Saturday, August 25, 2012

You Gotta Have a Gimmick

I've gotten a couple of kind offers to come run with people. I'm not ready yet. Not because I don't think I can do it (although I'm hesitant because so many people are faster than I am).

It's the costume.

Let me explain.*

There are a couple reasons why superheroes wear costumes--to hide identity and to be symbolic. In my case, it's a little of both.

At age 17 performing Shakespeare
I've mentioned that I was never remotely an athlete. My tribe was always with the theatre** geeks throughout high school and the beginning of undergrad. By losing myself in personas--aided by costuming--I was able to do bold things because it "wasn't me." That I didn't continue to perform*** didn't stop me from mentally using this technique in other aspects of my life (for example, public speaking).

I was mildly interested in the possibility of running when I started. But when I discovered this whole subculture that runs in costume, I found myself on fire for it! I love cosplay in general, but it seems to be a game for the young and slender (neither of which I am). Plus the opportunities are limited to conventions. Running, however, seems to have a much larger scope for cosplay in both body shape and venue.

At age 20 in the musical Camelot
I looked at many running costume possibilities--and there are plenty of them--but Wonder Woman seems to fit where I am in my life right now. I don't want to be asleep in my life like Snow White or so many of the other Disney princesses. I want to be strong and brave.

At least for now, running is a pretty solitary activity for me. I'm still very self-conscious being slow and overweight. If I'm going to run in public, I'm going to need the persona and symbolism to get me at the starting line. It's a weird psychology, I know.

So, I'll see you in October. I figure a year of running 5Ks as Wonder Woman will help my brain accept that I am a runner now. Then I'll be able to run as myself.

And then I'll consider my next costume option. What do you think about a TARDIS dress? Because I'm definitely bigger (and more complicated) on the inside.

* We'll call this the More Information Than You Need portion of our program.
** Yes, spelled that way and pronounced "thee-ah-TAH" as affectedly as possible.
*** The reasoning as to why not is probably more complicated than it needs to be. I've done mostly choral performances as an adult and left it at that.