Barbarian “Barbie” Link: The Character That Defines Wintendo 64

AUDIO

This piece evokes the feeling of winter, as does this track.

We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.


INTRODUCTION

Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers! Continuing our “Love Letter to Yourself” month, this week’s piece by the brilliant KT from Wintendo 64 is on the Barbarian outfit Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Why? If you’re not sure, we don’t want to spoil it for you.

We encourage you to check out all of KT’s amazing cosplays! She really is a top-tier cosplayer, and a fantastic writer as well! We’re also so happy to have had her participation in all four of our collabs: Hyrule, Games, Shells, and now Characters! KT, thank you for writing this unique and introspective piece for The Characters That Define Us.

And with that, take it away!


1P START

Isn’t Barbie just regular old Breath of the Wild Link in a fancy armor set? Yes. It’s the same Link. But it was cosplaying Barbarian Link that allowed me to define myself not by identifying with Barbie, but on my own terms. It was a year long project; the construction of this costume was during one of the most life changing and defining points in my life.

The start of this project was rough. I got some quick progress done in the first week or two but my motivation and inspiration died completely. I took almost a full month off and when I tried to get back into it, I almost ditched the project all together.

My mental health was at an all time low. The nights were flooded with anxiety and depression. I began to panic and wonder if I even enjoyed cosplay anymore.

Since I couldn’t bring myself to work on Barbie, I played the game instead. I spent hours running around Hyrule not even caring about finishing the game. I just wanted to escape for a little while and enjoy exploring the rich, colorful world of Hyrule. I figured if I couldn’t get myself to finish my own Barbarian armor, I could at least enjoy wearing it in game. I spent hours hunting Lynes for materials to max out the armor set. Wearing it in game helped soothe the thought that I might never finish my own version of it.

Sometime in October, I got my fire back. At first it was difficult after being away for so long. The biggest thing that motivated me to get back at it was watching other cosplayers live stream. Once I got back into the full swing of crafting, I felt like I never left.

At first I’d watch their streams while I played Breath of the Wild. While I ran around as Barbarian Link I’d watch friends work on their own costumes. It was watching other people create and push themselves that helped me put down the game and get back to creating. My depression was still running high and weighing me down. But one thing I learned about myself was not that depression was taking away my love of creating and that’s why I wasn’t making anything. It was that not creating was contributing to my overwhelming cloud of sadness.

There was a lot going on with school and in my personal life. But the thing I hated most was that I’d been robbed of my favorite hobby. The thing I’d sunk so much of my life into was gone almost overnight. What I used to escape from depression was now contributing to it.

Watching my friends stream pushed me back into cosplaying. I began working on my own stuff anytime I’d watch them stream. I’d watch my friends create and got my own motivation to join them. Then, on Halloween, I finished Barbie (for the first time).

I was so proud of myself. It was perhaps the biggest mental health victory for me in my entire life. I can’t think of any other time where I beat depression in the same way. I was at the worst I’d been and I still managed to finish. I celebrated this victory and called it complete for a couple months. I made a few other costumes and didn’t think I’d ever go back to Barbie. But in April, when I was in a much healthier state of mind, I began to wonder how differently Link would have turned out if I wasn’t being weighed down.

So I went back to Barbie. I went back and remade almost half the costume. And just for fun, I switch the color scheme from blue to red. By the time I finished I felt like it was a new costume.

I’m still proud of how this costume turned out the first time I finished. The first time around was about finishing and taking back my life from depression and anxiety. It was about completion, not perfection. The second time around was about improvement and details. It was about the difference in my work when I’m at my best and my worst.

To me this kind of symbolizes how I’ve grown and understand myself now. While making this costume was during the lowest point, it was also during the time of my life where I learned the most about myself. I’ve gotten significantly better at recognizing anxiety triggers and how to recognize early signs of a depressive episode. I’ve learned to tell myself it’s ok to call things finished, even though there’s room for improvement or it’s not my best work I’ve done. I know that at the time, I gave it all. And sometimes I have more of myself to give than others and that’s ok. I can call things finished and go back to them later.

Barbarian Link defines me by serving as a reminder that my best is enough. Even if I’ve done better before or could do better in the future. My depression and anxiety do not dictate my life. If that were the case I would have not finished Barbie at all.

Both versions of Link are the best I could have done. The first time making it took everything I had, but I was being weighed down. The second time showed so much improvement because I had so much more of myself to give.


MAGIPEDIA

See the latest Magipedia entry from The Well-Red Mage!
*COMING TUESDAY!*

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quests

>February 17, 2020 | Barbarian “Barbie” Link | Wintendo 64
>February 10, 2020 | Player One | Mr Backlog
>February 3, 2020 | Claire “Lightning” Farron | Livid Lightning

>January 27, 2020 | Peter Parker | The Reel Anna
>January 20, 2020 | Master Chief | Hear Dave Write
>January 13, 2020 | Roger WilcoMusings of a Nitpicking Girl
>January 6, 2020 | Yuna | A Geeky Gal

NEW QUESTS are announced every Saturday in 2020!

PARTICIPANTS (in alphabetical order)

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