Legionary Priestess Costume

So much is happening I can't keep up!  But let's talk about my most recent costume.

This isn't the first time I've shown this costume!  It was created for the Wastelander's Ball which I wrote about back in March.  However I never got any good, detailed photos of the costume and I never talked about the creation process, so that's where we'll start today.  Before we get into my costume, I just want to point out my girlish excitement that the official Blood Drive Instagram noticed and re-grammed Allyn's Julian Slink costume.  Talk about a COOL FREAKING MOMENT.

Enough about him let's talk about me.  So, one thing a lot of people don't know is that I dressed up as a female Caesar with my own special flair, for Salt Lake Comic Con back in 2014.  It was a last minute pipe dream that I somehow slobbed together and it wasn't a great fantastic getup, but I really just wanted to dress up and meet some Fallout fans.  I don't think anyone knew who I was and I had just moved back from Sweden so I was very much a loner and didn't talk to anyone or meet up.  The costume was held together with glue and hope, as my skill level was really poor, but I still enjoyed it.  So I guess we can say this costume was the precursor to my Priestess.  When I look back on it, it had so much potential, but my poorness+lack of skill+throwing it together last minute to the Benny Hill theme is what made me stop any further progress or development for years.

I started thinking about an elaborate Legion costume when I knew I was going to take Allyn to the Wastelander's Ball.  It's "formal apocalypse" wear, and I knew I wanted a huge sweeping dramatic skirt and a big headdress.  The Legion is the only faction that can really pull off something like that in New Vegas, so I started making some ideas.  The game mentions priestesses of the Legion and I suppose all of my Nordic/Celtic/Germanic medieval pagan vibes worked their way into this look.  A few drawings later and I had everything in mind.  We bought the supplies and began work in February.

The biggest challenge was honestly, my post partum body.  I spent months fluctuating weight, being a bigger weight than I ever have been in my life, hating my body, and on top of that searching for a fluffy ballgown dress.  That was the second biggest challenge, ha! The dress.  I found what I needed at the thrift store, but it was white and needed to be dyed red.  Like, bloody Legion red.  As you can see above, this fabric did NOT take well to the idea of red.  We had a good laugh, a mild panic, and hesitantly decided to try spray paint.

It worked like a charm.  It even gave the dress a weirder, firmer texture that just suits the apocalypse so well, almost like the dress is an old relic that's been burned or charred.  The other big project was the headdress and we played around with ideas of what to put on it; I wanted some type of animal skull but most of the ones in the desert are so dry rotted they crumble when you do anything with them.  We were toying with other ideas when Allyn took out an old creepy metal mask he'd put together long before we met.

It was like the missing gemstone in a temple lock or something, it fit so well.  I was stunned at how I instantly looked very "Legion" with the headdress.  Once the headdress and the main dress were finished, it was smooth sailing.  I painted the cape, we weathered the clothing, and while I slept feverishly in a hotel in Primm, Nevada, Allyn put together the remainder of my codpiece.

It looks amazing and I think it might be my favorite part of the costume.  I do intend to embellish it more in the days to come, but this is a great starting point.  There's a bit of lore here, and the codpiece design was all my idea.  In the older, scrapped Fallout stories, there exists a tribe called the 80's who roam the remains of Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, sometimes on motorcycles.  They're described as vicious and identify their rank based on the signs they wear--of course, the prized blue and red interstate 80 denotes a special member.  I live right next to 80, so it was only fitting that my priestess kept a bit of her home tribe with her after assimilating into the Legion!

From here it's just adding more details and finding a makeup routine I like! But I'm pleased so far, and not only is this bad boy going to be entered into Fanx's cosplay contest this year, but I have a special "version" of it planned for Zombie Prom.......stick around!

As usual...Allyn was instrumental in making this costume happen and he's the reason for all the awesome stuff we do together.  It's the best feeling in the world to have someone so talented and creative in your life, and even better when they encourage your own creativity and theirs compliments yours.  His enthusiasm and problem solving skills are infectious and if he were in game, I'd keep him as a companion for the whole main quest! 


Correcting Tongue and Lip Ties

I've thought about writing this since Ender was small.  I wondered if anyone would care, if it was worth sharing, and so on, even though when I was researching this myself there is precious little information out there about it, so by default I should have thought about sharing to raise awareness.  Anyway, I was going through Ender's old pictures and found a pre-lip-tie-fix photo and it just took me right back to those really hard days, and I thought, what the hell, it's time to share.

Tongue Tie 

So I actually got kind of "lucky" on this.  Allyn was an adult with a tongue tie.  Before I met him, I thought "tongue-tied" was a colorful expression.  But nope, it just means that your tongue doesn't lift properly and is "tied" via skin to your lower jaw.  In the case of a mild lip tie, maybe nothing changes.  In an extreme tongue tie, which Allyn had, things like touching one's tongue to the back of one's teeth is impossible.  This meant no ice cream cone licking for Allyn, for most of his life.  He had the tie corrected in his 20's, and it was painful and a long healing process.

It's interesting that breastfeeding is the new FRENZY CULT and yet not a lot of education is out there about tongue ties and how it affects breastfeeding.  I'd done all my duties and read up on proper latch and blah blah blah boring who cares god I don't miss ANY OF THIS, but when Ender first tried to breastfeed I told the nurse that it hurt really bad and her response was "yep. it hurts. that's life."  I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.  She was awful.  

But I pushed and asked the lactation consultant, who had no clue what I was talking about until I explained it and then said "oh yeah! I knew a woman who had that once and she had to have her tongue cut when she was an adult! Supposedly it's really painful!" UGH THANKS.  The worst part? "You know what helps bruised nipples? Rub a little breastmilk on it!"  I'm sorry, but breast milk is literally fat and sugar.  Do you want me to put cookies on 'em too? Butter them up maybe?  What other bodily fluids should I apply to my contusions? So dumb.  I absolutely hate that breastfeeding is this new pseudo-science-mystic-healing-powers bullshit.  So over it.  Anyway, that was also a bust and I'm getting off track.  She was no help is my point.    

Sooooooooo I pushed again and went to the hospital pediatrician, who I have mixed feelings about.  I'll explain why in a minute.  She was the first person who actually had experience with tongue ties, and after hearing my suspicion, she poked Ender to get him crying (keep in mind he was like 2 days old and I was very sad to see him cry like that.)  The minute he opened his mouth she said he had a severe tongue tie.  I was happy I stood up for myself and my son, but annoyed that I had to ask three separate people and it was me asking instead of the medical professionals during whatever checkups they do, but whatever.  

I didn't know what to expect since Allyn's experience had been so painful and traumatizing.  I guess it isn't so when done on a baby, because Ender didn't bleed, he didn't scream, he was just annoyed at having a little spatula in his mouth to lift his tongue up.  Unlike circumcision, which is a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure, this was a cut on an infant (haha) that I feel like really truly helped him.  Allyn was a little jealous that Ender would get to go through childhood without the trauma of not being able to speak or eat properly.  I was just relieved and thought we'd fixed the problem.

Lip Tie

But Ender was still having problems.  I noticed that he had what I called a "turtle lip" and I suspected it was the cause of his bad latching issues.  When he was only a week or two old I took him back to the pediatrician with again, suspicions that he had a lip tie.  A lip tie is bad because it also prevents a good latch, which whether the baby is sucking down from a boob or a bottle, they get extra air, they have reflux, and so on.  They can contribute to later problems as well, although since that was the "survival mode" of motherhood all I was worried about was the eating and latching.  The pediatrician looked and said yes, he had a severe lip tie, BUT (and this is why I have a mixed opinion of her) she was very haughty about correction of lip ties and stated that "maybe a dentist would do it, but would they be doing it for the right reasons?"  Implying that money was the only reason you'd want to remove such a feature.  She urged me to wait it out and see if things "got better" WHICH IS THE WORRRRRRRRST ADVICE to a new mother with severe PPD but whatever lady, I'm sorry the dentist hurt you.

Poor old Ender was having a rough go of it and I got so mad about the doctor visit that I switched pediatricians which is the best choice I could have made.  Ender's new doctor took everything I said seriously, checked his mouth and was stunned at how "glued down" his lip was, and he called in another doctor who had extensive practice with the procedure.  They asked if another pair of doctors could witness the procedure and I said sure, have at it.  It was just the same as the tongue tie; took a few seconds, shed a few tears, and bam, a HUGE problem was fixed.  And almost like he was reading my mind about the gall of the other pediatrician, the doctor said "We'll see if we can look up some codes for this to bill it as cheap as possible since this was medically necessary, at this point."  Guess not every lip tie fixer is in it for the money EH LADY?  I was and am, very, very grateful for these compassionate and understanding men and wish they would have been around for my traumatizing birth and first three weeks, ha!

I don't know how well I have helped Ender medically speaking; I know that he could eat better but still had reflux most of his early days.  I know that we only breastfed for a month and I attribute a lot of that failure to the lip and tongue ties and the idiocy of the medical team "on my side" or whatever, and I know that according to Allyn, growing up with a tongue tie was completely miserable and I've spared Ender years of pain and strife.  I also think it's likely he could have had speech problems with the combination of a "severe" tongue and "severe" lip tie, and now that's one less thing he has to worry about maybe?  When we got home and I saw how full and luscious his lips were without the frenulum holding his lip down I cried because he has my lips and I had no idea before that.  Just have a look at the before and after. (The before is the photo that prompted me to write this entry)