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Tag: fear

Scared

I am fucking terrified. 

This week has done a number on me emotionally, psychologically, and physically. I’m so tired of thinking about it that I barely want to talk about it. But it’s the background radiation of my life and I am having FEELINGS right now and it’s frustrating because it feels so isolating. 

Reynaud’s apparently flares with stress so I’ve been freezing and while I have done zero strenuous activities all week, my body feels like I’ve been fighting bears and climbing mountains. 

I feel awkward and sheepish for being (what I imagine is perceived as) alarmist when I look at everything that’s happened this week and tell people it’s only going to get worse from here so we need to start preparing. Not awkward enough not to say it because the worst part about it is I know I’m right. I’ve read history. I grew up on Pence’s side of the aisle, I know how to read the writing on the wall, I can hear the dogwhistles in their approaches. I know what to look for and I know where they want to end up. I can’t know the future, but I sure as hell know the direction we’re going right now. 

And I am fucking terrified. I haven’t been able to bring myself to admit it out loud but I am scared. My body has not stopped being tense for a week, I find myself holding my breath and not realizing it. 

I’ve thrown myself into campus organizing. I worry a little bit that I seem like a conspiracy theorist but at the same time, IT’S ALL FUCKING HAPPENING. That’s what I hate about everything; and that more than anything is what gnaws at me in the night. 

I KNOW. I KNOW because I was there. I was trained to be part of the movement that made this happen. This feels personal to me in a way it is not personal for most people and I’m having a really hard time handling those feelings. I wasn’t important, I left before I got to play a role, but I was being groomed. I knew the rhetoric, and the strategy, and the hopes. When I left I hoped all that would stay behind too. Like somehow it would disappear because it left my conscious and surely the majority of America wouldn’t let that happen.

But it didn’t. They started winning. A lot. And now we’re here. 

And I’m scared.

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Birthday Feels/Survival Anxiety

Holy shit.

In light of everything else happening, like fascism, it seems silly that the thing plaguing my mind would be my birthday. On one hand I feel like I shouldn’t even bother celebrating something so frivolous because, fascism. On the other, I have this unshakeable feeling that we might be in nuclear fallout by the time it rolls around, and if I survive to my birthday, that will be An Achievement.

Although given the last year, making it to my birthday already feels like An Achievement. So much has happened. The floor has fallen out from under my feet too many times to count, I barely know which way is up. All I can manage to do is keep fighting and finding new ways to fight for the future that I want to exist.

Nothing feels stable. I feel like more shoes could drop at any minute and leave me homeless, bankrupt, or starving. There’s nothing in my life that is actually pointing towards this happening, it’s just that everything feels so topsy turvy right now that it’s playing on my survival level anxieties.

I re-evaluate my life and the past year around my birthday. February is basically an entire month of introspection with the hope of some kind of party with booze, cake, and people who love me at the end of it. I can celebrate the fact that my existence continued and the people I care about also care about me.

It seems silly, but it feels really important.

If we even get there.

I’ve come so far in a lot of ways since last year, so much has changed – personally and in general. This time last year I was starting ABE classes and actually learning algebra for the first time. Today I’m writing articles about how to combat fascism, talking to reporters and city council, and getting the next dose of testosterone while trying to remember that I deserve to be paid for things I do.

I’m completely me now, and it’s great. I guess that’s worth celebrating.

 

Remind me of this when we get to my actual birthday.

 


I’m worried that I’ll be killed having helped nothing.

I’m worried about my chosen family dying or disappearing.

I wake up to this anxiety and go to sleep with it.

it’s really hard.

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I have something to say

I have a story to tell, a story that’s been hanging over my head for months and I haven’t said anything out of fear and now I just need to release it so I can feel better.

This summer, I was cornered by people I trust – put into a situation against my will that triggered an onslaught of PTSD, flashbacks, and sent me back into the past where I was 16 years old, sitting on a couch, being berated and interrogated and told I was a horrible person.  

I’ve been dealing with the psychological and emotional fallout of that since – it’s gotten better over the last month or two, but for what felt like an eternity, I couldn’t write, draw, or even use my voice for fear of it happening again.

I forgot I was an autonomous adult because the situation sent me back to a place where I was powerless, because the people who cornered me kept calling me back every time I tried to escape, because I was already in the middle of a tunneling flashback, I shutdown, which for me looks like this:

 become robotic and stoic, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore, because I just became a shell running on autopilot, giving the answers that they want to hear as best I can without giving away more than I am comfortable with. Sitting calmly, listening to my accusers, showing no emotion, giving reasoned answers, trying to end the interrogation as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, I am hiding somewhere in a cave warding off nausea, panic attacks, and tears. Somewhere they can’t see. Because I can’t let them see, it’s not safe to let them see that I’m bothered, that will validate their point.

I am well practiced at this. I spent my childhood perfecting this response. This is what my fight or flight looks like, because I was never allowed to express emotions or explode at my parents. 

Note: if I ever become stoic, cold, and reasoned during a discussion that is uncomfortable, I am not there. In general, I can’t talk about anything in any other way than passionately or emotionally.

When that finally ended, I was sick. We went to the lighthouse – as far away from the cottage as we could – and I curled into a fetal position and bawled and screamed for what felt like an hour.

I can’t really put into words all of the ways it hurt. My mind is a minefield and they tripped on all of them. Everything exploded in a dozen different directions – trying to figure out how much is PTSD and flashbacks from the past, how much of it happened, how to deal with the feelings of betrayal from people who “are just concerned”. Even writing about it now, almost 4 months later brings back all of the complicated feelings that are still a tangle of wires.

I made a point not to give them answers to their questions, and in the process a lot of very hurtful things were said and assumed in their own right.

I threw up all night that night, after everyone went to bed, assuming I was fine.

I told them it was food poisoning, but I lied. It wasn’t food poisoning, but I didn’t want to deal with more questions and “worry” and weird apologies-that-aren’t-apologies when I just wanted to be left alone. I am good, too good even, at telling people what they want to hear – often at the expense of myself and my own preferences. You could say I was trained to do so.

I was asked questions about my lifestyle and faith from a place of fear and worry, I was asked who my friends were and if they were christian (because you don’t want to get answers from the wrong places and they didn’t know who I was friends with). As if I were a 14 year old starting high school with friends doing drugs and they (complete outsiders!) were entitled to know.

At various points, even on autopilot, I did somehow find enough mental capacity to reiterate that I am an adult and I don’t have to tell them anything and I have no obligation to them. I’m proud of that.

They admitted(?) I wasn’t obligated to tell them anything as they continued to pry and confirm whether or not I am indeed a christian (or good person) and tell me that I should have come to them with questions (they don’t know where I’m getting answers!) because they’re pastors and know all of the things.

But the thing is, I didn’t have questions – I knew the answers, and ganging up on me, forcing me into a conversation and berating me, making wild assumptions and accusations and saying things that just show how misguided and misinformed they are about the world and how it works doesn’t make me want to talk.

I didn’t expect to have to deal with this kind of situation as an adult, I wasn’t prepared to feel trapped, again, and the fact that it happened bothers me.

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Failure and Creatives (me)

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*)

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PAX Thoughts

Creatives

I left for PAX drenched in a crazy amount of social anxiety. My kickstarter was funded as I was on 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.

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Success can be scary

I didn’t know that making progress could be a scary thing. I’m ridiculously proud of how my artistry is developing and I’m at the point where I look at the things I’ve recently done and feel proud, and feel like I captured what I intended to capture.

It’s wonderful, and yet, almost paralyzingly scary – I’m afraid that I’ll forget, or that it won’t last, or that I won’t remember what it took to get here, or that I’ll peak here. I know none of these are founded…but I realized I think I’m at the point where if I were to list a bunch of new things, they would actually have a better chance of selling. I feel like I’m capable of making a handprint, and I’m scared to – scared that maybe it won’t evolve or be able to change, and I don’t know what to make.

This week, I’m going to try and finish my art books, and start painting again. I think the only cure, at this point, would be to keep making better art and keep improving in addition to the improvements that have already taken place. I think that’s the only way I’m going to dispel the fear of losing “it”, and continue to find my voice.

art journal

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I'm doing things!

finally.

It’s happy and scary. I’m going to a game on Thursday, followed by the midnight premier of Avengers, and then going to see The Nerdist Podcast Live in Boston on Friday.

I think this means I can cross off “do something I’m afraid to do” from my list – Meltdowns whilst buying tickets and making up excuses and all. But I wanted to go, and I was the only thing in the way, so….I just did it, and then panicked again.

I need to get out more, apparently.

But I am, so yay!

Giving myself +50xp.

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