I’ve been meaning to write about IndyPopCon for a week or so now, and this still isn’t that, but it is gonna be something.
It’s been very difficult to write lately. Not only have I wanted to reflect on the convention, but I posted my latest finished comic project, Hometown Ghosts, earlier this month, and I’ve wanted to sit back and reflect on that as well, but every time I sit down to write about either of those things, I draw a huge blank.
It wouldn’t even be accurate to say I feel like a mess, or frustrated, or unmotivated: I just feel capital-H Here, and I’m not quite sure what to do with that.
Things are shaky right now. I suppose not “shaky” in a terrible, life-threatening way, but just in a personal way. I’ve picked up some freelance work recently. The same-old same-old job application grind has been chugging along. I haven’t halted my life because of these things: I’m still making plans for the future, still taking advantage of the flexibility I’ve been granted in my life. In August, I’ll be tabling my first three-day convention, and I’m going to MaxFunCon East in September (which is, in retrospect, both very exciting and very terrifying). But I feel stagnant, and frankly, a little helpless.
When I was younger, I had the tendency to take the world’s problems on my shoulders. It often led to snowballed thoughts that drove me into isolation and often physically exhausted me. You have to pick and choose your battles, as my mom would tell me: whenever I found myself starting to do that, I would focus on the things I could change, the people I could reach out to and let them know that I cared.
I don’t post on social media about current events at all. Partly because I don’t know what to say, sometimes because I don’t feel like I’m right person to say it, mainly because I just can’t. It takes so much out of me, to constantly feel like I have to make these Public Statements when I’m basically dealing with a sensory and emotional overload from a second-by-second news feed. I have to unplug, I have to find something or someone tangible so I can ground myself. I’m sure some might say that this is deflection, or ignoring the problem, but not posting on social media doesn’t mean I don’t care. I have to cope in my own way, with my own circle of support.
I’ve been getting into podcasts a lot again. If (somehow!) you were following me back in 2012 (Y I K E S), you know how into Welcome to Night Vale I was. My recent archive dive has been My Brother, My Brother and Me (as well as the whole McElroy family of podcasts), which is what I’ve been describing to friends as “a comedy/advice podcast by these three brothers from West Virginia”. I forced Alex and LiZz to listen to some episodes on the way to IndyPopCon, so, needless to say, I haven’t been able to shut up about it and I’m sure my friends are exhausted of listening to me yell about it/draw fanart.
While it is typified as an advice podcast, and things often aren’t taken too seriously (I actually started listening to it when I was at my second temp design job, and probably often worried my co-workers by trying to suppress my laughter in my cube), but that doesn’t mean that the conversations don’t get very Real sometimes, which I honestly really appreciate. Ever since moving back home and being separated from people I built a life with for four years, it’s been difficult to find that grounding element for me again.
And it’s not like I don’t talk to people or anything, don’t get me wrong! I am painfully aware that I am both privileged in my situation and blessed in my access to instant communication with people across the globe. But there’s something about having a physical community that can’t be replaced, and I can’t help but feel isolated in this place that was once home for me, and is a way still is…but isn’t.
But more importantly than my instability, more importantly than my fears and my hopes and how goddamn scared I am, all the time, is this moment. This moment, right now. Because nothing is promised. So all I can do is grip firmly onto this moment, onto the people who love me, the artwork I create, the things that make me happy and sad and make me think, because it’s all there is.
Right now, the sun is starting to set. My windows are open, there’s a cross breeze drifting through. I can see the clouds moving across the sky, the trees swaying in the wind. The tv is on downstairs; the vague sounds of baseball broadcast softly settle into the house.
Spread positivity, any way you can. Tell someone you appreciate them. There is so, so much shit in this world, so we have to do all that we can to be kind to each other and spread love.