Tag progress

23 posts

Midday Muse

Sometimes I learn slower than I’d like. I get frustrated because PHP isn’t intuitive and I can watch a segment and then I have to take a break and let what I learned sit there for a couple days before going back for more. On the upside, I am actually grasping it this time, but I wish I knew all the things now so I could make stuff already.
But I guess no one really learns a language in a day, and I am making progress, so that’s good.
Unrelated to PHP Basics though, I am exhausted and heavy hearted. Part of me doesn’t know why, and part of me is aware that I’m just sensing the weight of the world. I’m doing the best I can to make a small piece of it better though, and I just have to keep plugging away. I can’t focus on everything, and that’s okay.

Why Bother?

I had been in NCFCA for a year and a half, I had, at that point, never made it out of the preliminary rounds in the two or three tournaments I’d been to. I put a lot of work into what I did: spending hours researching, memorizing, practicing, and learning how not to take criticism personally. I failed to make it into any following rounds and spent the day cheering on my friends – when I got home from the tournament, my parents said:
This isn’t working, and obviously you aren’t going anywhere, so we think this was your last tournament and you can focus on other things. 
— in other words: I wasn’t good enough, despite the effort, and I wasn’t allowed a chance to improve, because I wasn’t progressing quickly enough —
I was barely fifteen. NCFCA was the only place I saw other humans – friends – my age who I could communicate with. And like that it was gone.
 
I like to tell myself – to believe that those crippling words were left to debater Kiery in my past and I’ve moved on; proven I can do things – or that things are worth doing even if I don’t succeed as much as I want to.
But it hasn’t. Any unsuccessful attempt to improve anything leaves me broken in shambles, reliving that speech from my parents where I wasn’t good enough now, so why bother even trying? It haunts me with every application and interview, every competition I lose. I can hold my head up so many times before it kills me. I can keep persisting for so long before I start questioning.
Why bother?
Is it even worth trying to get into this course or apply for that job?
I would love it if I did.
But is it worth, the (likely) inevitable rejection?
Am I better off going solo, quietly, unnoticed, like I have been?
It’s so easy to say yes.
So much safer to just stop putting myself out there, to stop working so hard for what I want when I have all these voices telling me I’m not good enough and not to bother.
And every time an opportunity vanishes, I feel like they’re right. Like my parents were on to something when they said I was only good for breeding. Like I’ll never make it out there with the other people. It’s better to keep doing things myself, silently, alone, where I feel like I’m doing something but no one notices enough to shatter me again.
Where I spin my wheels and feel progress and if I don’t look out the window then I’m not going nowhere.
 
But here’s the thing, I’m not going nowhere, I just have an opportunity to accelerate.
I’ve had other opportunities to accelerate, and I’ve taken them, and was left in the dust, watching others arrive closer to where I wanted to be. And I cheered for them, and kept doing my thing, quietly.
 
But I don’t know if I can bother again. I want to, desperately, but I don’t know if I can take that reminder.
 
You’re not good enough, you’re not progressing, it’s pointless to keep trying. 
 

Reminders

I’ve posted this before several times, but sometimes I’m at this point where I just need to listen to it again…

I’m at a point in my creative cycle where I feel like all of my goals are unattainable, that I’ll never be where I want to be. I feel like everyone is just better at everything by default and flying by and I’ll never ever get to the point where I’ll be good enough – to where I can make what I want to make and it’ll be as good as I wanted it to be.
All of my ambitions seem so impossible, and then I remember this is the part where a lot of people just stop, and so, if I don’t stop, if I can just manage to push through, I’ll get better. I always do.
And then I remember that I’m not 45, I’m 23, and I’ve only been doing things consistently for a couple years. My life hasn’t passed me by yet, I still have time.
It’s normal to take a while.

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)

Becoming Geek

Not so long ago, I was one of those really unsocialized homeschoolers who couldn’t hold up a conversation about Harry Potter but could tell you about ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge), domestic (oil) drilling, and how little control our federal government really has over the control of oil prices. I’d only ever played racing video games occasionally – my favorite games were the educational ones my parents bought or that my grandpa got from school – namely, Mavis Beacon Typing, Story Weaver, and Amazon Trail. Those were just the games I was allowed to play, actually. My brother played Need For Speed, and Lego Racers (which I joined in on a few times) and was allowed video games and consoles.
I lived in a very controlling, mentally/spiritually/emotionally abusive home, where I raised and nurtured 6 of my siblings until I moved out days before my 7th sibling was born at 18. I was never encouraged in any artistic endeavor or to do anything but get married and become a breeder for religious reasons. That’s what I got for being born with a uterus – my reproductive organs defined my worth.
I never read The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter because magic was witchcraft, which we would inevitably start practicing if we were exposed to it (because of our lack of brains?). At one point we abandoned our Disney collection, until my mom had too many kids it was impractical to keep them from Cinderella even if it did have a fairy godmother in it, and she did use a spell (bippity, boppity, boo).
I thus immersed myself in historical fiction and studying history so intensely that I still have a lot of random stuff memorized. It was the only allowed form of geekiness that I had, and so, I used it. I had 4 pocket constitutions; for a couple years I always had one on hand, just in case. I knew where to find ANYTHING by the article, and often section number.
Because I was so intensely set on learning I saw through the bullshit that a lot of the history “teachers” in the Christian community were peddling. Their revisionist history – while I was never allowed to say otherwise without being lectured – was clearly ill informed, completely untrue, and lacking in any historical context. I knew this because I studied everything around and leading up to events just for the context.
Now when people try to tell me that we were meant to be a theocracy by our founders, I call bullshit and brainwashed.
That’s kind of besides the point, though. The point is that I was sheltered. I was not allowed to play actual video games for more than an hour here-or-there if my siblings needed a player 2. I wasn’t allowed to read fantasy books because of religion. I hadn’t seen Star Wars until I was nearly 17, and even then I was bored because it was Episode 1. I’m convinced we only saw it because my mom was confused about the “classic” nature of it, and the kid from Jingle All The Way was starring.
I didn’t see LOTR until I was 17 at my boyfriend’s house, because he was really into it: Tolkien quote in email signature and everything. We started with the extended edition – I had to watch it 3 different times before I got the story and then I fell in love with the genre and with LOTRTwo Towers especially.
When I moved out, and moved in with my boyfriend’s family which is an even longer story, we started playing the PC version of Halo on occasion. That was my first “real” introduction to gaming, even though I hated getting shot all the time while figuring out how to move. I was also introduced to Firefly and Fringe – we’d watch these quietly to avoid waking up his parents, who are also not into science fiction or fantasy.
When we got married, we bought our first console, cable, and I’ve come a long way since then. I’d always identified as a geek, much to my mom’s horror, because I always knew I was – so you can imagine my happiness upon finding not only a ton of content, but a ton of people who were into the same things. We discovered that Focus on the Family outright lied about Harry Potter; Doctor Who is amazing; Browncoats are forever; and GAMING IS FUN. There are games that have stories, you guys! STORIES, not just racing and/or shooting. I had found that piece of me that was missing and wanting to manifest, that piece of me that helps everything else make sense.
Ask any ex-quiverfull or fundamentalist daughter and they’ll tell you it’s reallllllly hard to escape the you-are-your-uterus-mindset and find out who you actually are, what you actually like. This has been a long process for me – an ongoing process even, because I’m still unlearning old thought processes. On bad days, I just sit and wonder if doing what I want is even worth it – if being me (whoever that is) is even worth it.
It is.
Now, I’m making the third season of my web-series. I started it last year in a moment of clarity, sudden bravery, and lack of fucks to give after an existential crisis.
This project, KieryGeek Season Three, is all about storytelling: the things that I love about gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, and geekdom – I’ll be talking about world-building in games and collecting play-through footage. I’ll also be creating stories with the help of my co-conspirator Matt (MALE FRIEND I’M NOT MARRIED TO WHAT? TAKE THAT UPBRINGING!) in a hangout format. I’d really like to see this funded not just because it’s cool and another kind of community, but because it would mean so much to me personally and my constantly self-critical psyche to do something amazing and worthwhile and completely me for a change.
Thank you everybody!

Kickstarter Comic

I’m 35% funded and it’s only been a week! Which is really awesome! I keep going between “I’ve got this” and panic – actually I made a comic about it, that you should check out. But here’s the thumbnail: kickstartercomic1It’s been kinda crazy – support’s been awesome. I’m looking for new ways to make people aware of the existence of the kickstarter and the awesome it entails. The hardest part is that, I have AWESOME things that I can’t announce until we’re closer to being funded, or are funded, so I’m like, anxiously impatient at the moment.

If you haven’t seen the kickstarter, you need to – check out the page and check out the project updates, because I’ve been making mini vlogs for them. Only two so far, but there will be more. If you like what you see, back it and share it with everyone you know.

I’ll be over here, plotting. and spamming sharing….

 

Updates and Life and Stuff

1) Kickstarter Project:
I have everything done and ready for submission except the video. I was going to film over the weekend, but we had to go back to the drawing board. I feel kind of bad about it, like I should just do it – but it’s kind of the most important piece and I want to take my time making it as perfect as I can get it, because that’s what I want to do (and try to do) for the web-show I’m asking money for. I need to stop being my own worst enemy here, and feeling guilty for taking the time necessary to make it awesome.
2) Direction:
Every few months or so, I have this thing, where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or if it’s even worth anything. Occasionally, within those moments, I have enough clarity to actually think about what I want to do with my life (after I’ve decided that living the way I want to, on my terms, and letting my heart and intuition guide me is worth it after all) and make some kind of weird this-is-where-I-want-to-be-one-year-from-now note in my art journal. Writing important truths and epiphanies in ink is an important part of my process. If I want something to stick, I write it down, physically – this somehow cements the idea/goal/vision/plan/hope/dream in my mind, so I don’t have to look it up all the time; it becomes etched and as permanent as a tattoo for as long as I need it to be or until it’s accomplished.
Big picture aside (currently secret, because I see it clearly but I’m not feeling brave enough to say it out loud until like, more than a day has passed since dreaming it up, I guess) these are the most prominent bullet points of my plan:

  • learn photoshop
  • draw every day, no exceptions
  • post a comic regularly

Unrelated to secret-dream-goal, I’m also intending on working out every-other-day for actually this time. Today, so far, has been a success in both areas.
3) Details:
I’m learning photoshop at the moment through CG Cookie. I guess I’m actually learning more about concept design than photoshop at this point. I need a THIS IS THAT THING, HERE’S HOW YOU USE IT tutorial so I can open it without feeling like crying when I can’t find the pour tool or a basic brush.
I’m going to make myself use photoshop every day this week, for several hours – even if all the art I make on it is crap (I’ve felt that way about all my art lately, it’s a thing, I guess it’s a good sign) I’ll at least be better at it by Friday than I was today, right?
My subject this week, is Tendo Choi from Pacific Rim. If you haven’t seen my other Pacific Rim comic, check it out.

Desperate, and in need of help

It’s worth mentioning, in 2010, my parents all but disowned me and I spent 2 weeks crying, in my room, with the lights out, dealing with an amount of intense pain that I had only dealt with once before – in 2008 when my parents told me that I couldn’t see or talk to my husband anymore. This time, they cut off my relationship with my siblings. I came out stronger on the other end, but that reminded me, acutely, of my previous bout with near suicidal depression and thankfully, I wasn’t suicidal this time, because I was (for the first time) in a loving relationship with someone who cared.

 

After getting off the pill (health reasons) in 2011, my hormones started raging and I had horribly debilitating bouts of depression every 2 weeks (thanks, ovaries). I was angry and volatile and mean (which I’m not usually) – it started affecting every detail of my life and how I interacted with the people I most cared about. I tried every herbal supplement I heard helped with PMS and hormones. I eventually came to the conclusion that I had PMDD (like PMS but with depression and on steroids) which, upon thinking about it, and my relationship with myself – especially my menstruating self – made sense.

 

I struggled for a year, taking herbal supplements every day with no help. I talked to self-proclaimed herbal experts who said progesterone was a good bet – it wasn’t (but I did get one lotion that smelled nice and helped on that level).

 

Last August I’d had enough. It was hard – working up the nerve to talk to my doctor about this weird phenomenon was really hard, I was terrified. I’d been told my entire life that doctors were evil and that they just handed out antidepressants like candy, and also, those were bad. But I couldn’t keep living with that, every two weeks being trapped within myself, being a shell, and trying to not hurt the people I loved because of things I couldn’t control.

 

So I talked to my nurse, I told her about how debilitating my periods were, how I hated myself, how I felt it hurting my relationships, and she suggested wellbutrin, she said it may be a drastic step and I said, no, I’m ready to try medication.

 

Shortly after that talk with my nurse, Wil Wheaton wrote about his depression on his blog – which really helped normalize it for me. Because for the first few weeks following the start of my medication I felt a little afraid and a little ashamed because of the stigma that comes from treating depression/mental illness and having it. The shame from my past because I was one of “those” people now.

 

Wil Wheaton’s story helped me feel better about it, then Hyperbole and a Half’s Adventures In Depression was so spot on (so is part two), I realized that I wasn’t alone. That it’s a real thing (not a spiritual one) and that it’s okay, and that also, I don’t have to live in suffering like I thought for so long.

 

I didn’t realize that I had been depressed since puberty, with bouts of really really bad rounds of it, until I started taking antidepressants and was introduced to actual emotions and feelings. It was overwhelming at first – I had so many emotions, all of them, I didn’t know what they were, how to name them, or how to deal with them. I just had to sit there and wait and learn what they were.

 

I feel things now.

 

People think that if you’re depressed you just feel sad all the time. But what happens is you just eventually feel numb, melancholy – you miss the actual feelings, and negative ones stick and make homes in your brain and never go away.

 

Now I know, when I feel sad, angry, or depressed even (yes, I still feel depressed sometimes) that they are only emotions and they. will. pass. I will feel happy – actual happiness, and then I’ll feel normal – which is not melancholy, but a perfectly okay everything is fine feeling.

 

The difference between my emotional and mental state now, a year later, and last year is huge. I can’t start to describe how many ways it’s changed, helped, and made me feel more in control. It’s just so nice to be able to live outside of my head, to not feel trapped inside of my brain, or inside of my body.

 

Help is worth getting because you matter. intrinsically.

Stuff and Things

Well I didn’t make it into the next round of the Geek and Sundry Vlogs. All of the voter contributions were wonderful (and thank you so much)! I just must not have been what they were looking for. Still, It was worth trying, even in just learning the amount of people that I’ve been able to reach and meet and people who really like what I do.
I decided before I even applied that regardless I’ll still continue KieryGeek – and since then, I’ve been brainstorming and I think you’ll be excited about some of the things that are currently ruminating in my head. I’ll do another video later this month when I have a couple things nailed down, explaining it all, and then we’ll be back in time for PAX Prime (which I am ridiculously excited about going to).

I finished part one of The Acceptance Chronicles. < Part one meaning: I have more. I actually have a lot of plans and ideas on the comic front as well. Currently I have so many ideas for so many things that I need to just wait for them to organize themselves. It’s nice to finally have drawn something though, after not being able to draw or write or anything due to the stress and lack of sleep over the last few weeks.
Thankfully, it seems the tides are turning. I’m getting back into the swing of things, and chopped off my hair (so now my Elizabeth Cosplay will look much more Elizabeth-y) which boosted my (previously dangerously low) confidence up by +20.
It’s just the overtired fuzz that I need to get rid of now.