Being the giant nerds that we are, my husband and I go to, on average, about three renaissance festivals a year. The big one we camp out at with our friends, and much drunken revelry is had as is the way of the Renn Faire. His favorite part of the whole experience is steak-on-a-stick. Mine is the lead up: building garb.
I bust my ass on that shit. If hundreds of people are going to see it, it has to be something spectacular. My pride is at stake, and I will push the limits. What I found, however, is that when it comes to costuming for Renn Faire, it’s quite often all about tits and ass. Google Image that shit. Not just the belly dancers and fairies have their lovely lady bits hanging out all over the place, and it’s not just the women. Skin is in, and, for me, that’s….problematic.
It’s not really a modesty issue. I don’t think people should “cover that up,” or some such thing. I think everyone should be able to wear whatever they want. You should be comfortable in your clothes and with who you are and all that jazz. I just don’t like showing a lot of cleavage on a general basis. I’m a plus-sized lady with ample bosom, and I really don’t feel like I need to share it with the world. It’s just kind of how I roll, and I certainly don’t find fault in anyone who feels differently. It’s just a preference. This preference, however, still tends to apply when I’m building costumes. I found, then, that trying to reconcile my personal tastes with what I felt was expected of me was daunting.
For the first few builds, I tried changing my perspective to more of a “if you got it, flaunt it” attitude, and went a little more bare than I would normally be comfortable with. I quickly noted that my “bearing it all” was still very modest when compared to other women, my friends included. This made me feel….bad….like I wasn’t trying hard enough to embrace the spirit of Faire. So I pushed myself, tested my limits, changed my mindset, to the point that this small conundrum was starting to affect me in other areas of life. Maybe I, as a person, simply wasn’t open-minded and confident enough. Maybe, just maybe, there was something wrong with me. It’s a very bizarre kind of passive peer-pressure, and it hurts just a little more, because you’re doing it to yourself. I didn’t feel good inside, and I found myself utterly incapable of building a costume I could be proud of. Then one year, things changed a little bit.
I just stopped giving a fuck.
I was working part-time, going to school part-time, had just spent the last five months working on getting married, and, frankly, I was exhausted. I was so exhausted, I just kind of stopped caring about what other people thought. I put the last tweaks on the character I had been developing over the years, then built whatever the hell I wanted. No more, no less. And you know what happened for the first time? A Japanese tourist asked to take a picture of me. The next time we went to Faire, we got about five picture requests.
When you love what you do, do what you love, and, most of all, love the you that’s doing it, it shows. And it’s awesome.