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.
Seven years ago my comic strip Writhe and Shine was relatively popular. I had been drawing it irregularly since 1998, well before many of the currently popular webcomics. In that time I had produced 250 comic strips, two 32 page comic books, and a Trade Paper Back collection. People were wearing my t-shirt designs and had my stickers on their cars. I received emails and letters from fans across the world. I answered questions for interviews and was invited to visit places across the US and abroad to either DJ or be a guest at various conventions. I made comics for several online and print magazines and my work was included in The Goth Bible and Voltiare’s first Deady TPB along side Clive Barker.
Life was good and the future looked even better.
I wonder what it would have been like if I had not quit.
Depression and self-doubt crept from the shadows of my past and put a stranglehold on everything I did. Something must have happened in my brain that made me think I wasn’t getting anywhere. I told myself that my art was terrible, that my writing sucked, and I wasn’t going to amount to anything at all. I was stupid and worthless and shouldn’t be wasting my time drawing dumb pictures because I just wasn’t as good as everyone else.
The worst thing I’ve ever done in my life is believe all the bad things I told myself.
Recently, I was complaining to a friend of mine that people don’t have the same kind of attitude I have over responding to email. Since I’m basically on my computer all day long, I have the opportunity to check my email as often as I can, and I do check it often. I usually like to respond to people within a few hours of receiving a message if not as soon as possible. If i read an email that can be answered quickly, I do so. I feel terrible if a message sits in my Inbox for over a couple days without a response.
Unfortunately, I would like this same courtesy paid to me and the messages I send to others. At the very least, I would like to know that the person actually saw the message and will get back to me when they can. I know this is completely unrealistic because not everyone is tied to a computer or even likes checking their mail.
It just frustrates me when my projects depend on someone getting back to me with either confirmation or information and I hear nothing at all.
I was thinking about this the other day when I remembered a letter I received from a woman in Germany in 2007:
She enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope:
I never got back to her, and that makes me a terrible, terrible person.
I finally wrote to her last week.
Well, at least I hope it gets to her as she may have changed addresses in the last 7 years.
I included a sketch and a few other things that would fit in the envelope, went to the post office and had to add only about $.04 in stamps to send it on its way.
I hope this helps my correspondence karma and somehow gets me back on track with my comics.
I know I have to start over at the end of the line. I got out and know that there is a lot of work ahead of me to get to the place I was before, and there’s a hell of a lot more work to be done to exceed that point. I’m willing to do all of it. I want to do all of it. I only want to get better and better at what I do and I appreciate everyone being patient with me while I figure out how to get there.
Just do me one favor. Don’t ever let me quit again.