You Can Wear The Mask Pt 1

Motivation is everything when it comes to unlocking the superhero in you. Having a goal and seeing yourself at that point while you give your blood and sweat to the cause is critical to the success of this. I wanted to spend this post talking a bit about something that has become a bit of a new obsession for me and a driving factor in my successful health changes. That thing is cosplay!

For those who don’t know – cosplay at its most basic level is dressing up like someone else (‘costume play’). More often then not it is a character from pop-culture works such as comics, movies, anime, or games. You see a lot of this stuff happening at pop culture related conventions. There is an enormous culture around doing it.

When I first started on this journey my initial inspiration was Into the Spiderverse. The movie’s message resonated with me: “You can wear the Mask”. To me this meant that I could be a hero to myself. I could be the one who swung in and saved me from…! I’ve always been in love with hero myths and those so awe inspiring hero moments in film and books. I could channel that energy into myself and use it fuel me going forward. At the end of December 2018 I was determined to become a hero.

With my heart full of unstoppable energy I pushed into this new life. With the support of everyone around me and most importantly myself, I started to show progress. When I hit 20 lbs down for a some random reason I thought about cosplay. I always had an interest in it but never thought about actually trying it. For some reason I found myself looking up “Miles Morales Cosplay” and seeing what options were out there. The second I saw some of the costumes, I knew a mission had been laid out in front of me. If I hit my weight loss goal – I would buy a miles costume and dress like the hero that initially inspired me to become one. I would wear the mask. At first this seemed like I was cracking but the more I thought about it the more it made sense: the costume was a reward that was celebrating my physical changes. Instead of thinking of food at the end of the tunnel – I was thinking about embracing the new lifestyle I was creating. I knew in my heart this was the right thing to do.

I finally decided to share this crazy goal on social media and immediately my friend Meghan demanded that I go with her to Wizard World Austin. I accepted. This was real now. This was going to happen. This was in April and the convention wasn’t until November. I had many months to prepare. I started seeing myself in the costume in my mind. I used that vision to fuel me when I got tired or would just not be feeling it. It always worked to bring me back on focus. I saw myself standing tall and proud in a way I had never been before. Seeing myself in cosplay literally saved my life. Day by day, month by month, pound by pound. I fought with everything I had. I was going to be Miles Morales dammit. I had come too far to quit.

I used Halloween as an opportunity to test the waters. I ordered a Spider-Man Far From Home suit. I still remember slipping it on and mentally preparing myself. I was preparing to for the suit to show me how far I had not come and how I had left to do.

A slightly lumpy Spider-Man

I think I can say, without being to egocentric, that I was wrong. I didn’t look half bad and I can tell you that wearing something slim and having it not look wrong almost broke my mind. My wife said it felt like a complete stranger was in the house. At that moment, I knew I had found something to keep me going.

I ordered the pieces to Miles and with a little trial and error I finally found the costume. I want to emphasize how much the vision of me being in this costume got me through that first year of weight loss.

From here…
…to here

Halloween provided my first opportunity to wear the costume in front of total strangers (well I knew some of my neighbors). Several kids would clearly stop when they saw me and their parents would have to push them forward “look it’s Miles! You love Miles!” One neighbor who knew me stopped by with his kid and yelled out how he couldn’t believe it was me. “So this is what you have been doing! You wear it well man!” I’m so glad that mask was on cause I was damn near close to bawling. With that night under my belt, I was confident about the con. Well I thought I was. I mean I was going to go downtown wearing a body suit for crying out loud.

lil Caps are the best Caps

Well this post got long and I have more to say! Part 2 will cover the life changing experience that was convention and me embracing a new chapter in my life.

You can wear the mask