Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Status: Hiatus (but will return in the future)
- Cost: ~$70
- Bought and worn in 2013
This one has a big story. Well, it's a big story to me, at least.
My high school anime club was into Gurren Lagann. I got about five episodes in, and I couldn't stand it, so I didn't bother watching the rest. Around three or four years later, one of my friends insisted to me that it was a fantastic show. I trust his opinion, so I decided to give it a second chance, and while it didn't really grow on me until [TRAGIC SPOILER], I was hooked as soon as Nia was introduced. She was super, super cute, and I thought about cosplaying her younger version.
Then I got further into the series and saw Nia become an antagonist against her will. I loved this girl, and I was so heartbroken by what she went through.
I knew I wanted to cosplay this version. I wanted to do something different than the young characters I always do, and I wanted to honor Nia, so that's what led me to a tight bodysuit, the tightest thing I had ever worn on my body.
I've struggled with body image over the years. Back when I was young, I didn't want to be a woman, and I certainly didn't like my body once puberty hit. I resisted wearing a bra for years, and I only got more frustrated with how I looked the further along in puberty I got, with my breasts and hips growing larger. By the time college hit, my metabolism slowed down a lot, and I put on weight. A lot of the friends I cosplayed with were thinner and taller than me, and it made me really self-conscious about how I looked next to them in photos.
I say all of this not to ask for compliments on my body, because when you have a negative perception of your physical attributes, strangers' compliments and assurances that you look great don't do anything--or at least that's how I feel. I decided to do a "sexy" (i.e. tight-fitting and of an older character) costume to assure myself that I do look good.
So, one day I was browsing the internet and saw that someone was selling their anti-Spiral Nia costume. I bought it from Star-tan as just the black bodysuit with the red markings, and I added the teal vinyl myself, hotgluing it to the suit while I wore it. (Ouch! Would not recommend.)
I haven't worn her since Anime Boston 2013, because I am still self-conscious about how I look. This struggle doesn't have linear progress; there are ups and downs. However, I am feeling more positive about myself than how I used to. Now I'm working on eating healthier and being more active so that the next time I wear Nia, not only do I feel attractive, but I feel strong!
Thank you for reading. If you struggle with body positivity, I know my words can't help much, but I hope they help you feel less alone. Sometimes, that's enough.
Photos by Smile Jade Photography and Some Kid. (Check individual photos for credit.)