crew, a gothy fairy, and this past weekend part of a roving Steampunk Science Squad (you need to see the attached pic to truly appreciate this one) among many others.
After putting on my costume I was acutely self conscious… Ubercon isn’t a huge costuming convention so there weren’t a ton of people dressed up. I kept telling myself it was okay because we had a purpose – we were passing out flyers for next year’s Steampunk LARP. It took time, but gradually I relaxed. By the time we got to the party that night I felt great. This is largely due, as usual, to my fantastic friends. When someone who loves you tells you you’re beautiful, you believe them. As awkward as it was for me (I’m better at giving compliments than receiving them) it was wonderful too.
For awhile now (and by awhile I mean years) I just kept thinking; why bother to dress up? You’re just gilding a fat lily. No matter what you put on it, it’s still just… fat. And that was just so, so silly. The crazy thing is; I’m only twenty pounds lighter. It’s a significant change but not that significant – I’m still 260 lbs. – and that’s a lot of woman. What changed that let me find the joy of costumes again is my head. I’m making positive changes in my life, so I feel better about myself – and that’s all I needed.
I’m not abandoning my effort of course; my goal is still to loose about 130 lbs. total before I’m done. But here’s the cool thing… I realized that I do not have to wait until then to feel good about myself. I can go ahead and do that right now.