Cienan Muir has been involved with many Kalinya events. An Executive Member of the Koorie Youth Council, Cienan played such an important role in the 2016 Koorie Youth Summit that we asked him to join Kalinya as a freelance events staff member.
This is Cienan’s story:
How cosplaying helped me
Imagine, it’s 7.30AM on a cold Saturday morning in Melbourne, more precisely at Southern Cross station.
Making your way to the train platform, you spot several Marvel superheroes, a few Disney princesses and hear the march of a SWAT team. It’s a convention weekend!
Sci Fi conventions, comic-cons, book fairs, nerd fests – whatever you might call them, I’m going to tell you why I love them and how they helped me.
As a young boy I was diagnosed with Leukaemia. I would have to learn how to walk, talk and think all over again.
At the age of ten a big part of my life was lost when my father passed away.
As a result of these two major events in my life, I fell into a deep depression, shamed at all things I did and thought. Things I was passionate about, I wasn’t anymore.
Popular culture, and the solace I found in reading comic books gave me much needed time out and also a group of people I could chat with, without feeling shame, intimidated or judged.
I had found a group of people who liked the same things I did and talked about it.
From there I started to attend conventions with my girlfriend, she was not at all ashamed to dress up and she has helped me in gaining my confidence. We now attend most major conventions within Melbourne and Sydney together, often as characters from the same movie or TV show.
Cosplaying is not just dressing up. It’s about creating a costume. Learning how to produce something as awesome as armour, or finding new ways to make a costume suit you.
It’s about being in character, and it’s about finding like-minded people to talk about a common interest in comics, movies or books.
I graduated from Deakin University with a triple major in social sciences, which often helps me looking at social situations and why some work and some don’t. I look at the comic-con setting as a platform where the notion of shame does not exist, it’s a safe environment away from the ‘all too real’ realities of the world where the concept of shame is often at the root of many decisions and consequences.
The concept of shame itself is interesting, the concept that we as humans care more about the opinions of others, other than family, is something foreign and dangerous for our culture. These conventions, which people think are childish, have taught me to be comfortable in my own self and surround myself with like-minded people.
As young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we must conquer the concept of shame and self-doubt, we have to conquer these foreign concepts which foster a foreign mind and we must conquer the knowledge systems of the foreign to beat the game.
I often encourage other Koorie people to get involved, because this has taught me a lot about friendship, courage and awesomeness! It has seen me walking through the city as a comic book superhero or a movie character and I love it!
Take a walk in my world, it may not be for you, it may be just what you were looking for, but my message is don’t be ashamed- be black, deadly and proud!
So, if you’re reading this and want to take the first step, I’d say join me at the next convention! And don’t be shame! Your world is YOURS, it is what you make of it.
Photo: Hollie Johnson