Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prejudgment and Cliques

I have been meaning to write this for a few months now. Essentially this topic came up way back at Wizard World New York City Experience during a friendly conversation with friends. It has since been a revolving topic. I am not sure if this is because I am bringing it up or if it’s just in all of our heads.

Anyway, after months of thinking about this and not writing anything down I thought that I might be more inclined to make a video because I think the reason I have not been writing it down is the sensitivity of the subject and how written words are often misused and misinterpreted without tone and context. However, very recently this was turned into a very heated conversation (most likely because the person does not know where I am coming from or where I was going to go with this) because of that I am not so sure I want to make a video because the last thing I want to do is react with anger (or be caught on camera upset).

So something that happens to me often is being prejudged based on my associations. I hear from friends much too often something like this “I really didn’t think I would like you, I thought you were just like so and so.” It honestly makes me laugh. I am happy that despite this prejudgment they took the time to realize this is not the case. I am not a carbon copy of any of the people I keep company with. Sure we have things in common but we are still very different people. I am also very capable of being friends with people that don’t care for each other. It’s actually pretty simple to be a link without getting involved. While some people live off drama, I don’t. I like staying out of it.

Often people with tell me their opinions on others that I have yet to meet. It would be very easy to take on that opinion but I choose not to do that. I choose to make my own opinion. Sometimes those opinions are correct and sometimes they are not, but it’s important to me to make my own. Very recently I had the unfortunate experience of meeting someone I had been warned about countless times. I approached this with caution and found out the warnings were well earned for this particular person. Honestly, there should be no need for such vagueness but I don’t believe in slander. Let’s just say it’s not someone in the cosplay community at all.

I have also had the experience of hearing people make remarks about known cosplayers prior to meeting them. People are often much different in person then they are online where written statements can easily be skewed to how the reader wants to hear it spoken or in the emotion of the reader at the time of reading. I hear these statements a lot “oh she changed when she got popular” or “she is really stuck up” and things along that line. I don’t understand how anyone can justify making that statement without actually meeting the person? I can’t for sure. While I can’t say that meeting cosplayers is always rainbows and sunshine for the most part everyone I have met is really cool, social and friendly.

It’s taken me awhile to integrate into social settings with cosplayers. This is partly due to my awkwardness and it’s also because it can take longer than usual to get to know fellow cosplayers. We all have our radars on high alert for anything that could potentially be dangerous in a physical sense and also physiological. I definitely do, especially in certain cities (NYC and Philly) but that’s a whole different story.

Very recently I have found that tight knit cliques exist in cosplay. It’s not that surprising really. Growing up I have never been an active member of a clique and I don’t plan on it. I have been in cliques and I don’t find them to my taste. As a somewhat creative person I need lots of different people with opinions and interests to fill my world. This is what drives my creativity and this is also how I learn new ideas and techniques. It’s from reaching outside of my own little world. It’s the exact same thing we do in trapeze. Sure I have a few people I usually hang out with (shout out to Mel and Wendy)… I mean literally hang… but we are a part of a much bigger group of people that we get to learn, borrow and share tricks and methods with. If the three of us didn’t reach out beyond each other we would never learn anything new. Of course there is the benefit of having tons of really kick ass friends on top of it. But if we only stayed the three of us all the time then we would be stuck at the same level of craft and probably with the same mistakes (often it takes an outsider to notice the smallest thing affecting our outcome).
Wendy, Mel and I on the triple trapeze back in the begining!  O.O
Eight months later we all preformed together.
Oh my... we grew... Some things you just can't accomplish with three.  lol

I don’t like cliques for myself. I think if I were in one it would be suffocating for my development as a person and stifling for creative development. I do think it’s a really scary world out there because of that it’s a lot easier to be in a small group of people and keep outsiders out. Maybe I am just a little more brave. I don’t know. I just can’t be like that. Nope.

I have known people in cliques and even been friendly with people in them and been a passive member. I used to be a candy kid. In fact, I still LOVE my raving memories. Absolutely love them. I had a group of friends I went with and while we stayed together at the parties we had loads of friends there as well. We stuck together but still socialized with everyone else. We split up from time to time but the rule was you went in together and you leave together and you look out for each other, but by no means not socialize with other people. That’s the whole point of being out! I mean otherwise we could put a CD on buy some glow sticks and stay home.

So I really don’t understand going to a convention out of town where a bunch of awesome and fun cosplayers are and not taking advantage of expanding your contacts by hanging with the same people you see every day (exaggeration). I wound up spending a lot of time with Joey and Drew at BCC last weekend but they are not the whole kitten caboodle plus I don’t get to see them every day or even monthly so I will take advantage of that but I also went and met other cosplayers and hung out with loads of friends that I also don’t get to see as much as I would like to. Heck, the few people I do talk to and see frequently were also at BCC and we barely saw each other, because we don’t need to we see each other enough.

People will do what they are comfortable with but clique life is not for me. I think it would be confining on my soul. This probably comes from being in controlling situations before and never wanting to be there again. Allergies I tell you! A-choo! Sniffle… sniffle…

It’s funny to me how much I don’t want to be in a clique and yet people seem to associate me as being in one. People tend to look at those involved in cliques as copies of each other and it’s assumed I am a copy of friends of mine by people that don’t know me. I think it’s funny and sad at times but as I said earlier I am grateful people have started seeing past that.

My point is, look at people as individuals and make your own opinion. Don’t base your opinion of hearsay or experiences with a friend of said individual. We are all unique and I am not na├»ve enough to think that everyone can be friends with everyone but try to make your opinion based on your own experiences and be honest with those experiences. It’s easy to attempt to start with a fresh slate and still have those outside opinions weigh on a person. It’s also pretty easy to ignore those opinions but it does take some practice. Try it out and you might be very surprised at the fun people you meet. Sure not everyone will get along and I certainly don’t like everyone, but at least I tried. I always feel like even if I don’t like someone at least I can understand why because that opinion was made from my own experience. I also think stepping back and allowing other people to make their own opinions is a plus as well.

I am going to Dragon*Con next year and I am very excited to see what happens there in regards to socialization. I have a feeling it’s going to be very different in a very good way.

People will do what they will and if you’re not hurting anyone then I really don’t mind. These are just things that have been floating around in my wonky head.