Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Some People Go To Therapy; I Have a Blog

I'm sad and pathetic.

I don't mean that in the, "oh hey, strangers on the internet, I'm feeling bad about myself; please tell me why I'm awesome" way.  (Although, feel free to tell me I'm awesome if you're so inclined.)

What I mean is that I feel sad a lot of the time, and compared to who I was, who I'd like to be, and what I know I'm capable of, I'm pathetic.*

It's understandable.  I spent all of my 20s and a good portion of my 30s coping with death, helping other people cope with death, financially supporting my now-husband-and-father-in-law/then-boyfriend-and-his-father, and working a series of jobs I loathed, and that effectively eviscerated my self-esteem.  As someone who has struggled with depression a good chunk of her life, and who seems to have a familial predisposition towards it, you can imagine what a fucking ray of sunshine this made me.  (Short answer: Not very sunny at all.)

So I did the rational thing.  I moved.  I didn't want to live in Florida any more, and change of scenery will do me good and force some much needed changes, right?  I found a new place, met new people, started doing things I enjoy, and very patiently waited to heal.  SPOILER ALERT: moving does not make it magically better.

It's been a year and a few months, and, in fact, I ain't anywhere near better.  Don't get me wrong; I've improved.  In fact, improving has been part of the problem.  Because I'm not self-abusive, feeling despondent, or trying desperately not to be suicidally inclined to jab pens in my eyes, I've been able to pretend everything is A-OK.  It's not, but I'm functional enough for my old friend avoidance to kick in.

This past few weeks have been especially rough.  Right on the heels of Ducky and I getting married, I got bad family news.  Sick mom, bad family news.  I also had a very clear blueprint of the direction I was letting my life go.  It was not pretty.  I managed to keep it together for a few weeks, but last night I finally lost my shit in a spectacular way.

I don't have quiet meltdowns, by the way.  I'm sure my neighbors love this about me.  I'd be more inclined to feel bad, if I didn't live in tiny, shitty, low-rent apartments.  All I have to say to my neighbors is, I haven't got people I owe money to banging on my door at 3am, so you will cope with my emotional trauma, motherfuckers.

Anyway, to sum up, I'm more than a little broken, but that's fine.  I'm not tin-hat-on-the-side-of-the-road broken so that's a plus in my column, and I'm trying not to wind up stay-in-your-house-and-never-accomplish-anything-while-you-drink-and-wait-to-die broken.  Also good!

P.S.  If you want to read someone delineating what depression and avoidance are like in an actually funny way, instead of just rambling in an over-long blog post, check out Hyperbole and a Half.

*  Feel free to ignore this whole post.  This is me, explaining things to myself, reminding myself why I don't have my shit together, and that it's OK.  I'm still good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Khakis Will Kill your Soul & your Sense of Empathy

I am dressed like an adult today. What I mean by this statement is that I'm wearing a minimum of black, and I'm not dressed like I stole the clothes off some poor girl who discovered 80s punk and 90s grunge fashions at the same time. Also, I'm wearing khakis. In my mind, khakis are the epitome of "adult/business casual fashion"; pants that are so dull, uninspired and boring that the only rational reason anyone could have for wearing them is as part of a uniform.

I have to wear them to work, because I was asked specifically to wear khakis and not jeans (even though everyone ELSE gets to wear jeans, including the owner). They "look more professional," I was told. I've decided that "looking more professional" is code for "looking like your soul and sense of induviduality has been crushed." Think I'm exaggerating for the sake of comedy? Next time you're in Target, take a good, hard look at the employees and tell me they don't look like their souls have been slowly ground down into a fine dust.

I'm also wearing some blue.

Along with this pathetic excuse of an ensamble I have a sinus infection that has blessed me with new bestie and constant companion I like to call Stephen the headache. I hate Stephen, but over the past 4 days, he's been disturbingly loyal.

This has made me very grumpy. Kick a baby grumpy. Hate on laughing children, and frolicking kittens, and singing nuns grumpy. I'm also fairly certain that after 4 consecutive days of having a migraine, I am no longer legally responsible for my actions. If you have a baby, or a laughing child, or a frolicking kitten, or a singing nun you'd like kicked, now is the time to ask.

I'll even wear my khakis while I do it. You know. So, it looks nice and professional.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Twitter: Causing Vincent To Get a Soul & Eep To Get Laid

Right. So it's my day off, and I've been drinking. Don't look at me like that. It's well after noon, and that's the kinda day I've had. I'm only on the schedule for 25 hours this week, 10 hours next week, and then I'm not working until after New Year's. This is going to make fun, recreational, holiday things like paying rent and eating an interesting challenge this month. So when I drive to the grocery store this morning and discover a screw in my tire, it kinda ruins my day. And yes, I'm sure it says something about me that I've been eating pasta, cheap tuna and saltines all week, but that I still managed to scrape enough together to buy beer. You're very clever.


I had a point when I started writing this, but fucked if I know what that was. So, looks like you guys are getting treated to free-form brain diarrhea. Lucky you.

TWITTER. I could talk about what I've been doing on Twitter so it doesn't seem like I just got drunk and logged onto my blog to be grumpy and abusive. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that during the month of October, I ran a "Twitter Only" Strange Fiction story. I'm not really sure what I intended it to be originally, but it ended up mutating into something entirely different, and entirely more awesome, thanks entirely to @MousetheDJ (who started out as a real person; now I'm not so sure). She jumped into the story and eventually ended up sacrificing her Twitter account to the Gods of Fiction. It was a fun, and often incredibly challenging, bit of fly-by-your-seat, no-editing-allowed exercise that was as much improv as it was fiction writing.

October 31st rolled around, and we wrapped up the story and then... Well, nothing. Both my co-writer and I currently have jobs where we have long stretches of down time. We found we missed the challenge, the character interaction, and most of all, the distraction.

So, we've kept it up. What the fuck are we doing? We have no idea. It's been fun. It's caused DRAMA! (capital letters and exclamation point and all). And, best of all, it's caused a rekindling of passion for these characters and their stories that I thought trying to slog through the Dread Steampunk Storyline had killed in me. So, think of this as a rough 1st draft, a hashing out of potential ideas, an expanding of characters and backstories (Vincent especially has gained a history and personality FAR more complex than anything I ever had planned for him). The best bits will eventually make it into the comic, and the rest, well, if you're really curious or a huge completionist, they're all here. Waiting for your perusal and disapproval.

Plus, if it wasn't for the Twitter Stream Tales, I would have never drawn this:

So there's that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Eep in a Loincloth: Enough to Fire Up the Internet Hate Machine

If you follow me on Google+, you've seen the shitstorm I caused when the following Twitter exchanged insulted some people.

(A bit of background: Eep and his girlfriend were attending Gothsgiving at the alt/goth club where they both work, and it was the dress code was gothic Pilgrims or gothic Natives.)

Then, things exploded. And this is my response. I'm posting it here for easy linking.

OK, a couple of quick things. Thanks to everyone who has come to my aid in this whole matter. I appreciate that you guys feel the need to defend me. D’awwww! Hugs all around.

Thanks to everyone who also has slapped me around on this issue. I understand why you’re doing it. You like my work, and in turn, that makes you want to potentially like me as a person. And, you don’t want me, a person you want to potentially like, to have what you consider a backwards/racist/inconsiderate/whatever viewpoint on an issue you feel strongly about. I totally get it. And yes, I agree that racist stereotypes are shitty and terrible. But (and you knew there was a but), I don’t feel that’s what I did here, so we ain’t gonna agree on whether or not what I did was racist and shitty.

But I get it; you don’t to think of me as racist and shitty, because you wanna potentially like me. (Hell, I want you to potentially like me.) So, d’awwww! Hugs all around.

There were a couple of points I was trying to make with this post. None of which I made very affectively. Clearly. I can try to blame the sleep deprivation that comes along with insomnia or the fact that I was trying to bang out a response before I go to work (like I am now), but it doesn’t really matter at this point. I mean, I could just go back and edit that entry until my points are clear (I love you for allowing me to do that, Google+), but I probably won’t, because I really just want this whole thing to die. Painfully. Possibly, in a fire. A fire made of burning knives and dog poop. That’s a terrible kind of fire.

The truth of the matter is that I have enough Real Life Drama and would like to avoid slapping Internet Drama on top of it. So consider the matter dropped from my end. We’ll just have to agree not to agree.

HOWEVER, I will apologize for one thing. I was also called out for referring to that anon comment as “Hate Mail.” The original commenter pointed out that it wasn’t intended to be that, and s/he is right. It wasn’t really hate mail. I used the term because I thought it was funny. So, mea culpa for that.

Also, I’m still amused as hell that, of all things, THIS is what caused a shit storm. I mean… I’m the one whose version of a Heartwarming Family Scene involved a father telling his depressed 15 y/o son to smoke rather than commit suicide.

The world is a strange and wondrous place.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Post in which our Heroine Defends the Working Creative*

Since I've been asked to write more (and by "asked" I mean by one person; hey, it's enough), I'm writing more, and I'm writing about an issue that's been rattling around in my head for a while. (And by "for a while" I mean since 5 am when my brain decided it had had enough of that sleep bullshit.)

If there is someone out there producing creative work that you like, work that you read/listen to/watch, and that work is less involved than it used to be, or the quality has slipped, or the production slows to a crawl (ahem), or it takes a turn you don't like, or goes in a direction you don't like, or you just flat-out prefer the way that creator used to do things: STFU.

No. Seriously. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I will make an exception for situations where the creator asks specifically for feedback on the new direction/look/style/hat/whatever. Did the creator say, "Hey! How do you guys like this new direction? I'd love your feedback"? Yes? Awesome! Send her/him an email. Hell, send a thousand emails detailing every last thought in your head! Include graphs and diagrams to illustrate your point. That's what s/he wants.

However, unless your opinion is requested, specifically requested, unless you hear those magic words "what do you think," keep your fool mouth closed.

I'm going to let you in on a little Trade Secret here. (PROTIP TIME!) Ready? Aside from a very, very VERY small percentage of us who are insanely talented/lucky/both, most of us make NO MONEY creating the stuff we share with you.

Yeah. I know. It's hard to believe, but most of that free content you enjoy on the internet brings no actual money to the person creating it. Zero. Ziltch. Nadda. Crazy, isn't it? I mean, even those of us who are mildly famous, who are respected and well known in our niche circles aren't rich. (I am NOT including myself in that group, FYI. I'm not even mildly noteworthy.) Fuck, even those people REALLY well-known in niche circles aren't banking mad coin.

"Ok. So what," you say. "What does that have to do with the topic at hand? MAKE SENSE, WOMAN!"

It means, that most of the time when there's a noticeable shift in theme, or when there's a retooling, or when there's a pulling back of effort or energy into a project, it's because the creator needs to pull back for reasons that have nothing to do with the work s/he is creating.

Remember a million years ago when I was doing those awesome, full-color steampunk comics? Those were neat, weren't they? Yeah. They should be. They also took me 10+ hours to do. I was staying up until 4 am to finish the comics, and getting up at 7 to be at work. While I was working 45-48+ hours a week. While I was stressed out because I was the only one with a job in our household. While I was trying to work out how to grieve another death in my family. And while a million other little things got in the way.

I would have LOVED to keep doing comics like that. Hell, I tried. Instead, what I did manage to do was break myself. I broke my update schedule, lost the majority of my audience, and generally made an ass out of myself as a cartoonist. (I make an ass out of myself as a person all the time, but that's a different entry.) Years later, and I'm still trying to work out how to get back to working on the comic regularly and still be a happy, functioning member of society. Relatively speaking, of course.

I'm not saying you have to like whatever new direction you don't like. Not at all. Hell, you can loathe it. You can hate it with the burning hot fires of 1,000 Tatooine suns. Shit son, liking the "old" stuff better is so common it's cliche ( & But TRUST ME, you don't need to tell us that. We'll notice. We'll see our site traffic slow, our audience dwindle and our Facebook likes evaporate. We check that kind of shit. In fact, we check that kind of shit compulsively. We will notice. And, if we're able, we'll change for the better.

And you know what? If the quality has been lacking, we know that too. Creative people are the most critical motherfuckers of their own work in the known universe. If you could harness that self-loathing, and convert it into a viable energy source, we could run the planet on it.

Being emotionally invested in a piece of work does not mean that you get an automatic pass to voice your opinion. I know it seems harsh to say that, especially if you love something, especially when you've loved something from the beginning, but that's the way it is.

Real Life gets in the way. It gets in the way a lot. And no amount of snide commentary, bitchy emails, or entrities to do things they way they used to be done will change that. In fact, it's more likely to do the opposite. It's far easier to quit than to pour your money, energy, blood, sweat, and bile into what is, essentially, an unpaid part-time job. And no one wants that. Not you, the audience, and not me, the creator. We create this shit because we love it and we want to share it with other people who will love it too.

Don't ruin it for all of us.

*Know that by "Working Creative," I mean someone who creates work that you enjoy who also holds down a job not related to the work which you enjoy. For a blog post defending the Professional Creative, see Neil Gaiman's much better "George RR Martin is not your bitch" post.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wait, I Was Giving a Fuck BEFORE?

I read this blog linked by @MissMonster when I first woke up this morning. (Note how it says, "The Complete Guide To Not Giving a Fuck." Nice.)

There was a lot there of which I needed to be reminded. I've spent too, too long being shell-shocked and hurt by the past couple of years. Fuck that noise.

So, I buzzed down the sides of my head as short as I wanted them this AM. (I may go shorter, but I don't want side-head-burn. We'll see.) I figure, if my boss is too awkward to mention what she sees as a bad haircut, I'm going to use that to my advantage. Plus, I'm a shift leader at a yogurt shop. Come on. It's not like I'm going to be doing this job for the rest of my life. I'm not getting a 401k or health insurance or any other benefits other than enough money to live from this job.

Plus, I've already proven I'm an asset (my boss DOES NOT want to have to fire me and start running the shop again herself, I can tell), so why am I trying to behave?