I'm Bad at Being Whatever I Am

Every now and again I'm reminded of how bad I am at a) being me and b) being a black person. I don't know where the fault in that second part lies but it is a truth in  my life.  

I grew up in the suburbs, mostly around white people. I'm not 'hood', I don't want to be. I don't want to be whatever the black stereotype is. I don't know if I want to have the black experience, whatever that is. Is it institutionalized racism? Is it being shot at and speaking poor English? Is it being Christian and super religious? I don't know, I just know that when I'm around a lot of black people I get really uncomfortable. I know it's my fault and not them.  

As I'm writing this there's an event going on at the coffee shop I frequent called Weapons of Mass Construction which I've been ignoring. It's so far been a gathering of black people, spoken word poetry, an a Capella quintet and it's currently someone playing bongos or and some cymbals and such. I get anxious in group settings to begin with, I'm not apart of this group, I don't know any of these people, there are far too many for me to want to try. I'd be awkward and I'd focus on how I'm not like them.  

I know I have a superiority complex, I don't know how to rectify myself with that other than acknowledging that I have one. Hell, a few years ago I was insulted when someone asked if I was from Hampton, a historically black city in Virginia. I guess compared to Norfolk it's well educated but I'm from Fairfax County, better educated. I speak proper English, I have the capacity to utilize a broad vocabulary when expressing myself and blah blah blah.  

I'm never more aware of how rarely I'm around black people than when I'm around a bunch of black people I don't know. I do well enough with my family, they know what to expect out of me, I know how to present myself around them but I don't know how to deal with urban or rural black people. I'm not country, I'm not urban, I'm from a city of readers who like stupid sci-fi things, I listen to rock and I guess I'd generally be considered 'white' but I'm not white. To people who don't know me but would see me walking down the street, when I don't look like a man (I need to write out those instances here...they're fun and anxiety inducing), I don't know how often I look like someone from a bad neighborhood or poor education.  

I generally don't notice or think of these things until I'm presented with a lot of what I'm not. I have the intelligence to hold my own around white people and not feel negatively judged but I sometimes feel if I were to act that way around black people I'd be judged for acting like something I'm not even if it is what I am. I'm making negative assumptions now, I'm no better than people on the street, but I don't know where I stand usually. If I ever see a black person like me on TV I'm the friend to the white person. When it's a black show it's some weird type of black person I don't relate to. I don't relate to Tyler Perry, I also never really related to Moesha when it was on in the 90s, I don't have black friends like that or live in a black community. I'm a black person in white communities and I need to learn how to be a black person around black people. I need to work at not making uneducated judgements about black people and accept how they act without acting like I'm better than them or thinking it, because it's probably not true. Everyone has their issues and the things that fuck with them, no matter the color of their skin, I just don't know how to do it because I don't spend time around black people that often. 

I don't know what type of person I want to be but I think to figure that out I have to deal with and accept the type of black person I am. Hell, I never acknowledge that I'm Dominican either. 

What I do know is I'm someone who draws, I'm someone who likes men, I'm someone who like reading, I'm someone dealing with anxiety problems, I'm someone who reads, I'm someone who has graduated college, I'm someone who happens to have brown skin, I'm someone who's over weight, I'm someone who has glasses, I'm someone who needs to understand who they are so they can become a better version of that.

Meeting Internet People: A Hypothetical Story

There are people I know because of the Internet. Some are famous in small Internet circles, others are just other people sitting on their beds with their laptop on a dictionary and old textbook to keep it from overheating and crashing :cough: the point is every now and again I think “Man, I want to meet So-and-So, they’d be fun to hang out with” or “I think it’d be cool to watch a movie with That Guy” or “I want to get drunk with that person I have a slight crush on”. I imagine minorly elaborate situations where we hang out, we meet at a coffee shop and talk about…something. Or we’re (somehow) already friends and we’re either actively watching a movie or they’re playing some video game and I’m there on the couch drawing something and we’re just hanging out. Or they also draw and we’re drawing together and maybe drinking coffee or alcohol. Whatever.

I think those things, but I also know that if I met the people i think these things about I’d be anything but like who I usually am or even who I am online. we’d probably end up having an awkward silence for like…ten minutes and at some point when we weren’t exactly side by side i’d say on twitter ‘So… i’m hanging out with this internet friend and fuck, I’m so fucking nervous. This is dumb.’

Then they’d read it, because twitter is for internet friends for me, not real life people, that’s why I have facebook. They’d read it because they were sending the same thing and we’d both be shy, because. if we were drinking we might eventually get not sober enough to move past the ‘I kind of know a lot about you because o the internet, but not really’ thing and actually enjoy being together and become friends. The next day after waking up from sleeping on the floor or couch we’d greet each other hungover wearing half out clothes, because when you’re drunk all of your clothes are too many to sleep in. Sex wouldn’t happen, just sleeping. We’d be grumpy and hung over drinking coffee some time after waking up and we’d be friends. 

We’d mope around the apartment, eating whatever crap we declared food and watching half of some bad 90s or early 2000s movie that happened to be on TV. We’d be more comfortable and on twitter we’d be like ‘so, i met @So-and-so and it was fun..oh yeah, that instagram photo…that’s a thing we did? Fucking radioactive colored shots’

(The longer this goes the less like me any of this is…just like me on the internet!(I imagined a big Hannah Hart smile there))

Effectively, there are a few people I know because of the Internet and I want to meet them and be friends in real life but i know at first we’d both just be way awkward. Well, no matter what, I’d be way awkward for a while and eventually we’d probably be friends but that first ten minutes would be weird.  I’ve met one Internet-friend and it was weird, especially since we weren’t sure if the other was who we thought they were, and then it became cool I guess. 

I just want to be friends with people. 

Fuck, this wasn’t supposed to be a long thing, it was supposed to be super short. Whatever, it’s happened. I wrote it. I go through these hypothetical stories all the time, this is “one” of them.

It's Been Another Week

So, Some quick copy-pasta about my show; 

My show is a thing that will be happening, you can check out the 

Facebook Event Page

, Friday, November 2, 2012 from 6-9pm I will be showing select pages from Lawrence's Dairy, Cinema and 100 Days 2012. I will also have books from each on sale at that show, you don't have to buy anything you don't want to but come out by and hang out, it'll be awesome! We can talk comics and art and have a blast together and things will be pretty awesome I hope.

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It's been another week. I am that much closer to being done but I'm still forever away from being able to take a break, a real break. Have an entire day where the weight of my show isn't pressing on me.. And It's raining outside, fuck. I don't have an umbrella and I walked to borjo.

So, progress:
Cinema, 11 fully penciled, 1 needs a reference for the pose, 2 partially inked, 2 fully inked.
100 Days: 12 fully penciled, 6 fully inked, 2 partially inked, 4 partially colored (give or take, the reference I'm using hasn't been updated for today's progress)
Lawrence's Diary: 12 penciled, 12 inked, partial colors on 4, final pages on 2
No covers, dedication pages, author pages or thanks have been done yet.

I've been really productive this past week. A lot of it is my impending deadline, it still scares me. I have so much work that needs to be done and I feel like I don't have enough time. I've pushed back my finish date for when I want to send out the files twice and I don't have much time left to push it back if I want to mail them out for printing. I think trying to use Fed Ex to self print would cost too much so I'm hoping I get things done. I'm going to do that weird thing of skipping class to get work done, it feels like a Senior Show tradition that I'm upholding or whatever.

So, this weekend was ODU's homecoming. I wouldn't mention it except I think I had my first honest to fucked-up-ness panic attack. I know I have a weird social anxiety sometimes but I think I had a panic attack and it sucked. Or it was just really bad anxiety, I don't know. I was in my apartment working on Saturday being annoyed by football and the cannon and the loud and the people outside. I tried to take a nap and i could still hear them. I woke up freaking out. My heart was racing, I felt sick, everything was awful and I think something hurt. i went to borjo to calm down with some cider with whisky which helped until there was a live performer. I actually liked the type of music he played, his voice and all that. I was not in the place to want to listen to someone player guitar and singing with a Mike Falzone-esque raspy voice. I wanted to calm down, listen to Ben Folds and Movits! a bunch and just calm down.  I did get home calmer than I was going to Borjo but not as calm as I could be. 

I thought about what happened on Sunday and I realized that the problem outside of my hating people and that large of a group of people being anywhere near me was that I had no where to go. I normally go home to get away from external sources of anxiety and home was the problem. There were so many people making so much noise and it pervaded my apartment so much that my safe place was not so safe. I had no where I wanted to go that I felt comfortable being. I didn't really want to be around people which is part of why a musician in borjo was so upsetting, I couldn't just be wrapped in a cocoon of internet and music tuning out the world, there was loud music behind me. Muy mal.

A few weeks ago my car was involved in a hit and run. I was able to take it over to the repair center today and I got a rental. The rental is a Jetta and it makes me want to drive. I want to get a new car after rolling around in this one for a short period of time today. The engine roars and the car eagerly jumps to action and taking me places. Tinkerbell, my car, an elantra, is creaky and 11 years old. The car is weary and worn out. It's like that middle aged high school teacher that doesn't stop kids from being assholes because it can't put in the energy to do anything but put up with their shit. That's my car, it puts up with shit. It groans and grumbles to life and shuttles me around waiting to rest again. The Jetta is like that new teacher what wants to shake up the system and try a million new things. I hate driving and I think I want a new car, some bullshit. 

While typing this I became horribly aware of how much my wrists and fingers hurt. The right hand-system is doing better than the left but I think my glass class has been killing my left hand. Tired fingers, aching wrist, I'm having fun in this class but still, enough of enough I want my hands to not hate me.

Thinking about crafts and arting that hurts a bit, I'm making some new collograph plates for bookmarks. I collected the ones I printed 2 weeks ago, I think I mentioned printing some more last week. Some need a second layer before I'm willing to sell them but i wanted to make some more plates with some luann I had in my car. I'm working on a letter plate so people can chose an initial to buy and I'm working on a second abstract place to mix up the bookmarks a bit. I'll see how the first bunch sell and I'll take a relaxed afternoon in November to print out these new ones. And I'm thinking up a name for a store and soon I'll have that up and linked and my books and things listed. It'll be shiny and fantastic and terrifying if anyone buys my stuff. 

Podcasts:

Mental Illness Happy Hour: I started listening to this the same way I get into any podcast, someone from a different podcast I listen to did it and after listening to their one I got hooked and kept listening. I really like MIHH, it's a podcast where people discuss their mental illnesses. It's sometimes humorous, that's because Paul Gilmartin believes in levity and that sometimes you need to acknowledge how funny your personal situation is. It's presented less as a way to fix other people but more as a way for people to just talk about their problems in a safe environment. In listening to it, I'm reminded that I'm not that fucked up. No matter how bad my anxiety and depression get I soldier on fairly well. I know I need to find someone to talk to to get better control over things but I keep on keepin' on to the best of my ability. 

Girl on Guy: My god, I love girl on guy. It's really just a long recorded conversation between the  amazing Aisha Tyler and a variety of male guests. She's such a dude it's nice to listen to. She drinks, curses and is in general the best inspiration a tomboy could have. Seriously, I want to be her friend, I want to hang out and get drunk with her. She'd drink me under the table and that's okay. Every episode is a bit different, it follows the general podcast form of being an interview but it goes off in fun directions with each guest. I recently listened to the one with Baratunde Thurston and I don't think i've laughed harder at a podcast and I've laughed pretty hard at different podcasts. I'm kind of spotty in going through it, since it doesn't have the strong topic vein as other podcasts I listen to I never know what I'm getting into tonally and I need to be a mood for a tone.

Nerdist: I'm amused it took until my third list of podcasts to list Nerdist, but I'm only discussing 3 a week. Nerdist is about all things geeky and nerdy and then comedy. It's generally light hearted and full of dick jokes. i know what I'm getting into, when I decide to listen to a Nerdist podcast and that is a nice thing. It's just a long rambling conversation, it's introduced me to comedians and i've given plenty of people a chance whose work I was never really big on. it's worked to humanize people a bit, I don't know I can't explain what I like about it well. Go give it a try, find someone whose name you recognize and give it a go. If you don't like it, so be it.

Progress update, Oct 9!

Whew, it's been a week. I've been in weird places and haven't been able to make a new write up but here we go!

My show is a thing that will be happening, you can check out the Facebook Event Page, Friday, November 2, 2012 from 6-9pm I will be showing select pages from Lawrence's Dairy, Cinema and 100 Days 2012. I will also have books from each on sale at that show, you don't have to buy anything you don't want to but come out by and hang out, it'll be awesome! We can talk comics and art and have a blast together and things will be pretty awesome I hope. 

I'm still honestly terrified of it all. i'm afraid I won't be done in time, I'm afraid that no one will really show up for the show and I'm afraid of people reading my stuff. I'm afraid of judgement and acceptance of my work. I don't generally interact with different groups of friends at the same time, it's usually one environment of friends at a time so it'll be a different thing for me to be the reason for so many different people to interact. Plenty of my friends know one another but I still have friends who are just from different worlds and social circles than others  and it's a rare thing for me to be around so many people.

All that attention, anxiety inducing.

On my progress front, I don't think I've changed much since last week. I was kind of in a bad place and I was trying to get my flier from the last post together and finished, I ended up not working as much  on pages because I wanted to get that done so I can post it. It's printed and as of writing this on Tuesday night, I have the first one hung in Borjo. People seem to like it, so that's cool, that's a thing I like. i like that thing quite a bit. (Still afraid of things)

I have gotten more pages of Cinema penciled, when I get home tonight I'm going to try to finish roughing in those pencils before getting back to 100 Days and getting some of those colored. Lawrence's Dairy is the closest to being done and the coloring aspect of each comic goes the fastest so that's a plus to all of this. I just need references so things look better than my just imagining what shit looks like, that's part of what is taking so long. People references, location references, item references. So much that I want to keep straight, it's a hassle but I will be more proud if it's all the best I can make it and not half assed because I didn't make the effort to find a reference. 

Hmm, I want to continue with my practice from last Sunday's post of expousing my love of podcasts and things so:

Sex Nerd Sandra: It's a weekly sex positive and information podcast. It has humor from the basest of dick jokes to to odd situational jokes. It doesn't take itself too seriously even as serious topics related to sex are discussed and elaborated on. There are great informational episodes discussing the penis, what's common about it and things like that. There are discussions of different type of pleasure and sex that consenting adults can consider. It's about having fun while having sex and making it a better experience and working to get rid of the stigmas around it. Sex is interesting, people will always do it so the more information that people can have to keep themselves safer and healthier the better. Oh, that's a big thing, sexual health and safety. It may be sex positive but in that it's also very encouraging to be safe about it, give it a listen. 

The Moth: stories about life, the human condition, the human experiment and stuff. These are shorter, good to listen to while cooking or washing dishes because they're less of a commitment for a given period of time. What I love about The Moth is that it's all about learning experiences, what was a life changing time in your life? Reflecting on who you are and remembering who you were, what helped change and shape you. Most of the stories are humorous, some are sad but they're almost all about growth and evolution at different times of life. It's not portrayed as  an advice column saying 'if you do this your life will change' it's more 'my life was on this one path but this tragic/amazing thing happened and it started going this way'. Not every change in life is sought out, they're mostly stumbled upon so it's showing just how important experience is to life and living. 

The JV Club: This one is so much fun to listen to. Janet Varney (i know her as Korra's VA) hangs out and chats with women about everything but their careers. She talks about the awkward and horrible high school years and how people have changed. It's kind of all of the information that gets glossed over in normal interviews because the awkward high school years don't always sell. Learning that people were bookish nerds and that they spend their time listing to the hottest NPR radio stations isn't what most people want. Most people want sensation and this show is all about the mundane and having a laugh at how different people once were. The guests are almost exclusively women, I've really enjoyed listening to it. I'm only a few in but I'm sure I'll get all caught up soon. 

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Fun addition, remember last week when I promoted One Photo Reviews? I've sent Scott and Dave some e-mails adding my $5 to the conversation, I'm a wordy individual, and i posed a few of my favorite questions and things to consider about movies and they answered in this week's episode. I  had the biggest, dumbest smile on my face when I got that shout out, seriously. If you guys see this, thanks. I said it on twitter but still. I don't get shout out too often so it was cool for me. 

Music i've been into: Always into Adam Warrock, he's released 2 EPs this week, I haven't had the change to get them, but I'm sure I'll dig them. I bought the new Ben Folds Five album and I love it. I wrote this while listening to Movits!: Out of My Head, i'm into this. It's not as jazzy as their first album but it has the same great energy and body rocking abilities.

Well then, party people, I'll have more to say next week and I should be able to announce completed pages next week, a lot of completed pages. I don't have much time to get things done. Last week I had a lot of work down and this week I'm behind. I hope I can get things done. Having had the past 2 days off and writing this now it feels like today's Sunday and not Tuesday. My next progress post will be here in no time. Fuck. 

Last-last thing. My godmother is friggin' amazing and won a Fulbright Scholar Award for her research in chemical engineering. Go read about how fantastic she is

Working

And there are some loud fucks, I have a headache and I don't want to write but I will, for you and whoever else stops by here.

I had a long post about my anxieties and fears but my phone lost it. I don't know if that's a boon or what but it's a thing that happened. I'm afraid that no one will like my stuff and I won't sell any books. I'm afraid that people will like it and I won't have enough books, we'll have to see about that.  I'm afraid I won't finish on time and some other things but right now I'm mostly feeling all right. I have a headache, I don't know if it's caused by a lack of caffeine or because of an antibiotic I'm on, but it sucks. 

My work progress!

100 Days: 2-3 pages inked, all penciled
Cinema: 2-3 pages penciled
Lawrence's Diary: 2 pages done, 3 pages partially colored, 4 other pages partially inked all penciled
I've designed the covers for Lawrence's Diary and Cinema, I'm still working on 100 Days. And I have my poster designed, the facebook event page will be designed and promoted like a motherfucker soon, just wait.

I got a bit of work done on Friday. I had a doctor's appointment with my dermatologist then I kicked it at MacArthur inking pages and listening to podcasts before I saw Looper.

I really liked Looper, I like Rian Johnson's other movies, Brick and The Brothers Bloom, so i was excited. All I knew before the movie is it was a time travel movie and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was young Bruce Willis. I knew nothing about what was supposed to happen so it was really great going in as a blank slate. I've come to understand different things more since seeing it, I'm glad I've had the chance to just sit with the movie and think about it a bit over the past few days.  Go see it, it has heart and shooting. And Paul Dano.

I like actors, shut up, this is my blog!

So, some of the podcasts I listen to, I've wanted to share them. While working this weekend I've gotten through about half of One Photo Reviews, by Scott Davis and Dave Christensen, which I enjoy as a movie podcasts because it had turned out to be less about movie reviews and is more about chatting about the movie experience and about movies. I love movies, I write about movies sometimes and my love of them. My love of movies is almost as pure as my love of comics. Movies! these guys talk about movie experiences and life, it's enjoyable. 

The Gravity Falls Gossiper Podcast by Chris Haley and Eugene Ahn is about Gravity falls and life and stuff. They mostly use the show as a jumping off point to talk about life and relate their childhood to the characters and similar experiences. I for one love Gravity Falls, it's so damn clever and the it's fun to see something where I get the jokes from experience and not because they've seeped into the cultural consciousness like the 70s and 80s have. They're such great little things but the podcast! Man, life is awkward and the awkward of their life is brought up in a 'let's all have a laugh at my past' it's fun. And i've had the chance to meet Eugene, he's raps as Adam Warrock, nicest dude. 

WTF with Marc Maron - I'm nosy and this podcast gets into the nitty-gritty of life and being a performer or whoever he's talking to. It's mostly chatting with comedians so there's a wry dark humor to life. I enjoy it because it humanizes people and hearing about people's lives is fun. I can't explain it, WTF is just a great podcast, it's level, it has it's funny moments and it keeps me entertained as they go over someone's professions and public biographies (to an extent). It's also fun having repeat guests or hearing about past drama that people have moved past. 

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That's it for podcasts tonight, I'm subscribed to a few and I listen to at least 5 different ones most weeks. I love listening to them while I work on stuff. I'm bad at listening to my music for too long without changing it so podcasts give me one long thing to enjoy. They set the mood, don't require too much focus and are interesting.

All right, I'll be back next Sunday with another progress update. I have until October 20th to get these sent out, which is a day i'm looking forward to. Mike Birbiglia is coming to the Attcus Theater and I've got my ticket for the show already so I'm looking forward to enjoying that in a few weeks, and I'm sure I'll have some nice things to say. I wonder if he's signing stuff... I'll take my copy of Sleepwalk With Me (the book) in case he is.