I’ve been watching nature documentaries lately. The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans, to be specific. Because I like water, and whoever the standard BBC narrator is has a soothing voice. I’ve been learning a lot about fishes, interestingly enough, and how life in the ocean works, which isn’t surprising as it is a documentary series, but it’s left me fascinated.
I wish my actual “education” had embodied a sort of holistic approach to understanding the natural world. I love how everything is so connected….how one fish being hunted and eaten and the rest discarded is used by other fish to continue to live and every bit of every creature is as useful in death as it is in life. Their deaths aren’t nothing, they’re just a part of enabling others to survive.
Even coral reef erosion by being eaten goes on to create sand, which later, eventually creates islands, which then goes on to house birds and other animals. Land and sea animals depend on each-other to survive in a way I didn’t realize before. Also, did you know, Polar bears eat whales? If they can catch them…
Just…nothing is wasted (even in death), and that’s beautiful to me. Everything is connected and everything needs each-other to continue. I think sometimes we forget that – or sometimes, you end up having gone out of your way to not know that – but we are and it’s kinda magical.
Also hand fish.
WHY DID MY SCIENCE BOOK NOT TELL ME ABOUT THIS.
Oh wait, it would be harder to sell evolution not being a thing with a fish with arms, wouldn’t it be?
My kitchen cabinets that store dishes and food are organized and nice now.
We came back home from the park and I was like, wow, it’s so clean. It’s a nice feeling. We’ll see if I can’t stay on top of it.
Eventually I should reach the top of the fridge, but that involves a chair (as do all the high shelves) so maybe I’ll wait for my bruise to heal from when I used the chair and then failed the dismount, first. 😛 You know, so I can do it again.
I’ve been playing minecraft so much it’s invading my dreams. Seriously. EVERYTHING IS MADE OUT OF BLOCKS, and I keep finding coal (which I’m cool with because XP, woot, but dream XP doesn’t transfer dammit).
Minecraft is super fun, but also, upon reaching the 4th hour straight I start to seriously reconsider my life (as I make an inventory full of pickaxes and get back to mining) and like, why am I even? So I will probably attempt to resist the urge to mine tonight to give my brain and dreamspace a break from….mining and crafting.
I drew again yesterday and today for inktober, and fought the urge to burn them right after posting. My lines are shitty and my drawing is crap right now. It feels broken, but meh. I drew my coworkers as superheroes which was fun. This is what I get for taking a break and not drawing for a couple days, apparently. My hands just forget how pens work…which isn’t depressing at all….or anything.
Apparently “taking a break” = Kiery posts random boring shit on hen’s blog everyday.
I wrote about my recent weight gain on my fitblr, and I’ve been confused as to how I feel about it. Mostly because I feel several conflicting things at once and things I expect to feel but don’t, necessarily. On one hand, I feel heavy (because weight) and that makes me uncomfortable. On the other hand, when I look at my body, I see a human, instead of whatever I saw or didn’t see before. On another hand (lets pretend I’m like an octopi or something) when I look in the mirror I see a human body but I don’t necessarily recognize it as my own, just like, oh, there’s a person in the mirror. On yet another hand, I actually almost sort of feel comfortable like I’m at where I should be….right before I get bombarded by my mom’s voice and criticism about how she was so much thinner and tinier than me at my age and all the ages, and how she was a size 6 but should be smaller and and and….
But then earlier today, as I was trying to figure out how exactly I felt about my body and whether I felt good or bad about it today, I thought maybe it’s not either, maybe my body just is today, and it’s whatever it is. I don’t have to judge all the things all the time.
Sometimes I feel like if I’m not constantly at war with myself it means something’s wrong or makes my identity somehow less valid, which, now that I’ve written it out, seems kind of absurd. I think judging whether I, or bits of me (my body) are good or bad and having to almost decide that, stems from old fundamentalist mentality where the answer is almost always “bad”. But I don’t think everything is inherently anything, it just is, so why can’t I extend that to my body?
And, importantly: how I feel about my body (and myself in it) on any given day doesn’t change my gender identity, validity, or who I am.
Jerk brain, for some reason, doesn’t find that obvious unless I write it in a sentence. As if trying to feel better about my body + me is somehow a bad thing. Sometimes my brain is a real asshole.
Apparently the autumn is at peak so we went to one of the state parks and walked around and I stepped on all the crunchy leaves.
I actually didn’t plan on writing anything about the Ham on Nye debate Tuesday night, I planned on drinking and eating popcorn and watching everything implode in a talk-past-eachother kind of way. My mouth hurt, (still does, I have even better numbing stuff now, but it makes my lips stick together :P), we ended up getting milkshakes because Ham is more triggering and milkshakes are more comforting.
The debate went as I suspected it would – more cathartic for me and those of us who have left the Young Earth Creationist camp we were raised with. Ham had all the same material, I’d heard everything he’d said before at VBS, in DVD’s, and his theology permeated my “science” books even though they weren’t exclusively AIG. I knew all his answers, I’d seen all of his graphics, he said absolutely nothing new, at all, I remembered everything verbatim from my previous encounters with AIG as a child. To Nye, this idea is so unfathomable that he had trouble grasping and understanding his audience and I don’t know that he knew what he was getting into. To the people in that room, YEC is more than a science…theory(?), it is, in a very real way, a (the) foundation of their religion. Believing in a Young Earth is somehow, essential to this brand of christianity, my whole family, I think, is Young Earth, my immediate definitely, if not my grandparents too.
None of the arguments made in the debate were really going to change anyone’s minds I don’t think. I don’t know how many people were listening to it like a presidential debate, being really on the fence about religiously-intoxicated creationism and mainstream science, but who knows.
During the Q&A session though, Nye said one thing, one groundbreaking thing, and I don’t know if he even realized it. He said “I don’t know“.
What he probably didn’t know (or maybe did) when he walked into a room and an audience loaded with people who have been raised or told all of their lives and all of their childhood that they have to know all the answers to everything all the time and that “I don’t know” is not an answer and if you don’t know, something is wrong – saying “I don’t know” in a way that did not have defeatist or negative connotations is something that people raised in this sheltered and toxic environment have probably never heard. Their parents may have, but have denied themselves and their children that option, they’ve rejected the idea of not knowing for the burden of having to always know and have thrust that upon their children at very young ages.
Fellow homeschoolers have written about having to know the answers to all questions – even questions about the legality of homeschooling from the time they were like 6. This is true and this is devastating and this is too much, no one, let alone any child should be required to know the answer to everything. Yet this is what fundamentalists do – they require themselves and everyone they gather into their brand of religion (or non-religion) to have all of the answers to everything. They must always be able to back up a question with a pre-scripted answer that allows for no nuance. I don’t know is invalid.
People asked him the questions creationists are scripted to ask evolutionists (because they don’t know the answer but we do! HA!) and he answered, happily, excitedly, unashamed, and like he had been waiting to say it all night because it’s such a beautiful answer: I don’t know.
Ken Ham, and every entrenched creationist in the audience I’m sure scoffed at Nye’s reply. But what he said, in those three words, is something more powerful than he can know.
Because to the people who were watching who are tired of having to know everything because they realize they don’t know, who are maybe doubting, who are maybe thinking, who are maybe just trying to keep their head down to get by but secretly (even so secretly they may not realize it yet) want to taste something different, something not straight out of the book, Bill Nye just introduced the concept of freedom.
Because the freedom to not know (and that be an okay, even good thing) after coming from an environment where you must know is so so powerful. But one of those things, where you only realize it’s power once you’ve come to terms with the idea that it’s okay to not have the answers.
Bill Nye just introduced hundreds or thousands of people to the idea that “I don’t know” is valid, and okay, and not wrong.
That is the most important thing (I think) that happened in the debate, that’s what I haven’t been able to get out of my head. I don’t know. And it’s beautiful.
I want to build a nest around myself, and burrow into a hole made of blankets.
Life is a blur and I am overwhelmed.
I feel too big for my skin and too big for my house – like I’m growing and my clothes don’t fit right.
Like Alice when drinks the growth potion (or is it the cake?).
Simultaneously, I feel so inconsequentially small.
Like one minute mistake is enough reason for my existence to cease.
Like I have to be perfect in order to deserve living.
I’m prone, of late, to panic attacks and find myself struggling to feel as though I’m still in my skin and not just fighting to escape it. I feel like my bones are growing and pushing through the tips of my fingers.
I wash dishes and feel the hot water and the soap on my hands, or I stick up the bows that keep falling off my door and notice the tape stuck to my cold fingers. I snuggle my octopi and my cat and feel the soft, and it helps for a while.
Things that are small bother me more than they should – the pile of dishes, the cookies left out, the boxes on the floor. I need my peripheral vision to be clear, I need to create around myself a space that is blank so I can draw all over it with my mind later.
I feel too big and too small. I don’t have enough room, and the room I have I don’t deserve because I’m imperfect.
I fight, I flip out, I panic, I cope.
If I can manage to get past the hair-triggered chaos that occasionally likes to pop out in my brain – I remember that I don’t have to be perfect, that my environment matters to me, currently, more than it usually does, that life is a thing that happens and it’s okay to be swept by the tide.
I remember that eventually this will equalize – this overwhelming and restless essence will turn into something useful, as it always has.
Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be perfect. They’re supposed to be Pollyanna, Elsie Dinsmore, and Jane Bennet. They’re supposed to be completely innocent, unnoticed, modest, graceful, but still look beautiful and unblemished (while not thinking too hard about it).
Good Homeschooled Girls are impossible. All of us are wearing masks, we’re all acting feminine, we’re all hiding ourselves, because none of us are that perfect.
Instead, we are berated – we are told we are never enough, that we’ll never be good enough, that we don’t measure up. We’re told we need to fix our hair and only wear makeup to cover our acne, we’re told we need to look just so – but not focus on it. Our appearance and personalities are shamed, muted. We are turned into china dolls – empty, silent, porcelain – while we die slowly inside. Our unique identities are stripped – told to be sinful – our independence denied, and to fight for it is to abandon all that we were raised to be.
Our dreams – if they exist outside the chosen path – are cast aside, scoffed at, or allowed under very specific circumstances and made to end upon marriage and/or pregnancy.
And if we abandon this dream, or if we seem to have a particularly hard time measuring up to this standard? We are broken, and there is something wrong with us. To base our worth in who we are instead of when our uterus is used flies in the face of this ideal.
Elsie Dinsmore, Beautiful Girlhood, and Jane Austen are the books that are handed to us as examples of femininity and how we should conduct ourselves. Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be quiet, demure, masters in the art of domesticity – never raising their voices or asserting themselves, never doing heavy lifting (unless it’s babies or laundry baskets), always walking with poise, always graceful, always innocent and perfect, never loud.
The first two emphasize the devaluing of self as godly and feminine. I can’t speak to Jane Austen because I’ve never been able to make it past the first chapter.
Innocent, all with Hayley Mills and a yellow house in Maine and everything, harmless. Right?
If we leave it at the movie, sure(?).I didn’t know at the time, but the out-dated standards they sing about – is something that is invisibly expected of all Good Homeschooled Girls.
The line: hide the real you while it was probably meant to be funny and absurd was essentially my way of life.
I’ve always been stubborn, strong-willed, and independent – when it worked in my parents favor, this was a good thing, otherwise it was something to be squelched.
I was never really a tom-boy, sports bored me and seemed pointless – which, I suppose naturally meant I was a good candidate for the social experiment of super-girly-femininity. I was given books – Elsie Dinsmore, Beautiful Girlhood, Pride and Prejudice or Emma or Northanger Abbey (I don’t remember which ended up in our collection), and etiquette 101 for tweens (I can’t remember the name). I had to learn to be hospitable and submissive, though my parents never (or rarely) used the word feminine. Submissive and feminine are often synonymous here.
I read them, dutifully, internalizing the expectations (well except Austen. I just couldn’t, but that comes in later). My parents never really talked with me about this, they had a tendency to just give me the books and expect I learn from them. Elsie is less fiction and more a not-so-subtle way of giving young girls impossible and unhealthy expectations and telling them they’re worthless if they can’t master it as Elsie did.
It didn’t take long for me to realize Elsie is an impossible set of standards that I was never going to meet. Though the real line was when she married her father’s best friend. I couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore, arranged marriages to a man who’s old enough to be your father who was creepy as hell to you when you were 8, AND you’re too perfect and ideal to even exist or be relatable. Just, no.
The appeal of the civil war/regency era vanished – because I saw through what they were trying to do and I think it was my own secret form of rebellion, sort of. Good Homeschooled Girls are given these books as guidelines – Beautiful Girlhood literally is a guideline for femininity and social conduct.
As much as I tried to mask my nature, to hide the real me, I was never able to do it well enough to be the pinnacle of femininity that I felt I was supposed to be.
Austen bored me, because I couldn’t get into the obsession with ribbons and dresses and who’s-courting-who. Elsie and Beautiful girlhood just made me more painfully aware of the inadequacies I was already painfully aware of.
I felt broken. I felt broken because I didn’t live up to this idealized standard of godly womanhood (or girlhood). I felt broken because I am not delicate, and no amount of silencing myself was going to re-write the core of my DNA. I come from a line of stubborn women, you can’t demure you’re way out of it. Or maybe you can, but I couldn’t. I felt like that meant I was less desirable (the end-goal of being female being married and having kids).
Being born female meant that I had my entire life and code of conduct set in front of me, no personality required. I was required to follow the program. I felt wrong because the very fiber of my being was in direct opposition to it.
It still is.
I remember when I was 11 or 12 trying painfully to write fiction about an edwardian-era girl (instead of my book about the secret society of women who fought in the Revolution via spying because the Quartering Act) who sat in a garden in her frilly dresses and waited for suitors. I think I got maybe 4 paragraphs and then became frustrated because it was impossible for me to even write about that without getting bored.
The idea of being locked up, spending my life in waiting for someone to whisk me away, and then to spend the rest of my life locked up birthing and raising children horrified me. No matter how hard I tried to make it not, or how hard I tried to make it seem…as ultimate as people were telling me, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself it wasn’t certain death.
I couldn’t escape the feeling of the futility and meaninglessness of my life if all I was allowed to do was wait, and then have kids, and hope that one day they’d grow up to do the great things that I wanted to spend my life doing.
That meant something was wrong with me. I was too independent and god wouldn’t like that.
I remember being told, on several occasions, when I chose to fight for my autonomy, “independence is bad [for a woman], how do you think GOD feels about that [me being autonomous]?”
I was wrong and broken because I was not, am not, could not be demure, quiet, and feminine. I would never live up to the standards that good homeschooled girls are supposed to live up to – no matter how many masks I put on, or how hard I tried to hide myself.
I may never have been a tom-boy, but I was never the epitome of girlishness either.
Masks could only cover so much. I found ways to let myself be stubborn in subtle and approved ways. I was compliant to a point.
The things is, I know now that those books are poison to my rose-soul, but I still feel the need to embody all that is wispy delicate and feminine. I still feel broken because I don’t fit the mold when other people project it onto me. Because it is impossible for me. It would require giving up my autonomy and a complete change of taste.
I can’t watch Pride and Prejudice without raging, I generally hate dramas (there are exceptions to this), I’d rather read a good fantasy or scifi novel or comic than a book about amish courtship (don’t get me fucking started), I love a good action movie – Give me robots fighting monsters any day.
None of my most basic preferences are even considered in the world of godly womanhood and good homeschooled girls. It is assumed that I LOOOOOOOVE anything by Austen, that cooking, courtship, and children appeal to all of my tastes and interests, that robots and monsters and other-worlds are boring and unnecessary, and action movies are for boys. When I express otherwise, it’s all but laughed at or ignored.
I watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries without raging (loved it, even). I know Austen was groundbreaking for her time (a woman author? *gasp*), but I can’t read her – not just because I find it dry, but because of homeschool culture.
Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be looking waiting for their Mr. Darcy (an asshole, really?). Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be Jane Bennet (Lizzie is far too independent) which doesn’t make sense because Jane marries Mr. Bingley? I know too many people who are trying to hack the 21st century into a Jane Austen novel and it frightens and sickens me. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were balls and you married the person you danced with? I feel like that can’t be the point of Pride and Prejudice, but you wouldn’t know it in this particular subculture.
^ Don’t start thinking about it too hard, it’ll hurt your brain.
It is the obsession with denying women humanity – autonomy – and worth that pervades this whole idea. Good Homeschooled Girls have no needs. Good Homeschooled Girls are whatever they are told to be. Good Homeschooled Girls must gracefully and perfectly meet and fulfill contradictory requirements (look perfect, but don’t obsess about it! learn things, but don’t use your brain!), while never having a bad day or a human moment. Good Homeschooled Girls aren’t allowed to be.
Maybe it’s because I’m on that high from just finishing a comic after not drawing in way too long because set backs and busy-ness and certain-life-things just completely zapping any creative drive out of me, or because I’ve been rocking out to music in my headphones (which I’m sure looks entertaining), but, I’m really happy right now.
Dude, I make comics.
And I make videos about gaming.
The first of season 3 is yet to be out because reasons (not limited to, but including computer failure). I do have it planned though…And all but one piece of the puzzle has come in, so yay! Computer thing is being fixed tomorrow *crossfingers*
I had an epiphany in the shower a couple days ago…about how I don’t have to feel guilty for, I guess just the whole circumstance I am in where I am actually in a place where I can create and not have to worry about stuff. I realize I’m fucking lucky and that it’s so fucking rare for that to be a thing, and more often than not I have some weird kind of survivors guilt and feel like I should shelf it and join everyone else, you know? Because I almost feel like there’s something wrong that I have the ability to do these things and lots of people don’t.
But then I realized, that’s not actually helping anyone. It’s not helping me, if I’m sitting at home, paralyzed by guilt and anxiety because I can choose the work that I do, and I’m not desperate. It’s not helping me if I force myself to go spend my time doing something that isn’t helping me actually grow when I don’t absolutely have to.
What does help people, and what does help me, is if I actually use the crazy lucky situation I’m in and create, and keep creating, and doing those things and bringing stuff into the world that makes it better, or bringing in the stuff I want to see. I don’t know how long anything is going to last, no one does, so who am I to not make things while I can?
I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else. I just realized…I don’t know, I shouldn’t feel guilty or like something is wrong because my life and journey looks different. I shouldn’t be paralyzed by survivor’s guilt because I can choose where to dedicate my time.
Because I really do feel bad about it a lot. Which I realize is idiotic. *shrug*
And now I’m remembering this poem, which I first discovered years ago when I watched Akeela and the Bee:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
– “Our Deepest Fear” Marianne Williamson
And the more I’m trying to figure out who the fuck I think I am and what the hell I’m doing here and what makes me so qualified, the more apt it is, because….
If I’m quiet
and if I’m honest
and if I look deep within myself
In the corner I don’t want to admit exists
I’m terrified of my own power.
And that’s holding me back in the light of sudden…success
I’m really not that scary of a person
(you hear that psyche? I’m really nice!)
But for some reason, something dwelling in the cavern
I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.
I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.
That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).
Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.
I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.
I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?
Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?
Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.
Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.
But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.
Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.
I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.
I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).
I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.
I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.
I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.
But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.
I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.
But I can’t not do it.
And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.
I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).
I have to (and I love it).
I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.
I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.
(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? *begs*)
I left for PAX drenched in a crazy amount of social anxiety. My kickstarter was funded as I wason my way to the airport which was phenomenal and completely unexpected. It all suddenly became very real (but simultaneously completely surreal). Sometimes I think the scariest thing is actually succeeding. Like in Neil Gaiman’s speech, just waiting for someone to come by and say “nope, game over, we’ve found you out” for having the audacity to create publicly and wanting to be able to like, eat and stuff while doing it.
I’m scared of failing, really really really scared of failing, and for the better part of the week, I was terrified of admitting it. But it’s driving me crazy and into a not-good anxiety spiral, so here:
I am terrified. I am really fucking terrified that I’m going to fuck this whole thing up, I’m terrified everyone who backed me will hate me because I suck, or I didn’t do things exactly how they wanted, or because life happened – as it does (for instance, I came home to water leaks in my living room and studio, and now I need to replace the broken equipment as well).
So then the Q&A’s with Mike and Jerry (Gabe & Tycho) happened. They touched on anxiety, and valuing their work, and just doing it anyway.
These songs happened on Saturday and I realized something really important:
What I’m feeling, and this (increasingly volatile) cycle is normal, and I’m not alone.
Introversion and Drive
I watched the panels and the musicians, and I realized I was just one of many socially awkward, introverted, and insecure creatives in the room – including the ones on stage. I realized that the more creative I am, and the more I put myself out there, the more introverted I become, because I feel like I’m living so externally already and it’s an incredibly vulnerable feeling.
The more of myself I put into what I do, I feel like, the less barrier there is, which is awesome – authenticity is something I value and I get really irritated if I feel like I’m not being honest (hence: this post) and it starts eating away at me. It’s also really really scary, because everything feels so much more personal.
But, as much as that is, as much as I feel the need to invert and crawl into myself, I can’t escape one this drive.
This drive to create, publicly, and live, publicly. Every time I go to a con or see a panel or performance, it’s one of those things where I know I belong up there, creating things that I love, and other people love and want to know about. Like, it’s different somehow, and it’s an inescapable drive and something that I’m kind of moving toward.
I think this is a plight of creative people – especially creative people who tend to become introverted or socially anxious. Creating and sharing that creation calls to us and drives us and we can’t escape it; so we do it, because it matters to us and we don’t really have a choice, it is us. I think that’s okay.
I think it’s okay to feel anxious when you’re putting your heart on the line because it’s scary.
But I also think that I need to fix my anxiety, because it becomes crippling.
you’re at a crossroads
between everything you are and everything you could be
you know what you want
and what you’re capable of
but what you’re doing on that road is falling short
you’re making progress but not enough
you’re running through your arsenal of tools
but change is slow and painstaking
What you want so desperately
feels so out of reach
beyond the horizon, who knows how far
and at some point
as you look back on the colored pages of your past
you wonder if it’s enough
if it’s worth pouring your soul into ink and colors
if painting your spirit is enough to get you into the horizon
if your heart will carry you when you run out of drive
or if your drive will carry you when your heart is tired
you’re standing at the crossroads between your life beyond the horizon
and the life everyone expects
one is dangerous and the definition of the unknown
full of adventure and failure and heartache
is the death of the heart and soul
the giving up of dreams and aspirations
but safe and predictable
you’re at a crossroads
between what is and what could be
do you move forward into the unknown horizon?
or choose a safe but inevitable death?