Sheri Rouse works in human resources at a large local childcare facility, is an amateur photographer, and a mother a three who has lived in Fort Wayne her entire life.
“We love music, theatre, and being creative,” she said. “ I am also the president of a non-profit that caters to parents who are raising kids that have experienced early trauma called Beyond Trauma and Attachment.”
Sheri’s daughter McCartney is a sophomore at Northrop and she has dabbled in cosplay for awhile. Cosplay is the act of wearing costumes and fashion accessories to represent specific characters. This year, McCartney met a good friend in theatre class named Kayla and they attended Fantasticon last fall together and Anime Crossroads in Indianapolis earlier this year.
“I can usually find McCartney in her room in wigs and makeup on video calls with friends or other cosplayers that she has met personally or knows through Instagram or TikTok,” Sheri said. “It has been really empowering for her, pushed her boundaries and increased her self esteem.”
During the stay at home order, the girls’ parents decided that since the kids were together constantly anyway, they would allow them to hang out because they knew that both families were taking precautions. It was important because both kids struggle with some anxiety and they knew they needed the in-person support of one another and the extended family they have built for them.
“During the initial week off school, the kids were hanging out at my house for several days and like always, they brought costumes and makeup,” Sheri said. “They asked if they could walk to the park to take photos, but I was not comfortable with them possibly encountering others. I asked if they wanted me to go and to take photos and we could find some spots downtown. They were thrilled! The photos turned out amazing and we ended up doing 3 shoots in 3 days as characters from Danganronpa, My Hero Academia and It Chapter 2. We have plans when the stay at home order is lifted to do a Heathers photo shoot with some of their friends from the Indianapolis area.”
Sheri said she likes to keep busy, so her inspiration comes from keeping her mind active. The photos were a great way to focus on something other than the frightening times. She loves to edit photos, so that kept her busy, as well.
“I have been sewing and crocheting and trying to find things that I can make that will keep me active and not focused on the ugly that is all around us right now,” she said. “My two teenagers at home always have tons of ideas and schemes to keep me busy.”
Sheri has noticed that during this time without all the regular hustle and bustle of life that they are sharing more as a family. She is the only one currently working and everyone is so relaxed in her home.
“We play games, we chat, we share stories of growing up, we CREATE whether it is photos, painting or drawing,” she said. “I don’t want things to go back to the way they were completely. Our minds were so full of the next thing we had to do, the frustration of work or school and the busyness of life, we lost sight of just being together and learning about one another. Art in any form can bring people together, spark memories and make us happy. We will make a conscience effort to continue that in my household after all this is done.”
If you’d like to see more cosplay photos, you can visit the kids’ instagram accounts: raye.cos_ and _redacted_cos_.