Now that my comics are being posted in several different forums, they have come to the attention of Those That Say Negative Things. As a victim of bullying in his youth and a man living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I can probably say that I feel the negativity presented by others a little more than the average person.
When I was bullied in Junior High and High School, the only words of advice given to me at the time were “ignore it.” Yes, people tend to think that if you ignore it, it will go away, but it doesn’t. It’s like a chronic pain in your shoulder. Your body is telling you that something is wrong and that you should go to a doctor. If you ignore it, it may go away for a little while, but it can end up becoming even worse back pain or causing you to lose feeling in your entire arm. If I ignored the bullying the first time it happened, it would have gone away from -me-. The next thing I would have seen is some other nerdy kid being shoved into a locker. Ignore it and it will go away, but it won’t stop.
It is time to stop it. I will not back down. I will no longer say nothing.
Here is my first action, a response to Those That Say Negative Things:
@[user name removed]- I apologize for taking so long to get back to your comment (and your comments on my previous entry) in My Journal here on [website removed]. I was going to follow the advice of “Don’t Feed the Trolls,” but decided that I should say something before you could continue on what I believe is your current path of anonymously posting hateful comments and not realizing that you are targeting -real- people. These people have real thoughts and feelings, just like you.
I love comics and sequential art. I make them because it is what I was meant to do. Like most artists (even though most won’t admit it), I also love hearing what people think about my work, especially if it is constructive criticism. What you’re doing (calling my comic a “trainwreck”, saying that it’s “so bad”) is not constructive, it is destructive. It is also considered a behavior used by bullies and it is not cool. I doubt you would seriously say those things to me in person.
To put it in context, what you just did was walk by my table at a busy comic convention, spit on my portfolio, and then stare me in the eye.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t surprised by your comments at all. I hear that stuff ALL the time, but 99.9% of it is coming from my own brain. I am the biggest critic of my own work, hands down. Nothing you can say about my writing or drawing will even come close to what I’ve said about it to myself.
Now, if you are smart, you will not see this as a challenge for you to prove me wrong. This is not an invitation to post the most vile and hurtful things you can think to type. No, this is a challenge for you to cease your destructive and hateful comments, to stop bullying people, and to become a better person. It is a challenge to join with the rest of the human race who are capable of kindness and empathy.
Come and help us continue build a place where we are all comfortable to live in our own skin and where we can share our art without the fear of violent, uncompromising rejection from our peers.
Can you do that?
If you need any more convincing, please watch the following video: Why Internet Jerks Aren’t Going To Win, And You Can Help
I’ve been featured on a FASHION BLOG!!! YEAH!
I actually remember when the dude was taking my pictures. I was walking out of the Library on Capitol Hill, sipping on my breakfast and voting for my comics on my iPhone. I heard the familiar *click* *click* *click* of a camera over my left shoulder and I turned to look. The old guy had it aimed right at me and (even though he didn’t ask permission like a gentleman), I decided to give him a good shot of what he wanted… my ass, er, my hair.
I’ve often had strangers take my picture because of my hair. The most memorable was in the airport when Dawn? was putting my hair up for me. An older Asian lady with a HUGE expensive looking camera started taking pictures from across the lobby. Dawn slowed down her process so that the woman could get in a bunch of good shots.
Random people have stopped me out in public in every city I have visited to compliment my hair or ask me about the process. This has happened so often over the years that I’ve come to expect it. I have honed my answers to typical questions to short, witty responses that draw laughs from everyone who hears them.
My hair is clean and well maintained.Some of it is fake, but most people can’t tell.
It is a work of art and I love it. And so do a lot of other people.
My hair is the thing people see when I’m in a crowd.
My hair is what currently identifies me, but it doesn’t define me.
I am not surprised that my hair (and I) have turned up on a blog somewhere. I was expecting it to happen sooner or later and I was secretly hoping that it would happen.
I chuckled when I read the one word caption, “Yech!” followed by a mere 100 points.
Seriously? You couldn’t think of anything better to say?
Hell, even the motorcycle cop that pulled me over for not wearing a bike helmet was clever enough to call me “Goldilocks.”
I looked through the rest of the blog and saw that a few of my friends were actually featured too! Chris and DeMonika, and PurpleMark too! Many of the people shown on this blog have a sense of fashion that fits them and separates them from the crowd. Some of the people on the blog dress the way they do because they just don’t care about societal norms or “proper and decent” [read: boring] fashion. To the people that live in Seattle, the way these people dress IS normal.
I remember you, sir, taking my pictures outside of the library. You were non-descript. I can’t remember what you were wearing or even what you looked like because you could have blended into a crowd as easily as a ninja… (isn’t that what you usually hear about serial killers?) All I remember was your camera and the fact that you came across like a kid that was newly exposed to the wonders of the world and the fact that there are people different than you. You’re like that kid in grammar school that makes fun of everything that is new to you, everything that’s different, everything that scares you.
All I have to say to you is, “Welcome to the world, mama’s boy. You don’t have to wear those tighty-whitey’s anymore!”
You have to face the fact that most people have hang-ups. These worries and fears may be simply explained away by some, but they are very real and sometimes debilitating to others. I have had several of these since I can remember and I’ve never been able to shake them.
I may never be able to surpass my anxieties completely, but yesterday was a giant step in the right direction. I hit a personal milestone and I didn’t even notice that I had done so until later that evening.
Like many people, I fear rejection. That’s why I choose not to put myself out there very much. In person, I dislike drawing attention to myself in a crowd (despite having weird hair) and prefer to listen to conversations rather than join them. I try to do the same thing online, but with the comic strips, I basically have to do the opposite.
I’ve been enjoying all of the positive comments and feedback that I’ve been getting from new readers as well as long time fans. It certainly does wonders for the psyche. It makes me want to get up every day, put on my pants, walk the 15 feet to my drawing table, and work for 14 hours. There is not much that can ruin that wonderful feeling… except for the negative words from a stranger.
I received a few of those negative words yesterday.
It wasn’t anything harsh or super critical or even personal. The person read my most recent comic for the first time and basically called it “terrible.”
It doesn’t matter that the words were typed on a forum (of sorts) because those can hurt just as much as the verbal kind. In fact, the written word seems to hold a bit more truth than if they were spoken. Most people don’t have the courage to say out loud what they feel, myself included, and it is much easier to express yourself when you can delete and erase and rewrite until it’s perfect.
So I find out that someone thinks my comic is terrible. I read the line. I read it over again. And I read it a third time…
And then I went on to the next comment. And the next.
It didn’t even phase me.
Later that evening I realized what had happened and I was kind of shocked. For my entire life, the delicate balance of my mental state depended on the weight of a feather. When you’re small and fragile, that minuscule weight is so much heavier.
When I was younger, if one person called me “geek,” or say anything else negative toward me, I would fly off the handle. I would scream and cry and get incredibly angry. My tantrums were epic. I was an absolute mess and that only made them want to tease me again and again. As I got older, the grade school and high school teasing lessened, but I was definitely scarred from the experience. Even in my 20′s, I didn’t take too kindly to playful teasing, even from friends. I was “sensitive” and didn’t keep the people around me that made it a habit to pick on, ridicule, and taunt their peers.
Yeah, I didn’t have very many friends.
Yesterday was the first time in my life that the negativity did absolutely nothing to me.
It might have been that I’ve grown a thicker skin. It might have been that many of the comments after that one (and the ones before it) were overwhelmingly positive and supportive. It could have been that several people “came to the defense” of the comic itself.
It could have been that I now know that not everyone is going to like my work (or me for that matter), that I should just keep doing what I’m doing, and the people that like it will continue reading. The people that don’t like it can go read something else.
Just because I dodged a bullet doesn’t mean I should go storm the beaches.