You’ve worked on your cosplay for weeks, maybe even months. You’ve put in hours upon hours of time painstakingly trying to get your costume to be “just right”. You’ve sat up nights trying to work your way through complex design problems and spent so much time on the Internet looking up reference pictures for the character that you worry your eyes might burn out of your head. But you’re obsessed, and when you finally get to wear that cosplay to the con, and it’s so unbelievably perfect and everyone is taking pictures of you and praising your work, all you can feel is pride. You smile and pose and say, “I did this. It was all me.”
But how do you say goodbye to that wonderful costume when it’s time to move on?
Recently, I had the experience of doing just that. In fact, I just got back from dropping it off. And I feel miserable. Four years ago, I purchased a custom Saber (Fate/Stay Night) costume online to wear to ConnectiCon, and the following year I even made the armor that accompanied it. Proudly, I wore that cosplay for the next four years. To say it simply, it was my baby. I had worked for months on that armor, and it never failed to impress. I even had my blonde hair cut at one point so that I could cosplay as Saber without a wig, and for this year’s ConnectiCon, I went crazy and modified my own LARP sword to look like the Excalibur.
But time and travel took its toll on the costume, and finally I had to admit to myself that it was time to let it go. But a cosplay like this, one that you’ve spent so much time (and money) on isn’t exactly something you can just donate to the Salvation Army for their Halloween section. Even though the costume is four years old and the armor has seen better days, I knew that I had to sell it. Still, it was hard to put a price on something that you’ve paid for with your time and energy, and something that has given me memories more precious than gold (yes, I might be comparing this to the sentimental nature of a wedding dress).
After some false starts, I finally found a buyer on Facebook who was willing to pay the price I had set on it. Since so many of the armor pieces couldn’t be shipped, I had wanted her to pick up locally. But since she didn’t have a car, I offered to drop it off–in Brooklyn–because she was paying so much for the costume.
Unfortunately, it was a miserable experience. To give the short version, it was a long ride there and an even longer ride home. I got lost in Brooklyn and had to deal with less-than-friendly drivers who wouldn’t give me any mercy, even though I was clearly unfamiliar with the area (for the curious, I live in a suburb of Long Island, and driving in Brooklyn might as well be like trying to drive in Manhattan… it’s awful).
I got lost going to the girl’s apartment (which I would suggest never doing unless you know where you’re going!) and then got met at the door by the girl’s very nice, but very awkwardly quiet sister. They basically took the costume and slammed the door in my face. And that was it. No “goodbye”. No “thank you”. I’ll never see that costume again. Ever.
Was it worth it? I’m still not sure. I was miserably upset leaving the apartment (and then got lost in Brooklyn) and felt as guilty as if I had just put my child up for adoption. As I said, how do you put a price on something that’s given you so many memories? Even when it was time to let it go and move on to another cosplay.
I still have mixed feelings about it all, but I hope that whoever this girl is (I never actually got to meet her) will enjoy the costume as much as I have over the years.