On March 13th, shortly before midnight, I got a very enthusiastic message via Shattered Stitch Cosplay – which was unusual because I rarely get mail.
“Hello, my name is Arjay (Ricky) Floyd and I started a small community based company called Living For the Moments. I started this community with the purpose of sharing the little things in life that are wonderful, and getting to know other Cosplay enthusiasts and the known names in the Cosplay world. The biggest purpose of this community is to share Cosplay to the world, and show off the hard work these men and women put into looking as close to the original, and sometimes better! I really want to show the world how much work they put into cosplaying. I would love to interview you for my page !!! https://www.facebook.com/LivingForTheMoments http://www.youtube.com/user/LFTMCosplay”
I was pretty surprised that someone would want to interview me – let alone via video. My dear friend Christina of Bewitched Raven’s Cosplay had shown my work to Arjay and he contacted me directly. I accepted his request, not really sure what to expect. When it came time to be interviewed, I was met with a very bubbly and charming fellow on the other end of the intertubes – and we got started. I was really excited to see my first “big girl” cosplay interview go up – it was a big moment for me that someone cared enough about and enjoyed my work enough to want to share it with others. It meant a lot.
The more I got to know Arjay, the more I began to see how much he truly loved cosplay. He knew cosplayers far and wide of every level and every style. He followed people’s work no matter how many “fans” they had and even sponsored some cosplayers who were struggling with builds here and there. I wondered what drove him – was he just an otaku? A superfan? What was it about cosplay that made Arjay love it so much, when he himself wasn’t particularly a cosplayer himself?
Overtime, I became friends with Arjay and he asked me to step on as an assistant admin for Living for the Moments on Facebook to help him manage content. He was self-conscious of his communication skills – namely his typing and phrasing – and asked me to be the “word magic” behind the posts, to which I agreed. Even though I held the reins for most of the scheduled content – I was always excited to see Arjay’s trademark language style peek through when he posted something he was excited about or a new cosplayer he had discovered on the page. It always made me smile to see his level of joy being infectious to others.
Over the time of our friendship, I was brought onboard with Word of the Nerd as one of their cosplay correspondents and naturally reached out to Arjay and our lead boss man Bryan to try to set up an opportunity. When the Word of the Nerd overhaul went live, we added Arjay to our list of cosplay staff and are working to give him his own cosplay/Living for the Moments property here on Word of the Nerd – and the rest thus far is history.
One of Arjay’s trademark things about Living for the Moments are his interviews – the very thing that got me involved in the whole thing. Starting out with a shaky hand-held camera filming his monitor – he has since moved up to broadcasting via YouTube and from cons on-site. Out of all the cosplayers and cosfans he had interviewed – no one had really ever asked him about his story. I sat down with Arjay to give him his turn in the hot seat, and made some heartbreaking discoveries.
There was a time – not so long ago – where Arjay struggled with severe addiction. Drugs, alcohol, and partying dominated his life and he spiraled into a deep, dark place. Sitting in the bowels of a depression – Arjay desperately tried to cope using substances. In December of 2012 he was at one of his lowest points with alcoholism and addiction, and ended up in jail. Coming out of that – the very next week he came out to DESTINATION! and met Katie George, Yoko Mizuharu, and Kimihako Blade . After hitting rock bottom in his life – he wandered his way into the loving arms of cosplay and its community.
Arjay goes on in the video interview to emotionally reveal that he had never found a place where he felt like he “belonged” – as he moved from clique to clique and group to group throughout his life, never fitting in. He has suffered unkind comments about his appearance, he has been bullied and backstabbed, and he has struggled with some of the darkest demons in life: but upon discovering the cosplay community – he felt at home. He had, as I said during the interview, “finally found his people”. Suddenly his love of the community and its denizens made complete sense – when he was in his darkest hour, he found people who would love him and accept him as he was. The community, from his experience at DESTINATION with those cosplayers who had been so kind and friendly, had not only changed his life – but most likely saved it.
Arjay still struggles with addiction and alcohol in his day-to-day life – always trying to keep the beasts under control. Even though people still try to bully him for his appearance and his excitable fan nature – he continues to be a never-ending source of positivity and smiles for the community – and we love him for it. Arjay’s no-bullshit, no-bullying policy via Living for the Moments has gained him cosplay friends far and wide of every level of talent and notoriety. Arjay has made a positive impact on so many lives, including mine – and I just wanted to tell his story and say thank you.
For just being you – accepting all cosplayers as cosplayers regardless of their body, skill, creed, sexuality, or any other qualifying condition. You treat everyone as a friend, are a trusting and kind person, and truly try to demonstrate the best of what the cosplay community has to offer at all times. You have been through hell and back – and yet you remain positive and uplifting. That’s hardcore.
Thanks, Arjay, for everything you do. For who you are. For what you stand for.