I'm not sure where to start with this. I guess the main thing is that I feel like I let everyone in our Angelique group down. Or rather, I feel like they feel like I did. To deal with the stress of it all, we had to come up with several reasons why I shouldn't feel like I let myself down, why I did all I could. Because stress is always lessened by feelings of indignance.
There were a lot of unforeseen factors that contributed to the incompletion of the costumes by AX, including a lack of transportation, graduation requirements, and other things that were going on at school. But the fact does still remain that had it not been for three character flaws of mine, the costumes could have been finished anyway. The first is procrastination. If I had started on the costumes right away, and worked on them consistently, there's no question that I would have had time to finish them, even with all the unforeseen factors.
The second is perfectionism so extreme that I really think it could be considered certifiable. I remember one time I messed up on one of Zephel's shin-guard thingies. I can't remember what I had done wrong, but I thought I needed to cut out a new one, and I was upset because, while I did have enough fabric, it wasn't enough to cut it parallel to the other shin-guard I had cut, so the sheen would be different. There were several pieces that I ended up making twice (or more) because the first one looked off. Thinking back on it, that was dumb, because being so particular about a little thing like the sheen of the fabric takes away time to be particular about the important things. I think the idea of craftsmanship judging was playing with my mind. And I thought I would have time.
The third, and worst, thing is pride. A couple of members of the group offered to take a costume or two off my hands on a few occasions, but I wouldn't let them. I felt like they weren't asking because they were concerned about my stress level so much as they didn't believe I had the skill to make them properly. I also was too stubborn to realize that the transportation thing was enough of an issue to cause problems. In the past, we hadn't had any trouble getting to Jo-Ann's whenever we wanted, and I had been able to finish that many costumes. Of course, those costumes weren't as elaborate, but I still wonder sometimes why I had so much trouble with some of the Angelique costume components.
Athena fully admits that her fear of hot glue was another factor, but this story is all about ME! Blah.
Normally, none of that would have bothered me. In cosplay, sometimes the costumes turn out, and sometimes they don't. Or at least, that's how cosplay's always worked for me. And those costumes were elaborate.
But there were two people in our group who would never be able to come to AX again. I can imagine that they might have felt betrayed that we didn't keep our promise to finish the costumes, especially since it was their last (or only, for one of them) trip to AX. It was supposed to be special. They had told us that it was okay that we didn't finish the costumes; we could work together to finish them at the convention. But one stupid little thing can ruin a lot. The night before the ceremonies began, we were visiting them in their hotel room. I had been working on costumes for days straight, including that day, and I was tired. I wanted to relax just one night before the convention started and I would be trying to work on costumes and attend a con at the same time. So I wasn't sensitive to the fact that they hadn't been able to work on their costumes at all that day, and I asked them to not make me think about costumes.
After that, while nobody said anything, we got the feeling that we were hated. The people who said they'd help us seemed to be avoiding us. And when we were together, they seemed very cold. And after I expressed my fear that everyone hated me and thought I was irresponsible, all I got was confirmation.
After the massive disappointment I had caused, I can't say that they weren't justified, especially since it was their last AX. But we felt hurt and betrayed. Not to mention stressed out; I had no idea how I was going to finish all those costumes on my own at the convention with only a tiny sewing machine that didn't like me. I actually had thoughts along the lines of, "If I get really sick, or maybe if I died, I wouldn't have to make these costumes any more." I was not in a happy place.
While I like to think I would never, ever be stupid enough to commit suicide, I think it's entirely possible that Gina saved my life that weekend. She and her friend Melissa lent us their sewing machines. (At least I think her name was Melissa; she was the Lacus from the Gundam Seed cosplay group we tried to join, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the role. When she found out I couldn't finish the Milly costume, she even offered to let one of us wear her extra Lacus costume. The group had decided to meet at the Tomokazu Seki panel, which is why we were there instead of helping everyone with costumes (we expected to see some Shugosei there, not realizing they were going to spend that time with costumes), but I did spend the entire panel hemming one of Clavis's many skirts.)
And so we were able to get the costumes to a wearable point. To be honest, because of everything else that was going on in my head, I didn't even really notice how the costumes turned out, or at least not long enough to remember. Since then I've always assumed they turned out very badly, and we apologize to anyone who had to settle for such mediocre costumes.
Once we finally got serious about rehearsing for the Masquerade, everyone seemed fine and we were all getting along. But because I'm paranoid, I got the feeling afterward, at Disneyland, that we hadn't been forgiven. I guess that's fair, since we never officially apologized. I do feel like Athena and I made some big mistakes, but I also feel like we tried very hard to fix them. Maybe we didn't try as hard as we could, or maybe our best wasn't hard enough, but I apologize.
Recently I was talking to one of the people who's last AX it was, and it was brought up that they're considering coming to AX this year. And I said, "And here you were so adamant about last year being your last AX." I'm really sorry I said that! It's so obvious looking at it that that sounds like we want her to stay away from AX, but that wasn't true at all. It was that I felt like a lot of the pain and disappointment from last year hinged around the fact that it would be her last AX, and I was trying to say, in a horrible passive-aggressive way, that all the disappointment she felt was unfounded, that we weren't as horrible as we felt she thought we were (even if she only thought that for the one weekend). Again, I'm really sorry.
And that's the end of our Angelique saga. There's a bit more to our current costume trauma, but that's the bulk of it, and I think I've taken up enough of people's time. At least of the people who read it.