This project has been so organic for me that I’m constantly making realizations about what to do with it WHILE I’m doing it. I wonder if that’s how it is to do personal work and I just haven’t done it for so many years that I forgot? Haha anyway, so much of this time away from social media has been spent consuming other media, which has given me insight and solace into how I am as a person. As much as I wanted to quit doing art so many times, taking IN art reminded me why it’s so important… it makes you realize that all these stories come from a real place. Because they exist means that someone somewhere has felt similar things and they thought it important enough to include it in a show, movie, book, whatever. As I think of the ones that have really stood out and helped me make sense of my situation, I wanna put them in here for my future self to remember that I’m not alone, that I HAVE learned these lessons before.
As a kid I’d watch so much TV, which influenced my love for TV and movies as an adult. But strangely enough it wasn’t until I lost my dad that I started to look for the MEANING behind things. Prior to that I was always using it as a distraction, or a way to drown out my own emotions. Even though I worked in animation, I realized I hadn’t been fully appreciating the art form until this tragedy hit in my life that forced me to look for answers in the world around me, and slowly they started appearing everywhere. Story and metaphor are such amazing tools to aid in our own development if try to see what they’re actually trying to tell us. The shitty thing though is that I have a really bad memory and tend to learn more from FEELING rather than THINKING, so documenting these things really helps retain what I’ve learned.
The Avatar clip about fire ended up getting taken off Youtube, but here’s a great music video that talks about both the positives and negatives about fire which… is really relatable for bipolar in my opinion
We all put up a facade to the external world to hide the parts of us we don’t want anyone to see. If someone asks us how we’re doing, even if we’re having the shittiest day we’re not expected to actually talk about it. For people who feel so intensely and deeply like myself, it’s tough to show up for work everyday and even in a great environment, still be so affected by those around me. Having to work from home for an extended period of time has taught me just how much energy I naturally expend around other people to project this “bubbly” persona. Some days yes it would be genuine if I was feeling it, but most days I’d be depressed and anxious, worrying what other people will think of me if I CAN’T be in a good mood. And this feeling would take over my entire day, making work absolutely MISERABLE. Those FEELINGS were all I could focus on. For me, there’s a certain shame in not being “on” for people, even though my logical mind tells me that it really doesn’t matter, no one cares, and everyone has their own shit to deal with. It’s a huge part of why I quit social media. It’s unhealthy to feel like you need to “portray yourself” a certain way to the world. I knew that pattern I had developed needed to be changed, to be healed, but there was never any time to really do it.
Having to stay at home has finally made me sink into who I really am, accepting that there are different sides of me that need to be honored and expressed. It’s taken a lot out of me to hide these parts of myself for so many years, expecting that someday I WOULD just be able to just be happy and bubbly for people ALL THE TIME and come back into the world. Absolutely ridiculous. It just got worse! Having the opportunity to slow down has allowed me to shift that perception of feeling that I need to “be something” for other people. After living so much of my life moving WAY TOO FAST to really take in and enjoy ANYTHING, I see now that slowing down IS actually an option, and it’s so necessary for someone like me. In order for me to stop feeling so much shame, I’ve decided I HAVE to talk about who I really am in order to move past this wall that’s gotten so high over the years. Hiding our true selves takes a HUGE toll on us that just piles up over time until we’re crushed under the pressure. It’s so important to just…learn how to be you.
Phew! Been meaning to say this for quite some time! It’s funny how liberating even drawing that image of me was….
I set out to do this comic for “art therapy” reasons, but I guess I really didn’t expect to feel what I’m feeling working on it. For me this whole thing is a legit life reflection session…it’s like sifting through broken glass to find pieces of gold.
When I did this page I was the vibrating, pulsing kind of manic and I feel like as much as I tried to control it, to me it shows through even in how I wrote it. I love that I’m learning how to channel my emotions into this… it’ll be so valuable to look back on when I’m in those dark times 🙂
And such a great release to finally let go of all this!!!