(sorry for the formatting, my blogger page just doesn't like me with multiple pictures)
There's a part of cosplay which I never really thought about that is perfectly shown in the comic above. Back when I started handsewing my costumes, even until about a year ago, it never connected for me. But then something happened - I started to notice a lot of things popping up. I noticed 'Princess Companies' listed on social media - where women dressed up as Disney Princesses for girl's birthday parties and charity events where certain cosplayers showed up in character to cheer kids on and even one of the cosplayers I follow sells prints of his costumes to raise money for charity.
It never occurred to me that a hobby of making costumes and wearing them to conventions could affect other people around me so much - though I probably should have noticed from how much I fangirl when I see people dressed as obscure characters that most don't recognize but I love.
But it's more then that. It goes beyond seeing a character you love come to life in front of you. It's seeing that look in someone else's eyes for a split second when you show up in costume and you know you just rocked their world.
It's not a selfish thing, it's not a validation of why I cosplay, but it is important. It happens at charity events, conventions or even wearing a character's outfit to grab some snacks on the way to a costume party. There have been times where children have stopped us and asked for pictures or parents have done it because their little daughter/son is too busy hiding and waving her arms to form sentences. To that person/child seeing their favorite character come to life in person you are something they can't even describe. You're life. You're showing them that that one character they imagine and dream about is real, so maybe their other hopes and dreams are real too.
The child doesn't have to be dying of cancer, doesn't have to be searching for a hero and doesn't have to be someone who walks up to you. It could be a simple glance where they see that costume and that's enough to make a world of difference.
It never occurred to me when I started making my dresses that this was a thing, but I love it. It's important and it's something that we cosplayers and costume-makers need to bring more attention to. Because the character you wear - or want to wear - means the universe to someone and even if you never see the look in their eyes or catch that moment when they see you, it's important.
So seriously, love yourself and love your cosplay, whoever it is. Just do it. It doesn't matter what size you are, what color you are or your skill level. You never know when the character you cosplay can make a difference to someone near you. So just do it. You never know who's day or life you might touch.