tagged: i’m it
i guess. these turned out kind of serious and long. sorry.
so, ten things about me:
1) my sketchbook is my security blanket. i finally recently managed to stop carrying it everywhere. but i used it as a way to control my environment. it gave people a safe topic to open with, if they wanted to approach me on, say, the playground (“hey, what you drawing?”) as well as an easy way to make friends (“can i draw you?”) and ingratiate myself to people who otherwise would have bullied me (“hey, my little brother likes ninja turtles. can you draw one for me?”) or just put up an easy wall to the world if i was someplace i didn’t want to be.
which was pretty much everywhere, all the time.
2) i love books. i love everything having to DO with books. i love writing them, making them, binding them, places that store them, sell them, lend them; i love libraries, coffee shops, dilapidated used book shops, comic shops, that bookshelf porn tumble—everything. and somehow, i managed to marry a man who loves books as much as i do. he’s building shelves in our dining room so it can double as a library. fuck yeah, books.
3) i always wanted to tell stories using art. as a very young child, i thought that would mean becoming a book illustrator. as a teenager, i thought it meant animator. in college, i finally discovered indie comics and webcomics. i mean i’d seen superhero bullshit before, and archie comics, and manga, but the first two i had no interest in, and the last one meant going to japan, and you know, fuck that noise. indie comics though. and european comics.
and most especially webcomics. i will never not have a webcomic going. i make no money, guys, but i love doing this stuff.
4) i’m shy (with a major case of introvert). this has been mistaken for everything from general hostility to being ill. i promise you, world, that’s not the case. i just have no idea how to speak to you.
5) i’m blunt. i try not to be. i learned the value of tact when i was about 13: my estranged father had actually initiated an email penpal-ship of sorts, which made my mother increasingly nervous. she insisted on reading all his emails, and one day finally explained why—my father had (in her words) a “drinking problem.” she was afraid he would be drunk while writing me, and say something cruel or inappropriate. so i asked—“dad, mom says you’re an alcoholic. is it true?”
he didn’t respond. 6 months pass, and finally he writes me ONE final email. just one line. “sometimes you remind me so much of your mother.”
which was brilliant, honestly. a non-answer, coupled with an insult only made evident by circumstance. man, if i could manage that kind of subtlety, i’d be ruling the fucking world. anyway, my mom was horrified when she learned. and flustered, repeating that she’d only said “drinking problem.” like there was a difference. and there was. of course there was. so i learned to pay attention to connotation, to subtext. word choice is everything. heartbreak is a great motivator.
then years later i realized it wouldn’t have mattered how i phrased the fucking question, stopped kicking myself over it, and stopped fretting so much over my words.
6) i have a sharp ear for vocal emotional nuance. i blame this on my childhood. my parents split when i was two, so i practically lived with babsitters for years. some of those places were kind of terrible. one in particular sticks out in my head—the sitter watched a group of maybe ten kids in her own home, and her son, who was bigger and older than the rest of us, was a bully. i managed to duck most of his attention because i was small, quiet, kept to myself, and female. but i had eyes and ears. the oldest girl of us was close to his age, beautiful, and curvy. he often worked to get her alone with him. at the time, i didn’t understand why. and the other boys? jesus christ. that was where i learned sometimes people laugh when they’re actually terrified.
7) i have no personal space. this is the sort of thing it doesn’t even occur to you to realize until something comes along and shocks you into awareness. i’ve always been very mindful of giving others their space, but it never occured to me to question whether i needed any—until the first time i met someone off the internet.
i was 17. she was from ohio, and came down to spend a few days with me at an anime convention selling art prints. she was (and is still) fucking insane. she’s one of those people that volunteers for social science experiments, and then wrecks the doctors’ ability to gather data by guessing the game and throwing the response curve. so she spent that weekend trying to see if she could get me to walk into walls by walking into me as we walked (she couldn’t), trying to figure out if i had any buttons she could push, and hanging all over me. i didn’t even blink. it didn’t bother me at ALL. it didn’t even OCCUR to me to that she was acting strange. i just figured some people must just be affectionate.
the moment my mother and i put her back on the bus for ohio, my mother turned to me, and angrily hissed “I THOUGHT YOU KNEW WHO YOU WERE.” which is precisely the moment i realized that my friend’s behavior was unusual.
since then my mother’s claimed she was not accusing me of being a lesbian. but the comment really ONLY makes sense if that’s what she was saying. we then had the weirdest argument we have ever had, and later she came to me and told me that if i ever did become a lesbian, to just not tell her.
8) i’m a feminist. i don’t really know what to add to that. i have no entertaining stories for it, unless you want to hear about the time my mother told me feminism (and not her shitty taste in men, or generally poor choices) ruined her life. and you probably don’t. i’m also pro gay marriage, pro obamacare, pro occupy, and pro whatever other stereotypically liberal thing you can think of. except that getting of the pink slime business. i just can’t summon up the energy to give a shit about that. we have kids starving in our inner cities, and we’re whining because our hamburgers aren’t pure enough? are you fucking kidding me? look, you bitches willingly eat hotdogs, and we’ve known what weird shit goes into those for years, but nobody’s complaining. hey, you know what we eat down here in the south? chitterlings. or “chitlins.” talk about gross. now let’s discuss rocky mountain oysters. you know what i’d rather eat? a mcdonald’s cheeseburger that happens to be 15% pink slime. at least the cheeseburger tastes good.
9) i’m married. holy shit, how did that happen? it was an accident, actually. sort of. i mean, i thought i would be one of those crazy cat ladies. i was seriously planning to be the creepy old lady all the kids on the street are convinced is a witch. i’d had relationships, but i’d had them the way good christian girls are supposed to have them—with all the seriousness of life and death hanging in the balance, with my virginity kept in a locked box guarded by dragons, and whispery, starry-eyed “i-love-you”s roaming the forest of eternity that sprang up wild around it outside.
those kinds of relationships are fucking exhausting. i’d just gotten out of one when i met my future-husband at a comic shop. i was skittish as a wild hare. i wanted nothing to do with relationships ever again. and he kinda shrugged, and grinned, and said “well it doesn’t have to be anything serious. we could just have fun.”
“just have fun.”
it was the most revolutionary thing i had EVER HEARD. so we did. we went out and had fun and it was easy and nice and three years later we were married.
10) i’m not religious. anymore. i was. i converted at 11, on my own, and a year later started attending a church where i never fit in. they were nice enough though. until i left for art school. then all of a sudden i was a rabble-rouser who drew porn (life drawing classes are the devil) and was going to get myself a bad end by feeding the (so dangerous) homeless around my college. and i don’t even. i can’t even. you guys, their sudden turnaround blew my fucking mind. and then i started to discover things, little things, lies of omission, and sometimes just fucking bald faced lies that i had been told over the years. 9/11 happened my first year of college, so the people i knew just started to get ugly. started to say things, do things, think things. there were dead gay children in the news, and my mother was spitting openly racist shit where i could hear her and i just… stopped. there’s a few bible verses that comes to mind.
15Beware of false Prophets who come to you in lambs’ clothing, but from within they are plundering wolves. 16But by their fruit you will know them. Do they gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? 17So every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.18A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit, neither a bad tree to produce good fruit. 19Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and falls into the fire. 20Therefore by their fruit you will know them.
i don’t know what this modern bullshit is, claiming to be a religion of the god of love, but it’s pure poison. that’s not the religion i thought i was joining. that’s not the jesus i read about, and every time i hear one of those hypocrites in the news—whether it’s tied to another gay teen suicide, or trayvon, or the middle east—i just want to destroy things. if there is a god, christianity does not know him.
i can’t really describe yet how it feels to not have faith, when for a solid 15+ years it was my whole world. i think i was in active mourning for a year. 7 stages of grief and everything.
but i’m done now.