Hi. My name is Pan.
I'm a cosplayer. I cosplay because I enjoy finding outlets for my creative energy and because I think it's really fun to dress up in costumes. I taught myself how to sew, mostly through trial and error and by learning tips and tricks from my friends.
I started cosplaying before I knew the term existed. I dressed up as an anime character for the first time in 1999 for Halloween and I've been making costumes since.
I don't think there's any one definition of what cosplay is. I have respect for anyone who dresses up and calls themselves a cosplayer, from cosplayers who spend hundreds of hours on their costumes, to cosplayers who come up with a costume the night before a con, to cosplayers who buy their costumes. To me, however you want to cosplay is legit.
I used to let cosplaying stress me out. This was for many reasons. I didn't always cosplay what I wanted to cosplay, and I quickly learned that forcing yourself to work on a project you have little interest in is not very fun at all. Moreover, I used to spend way too much time worrying that people would judge me based on the perceived quality of my costume or by how well I suited a certain character.
I don't think being "good" at cosplaying should be defined by someone's appearance or by how much money and time they have to spend on making a costume. I feel like narrow understandings of what makes a cosplay "good" just end up excluding people or making them feel judged, and that's not cool at all. If oppressive words, actions or ideas are ruining peoples' cosplay experiences, then I think that we, as a community, need to work towards creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment. I think everyone should be able to cosplay and have fun doing it.
If I were to summarize the lessons I've learned from my experiences, it'd tell you that cosplay should be fun. Remember that you don't need fancy sewing skills or makeup or wigs or photoshop or anything else to be a cosplayer. Remember that if other people or dominant social forces are making cosplay toxic for you, that's in no way your fault. Remember that you are beautiful just the way you are. Remember that you are always more talented than you give yourself credit for. Remember that you don't have to be "perfect". Remember that your skill level doesn't reflect your self-worth. And if thinking positively seems like a challenge, remember that you're not alone. These are all things I have to remind myself of.
I have an instagram account. I can also be found at ACP and DeviantArt, though these accounts may not be up-to-date.
My cosplay partner-in-crime is Becky and we used to cosplay a lot with our friend Sakura. You'll see them mentioned all over this website.
These days, I tend to make only one or two costumes a year, which is a pace I enjoy working at.