Making a Difference: A Letter to Yaya Han

Samm May 20, 2014 2 Comments »
Making a Difference: A Letter to Yaya Han

Dear Yaya Han,

Miss M, has idolized you since the very first episode of Heroes of Cosplay. I know the kind of reception the show got in the Cosplay community, but for us, it was a quick and easy way to expose Miss M to our wonderfully creative world. You see, Miss M is a foster child. She’s been in the system since she was four years old. She’s twelve now. When Miss M moved into our house in August 2013, we had only a few weeks to expose her to as much geek culture as possible before Dragon Con. Heroes of Cosplay became her favorite. Ever since, it’s been “Yaya Han this” and “Yaya Han that.”

Miss M sporting the ears she bought from Yaya Han's booth at Dragon Con. Those ears didn't come off until we got back to Chicago.

Miss M sporting the ears she bought from Yaya Han’s booth at Dragon Con. Those ears didn’t come off until we got back to Chicago.

C2E2 was Miss M’s second convention and her very first time cosplaying. She was Louise from the show Bob’s Burgers. It was a simple costume and we worked on it together. It was great bonding for us. But during that process Miss M struggled with making mistakes. You see, when Miss M makes a mistake or feels like she is going to fail, she shuts down and more often than not, melts down. In her mind it is better for her to fail because she chose to then to fail because she couldn’t do it. A small extra tuck and few uneven seams (she’s a first-time sewer) in her dress sent her into a tailspin. It led to this conversation:

ME: It’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes on their costumes. You can’t even see it.
MISS M: (very close to a meltdown) No it’s not! Not everyone makes mistakes! Yaya Han doesn’t make mistakes!
ME: I think that would be a good question to ask her, don’t you?

And that’s exactly what she did. Miss M asked you if you ever make mistakes. Your answer? ALL THE TIME! Then you did something I never expected. With a long line waiting for your autograph, you patiently explained that everyone makes mistakes…even you. That every costume you make has one or two mistakes. And what do you do when you make a mistake? You learn from it. You don’t give up. You took more than ten minutes of your time to tell my daughter that it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we get better. That’s how you got better.

AutographIn that ten minutes you made a huge impact on this little girl. Don’t believe me? Well, since C2E2 Miss M has put more effort into her schoolwork than we’ve ever seen before. (She even made the A Honor Roll!) Things that would normally get her “stuck” don’t automatically shut her down anymore. “It doesn’t matter if you fail so long as you try” and “learn from your mistakes” have become the new mantras in our house as well as, “what would Yaya Han do?”

You autographed a photo for Miss M with the message, “always follow your dreams.” It currently hangs above her bed and is marked by a post-it note with your name surrounded by hearts. She was so excited to go to school the next day and tell everyone she met you, what you said to her, and how awesome you are.

You didn’t have to be so kind to my daughter. You could have quickly answered her question, signed the photo, and sent her on her way. You had a huge line of people waiting. I almost expected that to happen. You surprised me. More importantly, you made a difference to a little girl who desperately needs the adults in her life not to let her down. You showed her that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to fail as long as you try. You made more of an impact on her in 10 minutes than most adults have made her entire life.

Thank you for that ten minutes at C2E2. Thank you for taking the time to inspire a little girl who needed to know that even her idol makes mistakes. Thank you for making a difference.

AKA Miss M.’s Mom

Miss M meets Yaya Han

P.S. Miss M is already talking about her next cosplay. She can’t wait to show you at Dragon Con!



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  1. SennaNo Gravatar July 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Annnd Im in tears.
    A loving parent, a great role model and an adorable Louise? Tears.
    I met Yaya a couple of years ago and she is just lovely.
    Keep your head up Miss M, I can tell just by your pictures that you are full of life and are going to shine so bright. Especially with a mother that obviously just adores you! Hugs!

  2. BeckyNo Gravatar July 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    This hit me right in the feels. I work with kids on the weekends and they’re always the one teaching ME things. I try my best to always be encouraging around them because you never know how one conversation can affect their lives, as the situation you’ve described shows.
    Also being a veteran costumer myself, I feel like it’s my duty to help the ones who are just getting into the hobby, like others helped me. Because you never know how your words and actions can inspire.

    Ps- Your daughter makes an AMAZING Louise.

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