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What Cosplay Means to Me as a Person With a Congenital Heart Defect

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I’ve been ill my whole life with a congenital heart defect. I had surgery when I was 15, and when I was 16, I discovered the world of cosplay, which was four years ago. My best friend invited me to a cosplay convention and told me to try it, too. Since I had fun, I decided to continue doing it.

I’ve met most of my friends through cosplay even though we only talk online. For the first time in my life, I felt accepted. We always help each other out with our costumes and talk to each other about recent anime and games. Still, here are three things I wish I could tell them:

1. I can’t attend all the conventions and photo shoots you invite me to.

I can only attend one to three conventions per year and need to rest for at least a week before a convention or else I’ll be in pain the whole day. And sometimes I can’t attend a scheduled photo shoot because I can get ill suddenly.

2. I can’t do a certain pose by certain characters — my body won’t let me.

That character’s pose looks painful and even other cosplayers are having a hard time doing it. It will be twice as painful for me since it will trigger my illness, so please understand why I can’t do it.

3. As much as I want to cosplay a particular character with you, I can’t.

Sometimes it just isn’t a good month for me and my health is at its lowest level. I need to prioritize my health over cosplay.

Even though I face challenges, I still choose to cosplay since it adds fire to my life. It adds more meaning. I’m able to showcase my creativity and talents and passion. It gives me happiness.

The cosplay community is an accepting community, and it’s one of the few places where I’m accepted as an equal and not looked down upon for my illness. When I put on my wig and costume, I’m not just a girl with an illness, I’m a superhero, a singer, a princess or anything I want to be

With cosplay, I have power and control. At the end of the day, it won’t make the pain and illness disappear, but even for just a day, it is forgotten. 

Originally published: September 19, 2016
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