So, for the past four days I've been working on my Halloween costume. Yes, it's a month till Halloween... But, it is two weeks until I will be going to the Not So Scary Halloween Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Now, most people go out and buy a costume, or they'll take things they already have and modify them the tiniest little bit to get the desired effect. Me, I feel the need to do the best that I can at it. I'm pretty knowledgeable, good with my hands, use some basic engineering, and I'm okay with a sewing needle. But this past thirty-six hours, I found out that I'm pretty capable of adapting to new materials and methods.
If you follow my twitter, you would probably already have guessed at what my costume will be. And were you to know me now, the man I've grown into, you would know that I really identify with the character that I will be. But that's neither here nor there. What I really want to talk about is the title of this post: Don't Be Afraid.
I was more than concerned whether I would be able to get everything done in the time frame that I have. I've been sleeping less, which gives me more time to do these things. But I've been dealing with doubt, setbacks, and what most people would call disappointments. I'm going to be honest, I am being incredibly ambitious with this uniform (He is an officer after all). I had to make a 3D cardboard model of the helmet, which came together in a few hours. From that cardboard model, I had to do some clay sculpting to get the shape and size I desired (All knowledge I already possessed). My problems started when it came time to make the actual shell.
I have never worked with fiberglass. I've never seen anyone work with fiberglass. And, for the first time, YouTube was of no help. So I was going into the situation blind. Reading directions? Helpful as hell. Makes me wish they had directions to relationships, haha, but I digress. After the first layer I was still very iffy on my ability. I wondered; if I was doing it right, whether it would come out properly, if I was I wasting my time.. After the second layer I had confidence that it would work out. Removing it from the mold and sanding the outside further boosted my morale. Now, circling the actual helmet with a layer of repair work presently drying, do you know what I see? Something else that I'm quite good at because I took a chance and attempted it. I honestly cannot wait to be able to wear it around like a child and play make believe.
Money, an obvious setback in that you need it to get the necessary materials. I had to sacrifice time doing fun things to work more hours to make more money to make this possible. That's a lot of makes, but all of that sacrifice is paying off. Some of those materials are not easily found. So, sometimes you need to modify your plans in order to get them done. The boots, for instance, are cavalry boots from World War 2... Not easily found and incredibly expensive. There was the possibility that I could get a pair of boots repaired to get the same effect, a buckled leather strap that goes around the calves. But, I don't have the time or the money to get them repaired for a third time in their life. So I had to rely on a pair of World War 2 jump boots I have, and mocking up the leather flap. Really, I'm going to wait until I have it mostly together before I decide whether or not I even want to have the buckled flaps for my particular uniform.
Probably the most frustrating part of everything, all the disappointments. The biggest one that I've had so far? The shield. As I mentioned earlier, I'm being pretty ambitious with this. I had a piece of stainless steel that was already in a dome shape, all I had to do was cut it out and I'd have a shield. Metal nonetheless! It didn't take long to get through the first piece of steel, but that revealed the first issue: a half inch of space between the piece I wanted and a cast iron plate. So I had to find another way of getting it out of there without using the sawzall. Ok, I thought, we have a jigsaw and I'll just use that. Nope. The blades would break because there was not enough room, so that was out. Well I can use the acetylene touch! I got half way around my stencil when I ran out of oxygen... Progress was good, it looked like I would be done with it in a half hour, instead I had to abandon that for lack of fuel. Finally, with the help of a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, I made it all the way around the circle! With a bit of prying from a couple of crowbars, I was able to see why it has been such an ordeal. My would-be shield was tack welded to steel bars that were welded to the cast iron plate... My metal shield became unrealistic and impractical in the circumstances. For a day I agonized over the prospects for a metal shield that I did not have the funds to waste procuring. Then, late one evening, it came to me! It doesn't have to be metal to be a dome and sturdy. Within ten minutes of this realization I had my plan sketched out. Now, three days later, I have a solid wooden shield that will be finished by Thursday. And because I'm making it from scratch, I have the ability to build in conveniences. I'm much more pleased to say the least.
To wrap it up with a bow: despite all of my doubts, setbacks, and disappointments, I didn't give up or back down. I have a vision for what I want to present, and I'm going to make it happen. Without succumbing to my doubts I was rewarded with a new skill that I can employ for an incredibly diverse amount of situations. I adapted to overcome the setbacks, allowing more lateral mobility with almost every aspect of the project. Finally, I didn't allow my disappointments to grind everything to a halt, instead they have been disguised blessings that just need a different light.
Now all I have to do is keep my excitement in check and exercise patience. And though it is kind of hard to do that when I can actually touch these once pictures in my head, I can say with confidence: I got this no matter what is thrown in my way.