Ever since I was a kid, I always enjoyed video games. Immersing myself in another world so I can be an enchanted character to escape the real world was always therapeutic to me.
So much so, I still enjoy video games as a 30-something single mom of 10 and 12 year old girls. So much so, I recently did a sexy cosplay photoshoot of a video character that resonates with me a lot.
And brought my daughters with me to witness it.
For those who are illiterate to all things anime, Comicon, video games, and just plain ol’ playing dress up, cosplay is short for costume play. A quick search on Instagram and you’ll find plenty of gorgeous, scantily woman elaborately dressed as Chun Li, Raven, Super Woman, and Lara Croft.
I chose to dress up as a Dryad. Dryads are mythological characters who protect all things forest. They can be men or women, but are usually portrayed as young, beautiful women adorned with leaves for hair and a warm embrace for her woodsy abode. They are popular recurring characters in many RPG (role playing games).
You’re probably wondering why I brought my kids along for a photographer (a guy) to take pics of their half-naked mom. It’s quite simple. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not doing cosplay for likes or money. I’m doing it because it’s big fun and it allows for creative juices to flow in a constructive way.
My daughters watched my sew every leaf on my grassy bikini bottom and glue every piece of fake moss on my top for the costume. It took me a few months to make the costumes and my daughters were very involved and interested in how the final product would look. I took my eccentricities and made something that looked really cool. And it helped that it looked sexy as hell.
Why in the world would I be ashamed of my kids being around that? I would want them to embrace their eccentricities in the same manner. I dread the day my daughters allow society to try and make them feel ashamed of a weird but constructive hobby or craft they actually enjoy.
And men gawking at my appearance? Eye roll. I rather my daughters see me interact with cat callers than for them to be out in the world without me and completely clueless as to how they should react to jerks hitting on them. So, I welcome people to stare at me in my cosplay costumes while I’m with my kids.
And while it’s hard for some to realize it, video game characters can be very inspiring. I explained to my daughters why I picked a Dryad for my cosplay shoot. Dryads protect the woods and all its inhabitants. A dryad ensures the greenery is protected at all with her mystic powers, keeping intruders and poachers at bay.
That’s not a hard concept to translate into real life. I tell my daughters to be like the Dryads and do their part take care of the planet by recycling or watching how much water they waste while brushing their teeth. I tell them to think about the health benefits of incorporating more greens and fresh foods into their diet instead of processed fast foods.
My dryad experience even helped me make sense of a recent health scare too. Dryads water their soil, tend to their gardens and ensure everything stays green and healthy.
Sharing my experience with cosplay with my kids was way more liberating than I thought it would be. It was a positive way to show my daughters that eccentricities, even those of a fantasy world, should be explored and celebrated, not bashed and shamed.