Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Cosplaying as a Sane Person

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Kurt Broz
THE Kurt Broz is not just a personality for Nerdbot, but he's also the editor-in-chief and a real live scientist! Born on the snowy shores of Lake Erie in good ol' Cleveland, Ohio, Kurt Broz has been there and back again, now residing in sunny Southern California. You can find THE Kurt Broz in cosplay, buying comics, hiking, and even writing for Nerdbot and WLFK Productions. He may be a child of the 80's but he is certainly a man of the world.

This weekend was an amazing weekend. I was able to interview Rikishi, Victoria (aka Lisa Marie Varon), Sam Jones (Flash Godron!), and many other interesting celebrities and attendees to the Long Beach Comic Expo. I should feel fantastic. I am on an upward trajectory. Things are great.

Why we do this: Great friends and great people to meet.

But I feel like shit.

I’m engaged to a brilliant, beautiful Nerdbot Girl. I’ve got a fantastic support system of family and friends. I’ve got loyal dogs. I drive a cool car. I have a wonderful job.

But in my brain, you see, some days that doesn’t matter. I had a great weekend that logically I know lots of people are envious of. But today I’m depressed. I’m anxious. I’m fat. I’m a failure. I’m utterly worthless. There are a million negative  adjectives I could use to describe my own opinion of myself.

At least, I am when I’m trapped in my own head.

I got fat. Again.

I am on medication and in therapy. I’ve tried to kill myself. I have royally fucked up relationships and jobs because I have mental health problems. Sometimes it’s a chore to not screw it all up again.

That’s all okay as long as we can realize what our problems are and fix them, working everyday to be a little bit better than we were. I realize I’ve used some unhealthy coping mechanisms lately that have caused me to gain weight, which in turn makes me feel worse about myself. I’ve been ignoring my writing because mounting rejections frustrated me to the point of giving up. I’ve been dragging at work because I’m an environmental scientist and the current political climate makes it harder for me to do my job and makes me feel like people don’t really care about wildlife or clean water or breathable air. I’ve been ignoring my costumes because I don’t feel comfortable enough in my own skin to wear a cosplay.

In summary, I’m doing really shitty… In my brain. Outwardly, though, life is fantastic. And that disconnect makes me feel worse. I’m broken. I’m awful. Why can’t I just be happy with everything I have?

Happiness is the love of my life and my beautiful friends.

The struggle with mental health isn’t a destination. I didn’t wake up on a Tuesday with the things I was seeking out when I was an overweight, bullied, comic book geek and suddenly depression and anxiety disappeared. Years of being told you’re a freak or fat or not good enough don’t melt away. Rejection letters from publishers linger in my brain next to the women who cheated on me. Having on-and-off eating disorders didn’t stop when I was a vegetarian with a healthy weight. Nothing ever fixes itself, no matter how perfect everything around you is.

That’s what hurts the most. When those people ask why they aren’t making you happy. When your mom or wife or child or boyfriend or a stranger can’t figure out why their actions aren’t making you happy, whole, complete…

Because they absolutely are.

This weekend I had one of the best weekends of my life. I was happy and surrounded by great people Friday to Monday. Then Tuesday after Long Beach Comic Expo I woke up and I felt like a miserable loser. I was having major anxiety issues. I couldn’t focus. I felt like an imposter in my own life. I saw my man boobs and gut and I felt like I’d failed my own body. I just felt so…

…Insignficant.

Me at 7 AM. 

Dealing with mental illness is all of this and much more. It’s the uncertainty of tomorrow and the fleetingness of today. Mental illness is constantly living with PTSD. It’s knowing you can never erase a sexual assault. It’s giving in to a past of addictions. And the most important thing I’ve learned in some 20 odd years of my own issues is that mental illness is not giving up, finding what makes you feel better, surrounding yourself with positive people, and helping others.

You are not alone.

You can stumble and fall, as long as you get back up.

You our can hurt someon as long as you sincerely apologize and fix the situation.

Most importantly, we can all help each other in the nerd community.

I’m crazier than Duella Dent and have spent more nights suffering from my problems than Batman. But I vow to try and be better for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for the community. You should too. A lot of us have problems and too many people hide them. There’s still a stigma.

To hell with the stigma on mental health.

My name is THE Kurt Broz. I have anxiety and depression. I have body image issues. I’ve hurt myself and others. I’ve been a cutter. I’ve had anger issues.

Please, give me a hand if I need it. I’ll do the same for you. The cosplay and nerd community isn’t just toxic assholes. It shouldn’t be ever again. Let’s talk about our mental health issues AND let’s try and fix them, or at least work at being better tomorrow.

Unless you still think Batman v. Superman was good. Then I’m sorry, but you’re a crazy weirdo beyond help. Ugh… That movie. This is why we can’t have nice things! Well, BvS and the prequels. Hey, maybe my mental health started deteriorating when Dexter Jettster stumbled in to my life…

Take time to stop and Instagram the roses in your life. 

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