Dreams of an X-wing pilot

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Star Wars has not always been part of my life, but the original trilogy has defined most of it.  I first came across a paperback novelization of “A New Hope” at a used bookstore somewhere in Los Angeles when I was in the fourth grade.  I showed it to my dad and asked, “What’s Star Wars?”  He looked surprised, “We haven’t shown it to you yet?  We should watch the movies.”  So we pulled out the trilogy VHS box and watched it with me, my two sisters, and my parents.

It was all downhill from there.

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I must have some obsessive disorder.   So since the fourth grade, I emblazoned everything I owned with lightsabers, X-wings, TIE fighters, and quotes of all sorts.  Elementary school holiday ornaments with “I find your lack of faith disturbing” scrawled on the side with dueling lightsabers.   You know those personalized street signs some kids get with their name “____ Street”?  My dad bought me one that proclaimed “X-wing Squadron.”  All of our pets were named after characters and then planets when we ran out of character names (we had a lot of lizards and pet rats).  My sisters and I wore out joysticks playing the DOS X-wing simulator.

And of course, every Halloween, I dressed up as Luke Skywalker.  For, oh, 5 years.

I was not alone in my Star Wars fandom.  I met one of my good guy friends at an elementary school math competition when I was reading a Timothy Zahn novel.  And then there were boys on the playground who I’d have discussions with.  But that was nothing to my friends in middle school.  Imagine a squadron of girls (mostly all Asian) all dressed in bathrobes, turtlenecks, and ghi on Halloween night.  We all wanted to be Jedi, none of us wanted to be Leia.  We claimed our own Rebel call signs, mine was Red Two (I had a crush on Wedge), and we had Star Wars sleepovers, Death Star pinatas, and they even set up a Star Wars trivia contest at our school.  And you know what, we never wondered if we belonged in the Star Wars universe BECAUSE WE DIDN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THAT.

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My call sign, Red Two, in Aurebesh

Then my squadron got into high school and drifted apart.  Not entirely sure why, but I have vague recollections of their shifting interests: grades, honor societies, sports, colleges, cool cliques, ill-advised forays into a fantasy series that will not be named, ….boys *cue eyeroll*  I still hung out with them, but still harbored my smoldering devotion to Star Wars, always evident during Halloween and Color Day.  And it’s stuck like a badge. =)

My first ever from-scratch costume was an X-wing pilot suit for Color Day, of which our school colors were orange & black.  I was like, “Oh, this will be perfect!  It’s orange&black and I always wanted to be an X-wing pilot!”  My mom helped me figure out how to use a sewing machine.  If she thought about it, I’m sure she would have been concerned that I was sewing a convict’s orange jumpsuit.  I was damn proud of that jumpsuit.

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Photographic evidence of my Color Day outfit

And just because I can, even though my girl friends had drifted away from Star Wars, my guy friends were even cooler (note: we were all the smartest kids in the class):

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So where am I now?  Well, the Force Awakens this week and I wanted something fun to wear to the showing my husband and I have tickets for.  But I’ve regressed from my “don’t give a damn stage” of costuming and there’s no one I could really cosplay.  Seriously, no Asians in the Star Wars universe? (If you even think about suggesting the Asian Twi’lek dancer at Special Edition Jabba’s throne room, I will cut you.)  I will never do Slave Leia.   I idolized Mara Jade from the “Heir to the Empire” trilogy, but I can’t pull off being a redhead.  Ditto for Admiral Daala.   Qwi-Xux is kind of appropriate and also incredible obscure.  I do have a Jedi costume and a new Rebel flight suit on my queue of dydreams, but most require more planning than I had brain room for this year.

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Enter a sweater I started for my birthday.  It was originally going to be a Weasley jumper in grey and crimson, which I’ve been making my colors.  I htink realized that I didn’t feel like Hester-Prynne-ing it up with a giant scarlet “E*” on my chest.  Hey wait, the Rebel Alliance symbol is crimson and I could revisit my original nerd obsession!  So there you have it.

*  Funny anecdote: the first sin for “E” I came up with was “Eugenics.” Art stared at me for a while. “Oh yeah, and Envy. That’s one of those Seven Deadly Sins.”

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Yes, my helmet doesn’t match my call sign, but I was working with what I had.

The pattern is “Polished” by Alicia Plummer and I added the crimson details using duplicate stitching.  Which took hours.  But I’m pretty happy with it.  Oh, and I added DNA to the sleeves just ’cause.

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