Small Press Expo 2013

I had to stop reading a comic so I could write about this. All I've want to do all day was read but this is all worth it. 

I have been amped and ready for SPX 2013 since last year. As soon as the convention was over and I was in my car hearing Gangnam Style on the radio as I drove back to Norfolk I was dreaming of coming back. I was ready and inspired to work on my comics and I was ready to read all types of new, weird and wonderful books, stories and minis. I really don't think a week went by where I didn't think about SPX, wanting to go back to the magical world of comics and fun that the weekend was and wanted to go this year. I got to work reading and working on my books, riding the wave of inspiration and enthusiasm I got some books made. 

Jump to this year, I'm scrambling to get new business cards and my books reprinted so I can sell them, trade them and give them out at the show. 2 of them come out perfectly, I failed the third one a little, but it still looks good. But I was humming and ready on Friday for the day to hurry up and end so I could get to Bethesda to mingle and catch up with people. 

I wasn't able to meet up with the SPXers from last year, but I did star making new friends and talking with people about all types of things as I hung out for the evening. I met Terrance (TheBlackNerd) and hung out with the Draw Friends crowd first. I got to meet Josh PM and Tony Breed and some other wonderful people before I wandered to the bar to see if some alcohol would help me feel less weird and less alone (spoiler alert: it did).

I met Montogmery Goose, Nick Sumida and Davis Fowl in the bar, I recognized Nick and told him he was adorable, because he is and I'm really honest when I'm drunk. I almost literally bumped into James Kolchaka at the bar which was crazy. I'd gone up for a drink and was just going to politely say excuse me to the person to my left when I realized it was him. I told him I'd just started reading American Elf in September before he announced he was ending the book, it was bittersweet but nice to be on the same page but for different reasons. (I forgot to find his table or signing and buy one of the volumes, but I'll get the other books eventually :D). I ran into Darryl Ayo and that was great chatting for a moment, it's still flattering for me that he follows me on twitter. (this gifset on tumblr represents pretty much everytime I met someone at SPX and they liked me)

Outside I met Seth and really didn't think anything of it until I turned around on Sunday and saw a drawing of his in the map. After talking about racism and something...I've forgotten what (three drinks in and I hadn't eaten anything in 7 hours.....) I went in for another drink and met Danielle Corsetto who was absolutely delightful and nice to me. I was just going to compliment her on the comic and then I took out my sketchbook - I really wish I could remember why - but she wanted to see it so we flipped through. I sobered up enough to trust buying McDonalds and  driving home, which was still  mildly questionable.

Saturday: 

Offical Day 1 of the convention I have breakfast with my best ladybro, Bianca, who couldn't make it and we discussed the possibility of working on a story for Smut Peddler. I get to the convention center later than intended but it works out because the line has died down by the time I get up there and my wait is pretty short. I find Lee Cherolis, Christopher William, Lynn Andrews, Jeremy Bentley and Samantha Kyle, my 2012 SPXbros first before walking around the convention. I spent much of Saturday buying printed books from webcomic artists, but people remember me which makes me feel special. I grab a Girls with Slingshots book from Danielle and trade my minis for Ballad of Laundry Cat with Yuko and Ananth (Johnny Wander) which was really cool for me. I wander around a bit more and find Nick Abadzis and let him know I'm incredibly flattered that he has liked some of my sketches on instagram. I bought Laika and Hugo Tate from him and gave him the oversized Cinema book. 

I was surprised to stumble upon Michael Bracco and Phil Kahn sharing a table, last minute entrants this year, along with Jamie Noguchi so it was great seeing some Super Art Fight frandz around. Speaking of Super Art Fight, I was sad there wasn't an event at SPX, and I did re-meet Carlos whom I had met at last week's show at Ottobar.  

I met Dave McKenna on Friday in a group of established indie creators, I traded books with him. I feel as if my hubris annoyed him, if he reads this, I'm sorry. I should I given him one of my books and bought one of his, the daring of youth... 

I'm sure I've skipped over a ton of people I met and bought things from, but I have books, business cards and memories. I spent some time Saturday afternoon going through my 3ds streetpasses before catching up with the SPX2012 crowd (and some new-to-me buddies) at Chili's for food before we hung out at the Ignatz After Party. Lots of drinking, talking sharing, bumping elbows after a while. I wandered from group to group not having any one group or person to return to, which is both nice and sad. It was nice to meet so many different people and different groups, but it would also have been nice to not spend time standing by a wall watching other people socialize. 

I drove home just as late as the night before, but a lot more sober.  

Sunday: "Day 3, no day 2...fuck it, Sunday" 

I posted this photo flaunting my new hair cut, more for people not at SPX.  Bianca did it Saturday, I received a lot of compliments on it which was awesome. I picked up Nora, a high school ladybro and drive to Bethesda for breakfast and the tumblr meet up. It was cool meeting MDT (who runs SPX?), Mike Mitchell, Diana Nock and everyone else I greeted downstairs and gave or traded books to and with respectively. Upstairs I beelined Smut Peddler and had a mini mission of getting the book signed by as many of the creators as I could so I could give it to Bianca who missed out on SPX all together. It took all day because Spike was on a panel when I bought the book and Dechanique was walking the quieter floor but I think I got everyone who was there. 

I met Kori Michele who does Prince of Cats before meeting John Allison and embarrassing Nora. That was fun, I was calm. I mean, I was excited but she was in superfan mode. We wandered and shopped. Nora bought Kate Leth's second to last bag and I was proud of her for buying something she'd never heard of. 

We ended up running into someone we knew from high school which was weird, especially because we kept bumping into one another.  

In the afternoon we went to the Queering Mainstream Comics panel, I thought it was interesting and enlightening. I was there because I'd met Northwest Press's Rob the night before and was invited to check it out. I didn't go to as many panels as I'd've liked but I did enjoy the one. After the panel I was able to buy their anthology so that was cool. 

A slight change of plans happened and Nora left early. I went out to dinner with Mario "Santiago" Gonzales, Monica Ray, Lee, Dern, Phil Chan, Samantha Kyle, Adriana Blake and Jimena Sarquiz Look at their blurry-lovely faces eating pizza! My Sunday ended with just hanging chatting and meeting Mitch Clem before having to drive home for work Monday.

I bought a ton of comics including a non-yet-released Art Spiegelman collection, Nedroid, Seth's book, Phuzzy Comics, Little Guardians 2, Intrepid Girlbot and so many more. I'll snap a picture to share, but it was a great weekend for me. I think I'm going to try to table next year which means I need to get serious about working on my new books and some minis for next year's show. i think I might be ready, and i have plenty of friends and acquaintances to ask for advice about how to table, so I will use my resources wisely.  

If I missed your name here, it's nothing personal, so many people were everywhere. I had a blast and I can't wait to get to another convention and to be around that excited energy of comic, creating and possibility. I love you all, you're wonderful and thanks for reading. I'll add a photo of my purchases soon, I have a lot...

 

(in other news, SPX was huge this year, the floor a third larger than in the past) 

 

Life or something like it

Hey, hello, it's been a long time. I remember when I updated this blog weekly, then nothing happened so I had nothing to share, or I was depressed and blah blah blah. Then I was just posting essays, or reposting older essays that I hadn't even bothered to edit. 

A lot has changed. 

Since the last post I have been hired at two places. One is a full time, contract gig at a call center for online school enrollment.  The other is part time at a grocery store. Between these two I'm working around 60 hours a week, so I have next to no energy or time for anything else. So of course I spent some time recently editing some stories, updating my resume and writing about me for an internship with a magazine. If I get that job I'll be working around 80 hours a week, maybe 90, so I'm living something like a life. 

Thankfully the 90 hours wouldn't be for long. If I get hired to stay at the call center I'll leave the grocery store, but chicken and eggs.  

I'm honestly just tired all the time. My right wrist (the drawing one) aches just about all the time from the repetitive motions at the grocery store, so drawing will be fun when I get to do that more often. I'm hoping sometime soon I can get a more guaranteed 40hr/wk job so I can leave the store and spend my evenings working on comics and enjoying anything. I just have very little time for anything but working someplace or another right now. 

I have done some small sketches, they can be seen on instagram when I post them and I recently spent some time posting some summer sketches to my sketch blog. I'm currently thinking about working on an art book, comic book sized (8x10.5?) to print for Small Press Expo 2014, here's to being able to work on that soon. I've recently fallen back in love with ink and inkwashes, so I want to work on a book of figures and pin ups for next year, I don't know how many pages, I guess I'll see how many pieces I can do then I'll figure out how I want to print it. 

I'm looking forward to SPX this year. It'll be another great weekend, I'm sure, and it's also the one year anniversary of this site, so that's fun. Maybe I'll be able to make something special for that. I ought to design new business cards some time soon, maybe add my twitter, I'm not sure if I'm ready for that to get out yet. 

We'll see.  

What else is going on in my life? Nothing, just work and it sucks. I have no energy or time for paramours, or to even consider looking. I don't know if I've said this here before, but I first came to terms with becoming an old maid when I was 16, so....I think I first need to leave Reston, then find some one to spend my life with. Ehh, I have friends who put up with my shit, I'm good. 

All right you freaks and weirdos, thanks for hanging out for a few and reading about how my dumb life is dumb. I'll keep talking about it and letting you know where things are headed from here and maybe I'll be able to share some freaking art soon. I mean, I just bought a tablet, I just think what I'm doing is shit so I don't want to share it here until I feel it looks like I'm competent at drawing.  

2012 Life Review

I was psyched to write this a few weeks ago and I've mentally considered and written part of this, mostly I was trying to remember what happened back in January. Not that long ago but still twelve months ago, and a lot has happened.

I started 2012 with a kiss on New Years, the first time that has that has ever happened, a New Years kiss, not kiss in general. It was nice, random and entirely unexpected. I soon returned to my adoptive home of Norfolk, VA to begin my final year of college with painting, drawing studio, digital art and figure. I fell into a rhythm of life, fairly calm and somewhat ready for things. I had a roommate, no job and was content enough with my life. I can't recall anything remarkable happening until the New York trip with the art department. I had so much fun doing the tourist thing, my family never does the tourist thing when we go to New York, it was great to go to the museums. It was fun to go on a trip with people like that and to go on a little city adventure. I got to meet Jonathan Ames, I was so fucking nervous but it was still amazing. I didn't get to say everything I wanted to but for someone like me from Virginia, I don't often get to meet people I like or idolize. 

Summer started, I was in senior show and advanced print. I went to so many art shows and local bands, taking my camera to almost every one. It's always fun meeting touring bands like that, intimate shows in basements and apartments. So foreign to my life and so fantastic.

This year I branched out in the podcasts I listen to which has had a positive influence on my life. I listen to Marc Maon, Nerdist, Mental Illness Happy hour, sex Nerd Sandra, Sklarbo County/Country, One Photo Reviews and so many others. The comedy podcasts did of course provide laughs but they also educated me on comedy and introduced me to comedians to look out for and people to try, I've broadened my entertainment past the comedians on TV an I now keep an eye out for people on tour.

I went to my first comedy show with my brothers in august, Godfrey performed in Baltimore and I actually noticed the types of jokes he told and understood now they're different from other comedians. It's weird. The following week I got to see and meet Mike Phirman and Paul and Storm. That was fun, an evening of musical comedy and silliness. It was really special and put my on a high note before I started my final semester of school. 

I was taking glassblowing, drawing studio and figure. Glass blowing was scary and amazing, it was really cool to create something like that, it's so communal, as opposed to solitary drawing, it was a tiring and energizing break from my normal. I'm so glad I took that class.

My first big thing from the fall, I got to meet Adam Warrock, MkHill, TribeOne and Jesse Dangerously, they performed with the local Nerdlucks and it was so much fun, a fantastic show. It was cool to meet and chat with someone you know from online, put a real face and interaction to someone. I took so many photos,  and i was able to be as enthuiastic as I wanted with no embarassment because everyone else had just as much fun. I hope they tour near enough to me again so I can see them again.

This show as like an appetizer to the following weekend when SPX happened. It was almost magical reality being at Small Press Expo and getting to talk comics. I loved meeting Joe Hunter for the first time in real life, much taller than I expected, that's okay. I made new friends with Phil Khan, Christopher Williams, Lee Cherolis, Jeremy Bentley, Perry, Krishna and a few other cool cats. I got to meet some of my webcomic idols, Danielle Corsetto, ,Yuko Ota, Ananth P...?, Jeph Jacques, Tyson Hesse and i met a bunch of new comic creators and so many fantastically nice people. Darryl Ayo, Sylvian M, Missy Lasko-Glass. The person I internally freaked out meeting was Dean Haspiel, I'm still glad i didn't fangirl freak out. I met Joe Infurnari and missed out on really meeting the Hernandez Brothers of Love and Rockets creation fame. I had a blast, I dream of being on the other side of the table soon, but until then I'm working on some minis to print and give out. So many comics. Delightful!

Back in Norfolk I remember my emotions crashing because of some terrible women's health related politics and then I fell back into going to class and drawing my minis for my senior show. 

In glass we had the De La Torre brothers as visiting artists, they were so fantastic to meet, inspiring and in general really fun people. I'm grateful for being able to meet them and watch them work.

I don't remember much of October. I woke up, sat down to draw, cat napped and drew some more. I went to glass because it was different and new, skipped my other classes and got my work done in time for a Hurricane Sandy to roll past the east coast and destroy New York.

It was a weird time. i got my books printed, put on my show and sold my first comics, it was a nerve-wracking  experience. I'm glad I've moved past my first show, I'm not sure how much I'm looking forward to any other shows but I survived my first one. November was excited with the presidential election and i moved into December ready to graduate and be done. I was ready to be done with school the night I had my show, I spent a lot of anxious, nervous and creative energy on my show. After it was done, everything felt less pressing. It was nice to end the year with low stress as opposed to the usual high stress finish. 

I graduated and I felt no different. I don't know if it hasn't sunken in yet or if so little has changed that I don't notice how different things feel. It kind of feels like a never ending summer, I don't have a job yet so I've been grinding on watching Buffy and renting movies and things for the past few weeks. I've been filling my time with ingesting creations, not creating as much. I'm working and planning new things I just didn't have the drive for a while. I've drawn some gifts I really like for people, that's been cool. 

This graduation year was so much better than 2007 when I graduated from high school. Read my post on my educational experiences to see what i mean. My future is blank, I have my dreams and plans for years from today but what I'll be doing in 6 months, no clue. It's kind of exciting, we'll see where things go. 

End of Formal Education: A Lazy Walk Through My Scholarly Life

It has been a long 19 years I the making but I’m finally reaching the end of my formal, school education.

I started school at the delightful age of 5, a bit before my 6th birthday I entered kindergarten at Terraset Elementary School in Reston, Virginia. A school designed by hippies that had partitions for rooms the school was divided into circular pods for the classroom areas of the school and the library. The front end was fairly normal shaped. I guess the most interesting design aspect of Terraset was that it was inside of a hill. They built it and then covered the back end of the building with enough soil that they were able to plant some might fine trees, honeysuckle and other plants on the roof of the building. The things you consider normal.

I don’t remember being traumatized or stressed from my first day of school. I had gone to daycare, a place called PALS, I don’t know what that stands for. I remember one of the teachers used to tease me and I didn’t like him because of that. You know the book Hot Zone, my daycare was right next to where that happened, I learned that when I actively met people who weren’t from Reston, so around middle school? I still haven’t read that book. What else about PALS, I distinctly remember a bike day once, we rode in circles around a small parking lot. My mom got a flat tire from a nail in a tire so I was late to daycare and she was late to work, I don’t remember what I did that day. I also know I was at PALS for 2 years. With my November birthday, the Fairfax County school system made me wait one more year before I joined the ranks of real school, so kindergarten.

I was in morning kindergarten,(what what, half days) with Mrs Sybert, I believe. I don’t remember much, from then. I was in SACC (School Aged Child Care) after that, I remember never wanting to take a nap (something I think is insane now, I take naps many days) I also remember one day we went on a walking field trip to Lake Audobon (I think) nothing special happened.

Blah blah blah, elementary school. I got put into the Gifted and Talented class, which was cool, in second grade they pulled us from the classroom, put us in a different room and taught us other stuff. I felt special, I was told I was smarter than other people which lead to my education downfall. I know I don’t try as hard when I’m aware that the class isn’t a challenge. So when I got into classes I needed to study for, I was shit at it.

 I just remembered, my school was trying out split classes, first/second split, so forth. The idea was you’d have the same teacher for 2 years and half of each class would be each grade. You’d have more time to be friends with the people in your class at least and some other stuff. I don’t remember all of the theories around having a split grade class, and I only just thought to look into the findings from it. I think I will.

For third grade I went to Sunrise Valley Elementary school. It sounds all sparkly and nice. No. I didn’t like it at all. They had a GT program so my entire educational existence was advanced thinking. That’s cool except it was not a warm school. Terraset felt very homey, always warm, inviting and friendly. Sunrise Valley was cold by comparison, not just the GT class. People there were cool enough, we all knew why we were there, but the school didn’t seem as inviting of a place to be. I did have some interested experiences. We raised baby chickens all spring long. Our teacher had a student teacher shadowing her and we were all infatuated with the idea that she had a boyfriend. Thinking about it now, we were 8-9 and the other girls were super into this idea. I didn’t care all that much, but I did talk about Ed (oooH! So exotic?) with the others in the class. We went to DC, that happened a lot in elementary school, but this year someone in my class had a parent who worked in Congress (I don’t know what they did) so we got a slightly different tour and they let us ride on the tram between Congress and the House. We were told about some bloody stairs where someone hot hurt (shot?) and the blood stained the marble. That’s what I remember, the morose shit. I remember being bad at long division, so third grade was the start of my math problems, at least having problems with how they wanted me to show and do my work. I was also a part of some event with the 1996/7 oldest living woman, the school celebrated her birthday I think.

Around now, I think, I was in a pageant hosted by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. I won for Little Miss AKA, I think I was told you won based on selling tickets or something, and maybe how well you did. I don’t know. I remember scolding my mother for styling my hair big, like Oprah’s and making her change it before I went on stage. I performed some ridiculous monologue/poem/play. I have it on vhs and haven’t watched it since I was in it. I learned etiquette for this and I actually follow when I’m in a formal dining situation. I’m not always aware of it but I guess it’s for the best? Hmm. I was taught a waltz and foxtrot and danced with my brother, so incredibly embarrassing. Other stuff happened, it was all afternoon that day.

Fourth grade I was back at Terraset, not in a split class. I made my first good friend with someone my own age because she got kicked out of the ‘popular’ circle. I do remember one insult she said to someone else, she told me about this some time in high school. She called some other girl a wavy line, as in she wasn’t straight.  Harsh. She’s a really nice person now, but all kids are dicks (she also likes all people so it seems out of place. Or she was describing herself, I don’t remember, I just remember the phrase and I think I want to use it in something). She also told me my favorite story about myself. I was sitting on the side of the school reading. She comes up or had been there, I don’t know and notices I wasn’t actually reading the book, I wasn’t turning the pages. I responded “If I look out at everyone someone will bother me and ask what am I staring at. Same if I look at the ground. If I look at a book they leave me alone.” I still think that the 10 year old me who said this was a genius. I think it also shows how much I live in my head that at a young age I wanted to be left to my own thoughts. It’s things like this that make me think I’m in introvert. I started orchestra this year, I played the violin and it played assist to my love of classical music. It made it better because I now got to PLAY classical music.

Fifth grade happened, nothing special. Sixth grade they tried making it like middle school with a home room and we all changed class rooms for different things. One teacher taught history, another English, another math. Science and art happened somewhere. I was still in the GT classes but now I also left class for orchestra and to be a mentor to a pre-k kid. I liked that I got to leave class for three hours every week to do something else. I don’t remember the name my pre-k girl had but I remember not liking her very much. She was mean and didn’t like playing with me, which was fine. I got to miss class for an hour every Friday and play dress up and do stupid shit with a bunch of 4 year olds. I did try to engage my kid but she ignored me no matter how much I tried, so I ended up mostly playing with a friend and their kid. I miss school one day; I’m surprised I don’t remember why. My mom never let me miss school (I was also never sick, luckily I really was never sick but I never got pretend sick days either. As an adult I realized she couldn’t take off to take care of her kid. She was a single mother) I think were might have gone up to New York to visit my grandparents, I think my grandfather had been sick, I really don’t remember. I do remember the following week after talking with the teacher that my kid had actually been upset that I wasn’t there to play with her. She apparently liked ignoring me? I don’t know. She was a bit nicer to me after that. It was weird. I think this is the first time I noticed that I had an effect on people even if I didn’t notice it. I still don’t know or notice whatever affect I have on people. I do remember being told this was my kid I was also told I was being given a more difficult and less engaging kid because I had a calm demeanor. They figured I’d be a good match and I’d be able to put up with her better and help more. Maybe I did. I don’t remember the point of the program I just remember I got to leave class and every week and not do anything.

Seventh grade, I went to Langston Hughes Middle School, most of the middle schools in Fairfax County are named after poets. Herndon is one of the few that isn’t because everything in Herndon is named after (Lord?) Herndon. Langston Hughes is an oval, I’m in the GT group of the seventh grade classes, I’m in orchestra. I’m newly into manga having been into anime when Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon started years earlier. The first manga I ever bought was a Sailor Moon Super Stars, book 3. I had read books 1 and 2 in the Barnes and Nobel and I wanted to finish it, so I bought that first $10 crack book, starting a ten year (give or take) addiction to manga in addition to liking anime. I made a bunch of friends in from other elementary schools. My grandfather died that spring, it was my first funeral, I was nervous and laughed out of being nervous which my family misinterpreted. This winter was the first time I got depressed, I think. It was a shitty winter, I didn’t know how to handle it. I did so poorly in school.

Eight grade 9/11 happened which was weird. All of a sudden, after one class, students were disappearing, their parents having picked them up. The rumor I first heard was that “They” were targeting school. No one said who ‘they’ was (how often do we know who ‘they is?). I learned what had happened when I got home and watched the news with my brother, not knowing it would be the only news that month, or just about the next month and on. A bit later, my brother’s godmother got re-married, which led to my favorite picture of my with my mother, we’re both wearing claret dresses, I had just gotten my make up lightly done and there were still a few hours until the ceremony. My brothers were just off camera. It’s one of the last good photos of her taken. There were others but that one was special.

I moved on to South Lakes High School, following the same schools my brothers had both graduated from. I was now in International Baccalaureate (IB) classes (It’s advanced thinking, I’ve always called it the same as AP and I still think is pretty much is – I guess a major difference is that the county pays for everyone in an IB class to take the IB exams as opposed to other places where the students have to pay for them. That, and my school wasn’t just one focus IB, it was everything. Science, math, English, the arts, history – we gave out IB diplomas) they were fun, I got to read banned books. I hung out with my first gay friend a lot more now, I had never known he was gay and now more often than not I don’t think about his sexuality. He makes it such a non-issue that instead of being my gay friend, he’s a friend who happens to be gay. This is a good dude. He’s also one of the few friends who would hit me back, which just lead to me hitting him harder, I was angry and a dick. I’ve (mostly) stopped hitting people (they were always love taps anyway).

I can’t think of anything spectacular from ninth or tenth grade. I did orchestra just for 9th grade, which is well enough, after that the teacher left to go do other things and there were rotating teacher/conductors who varied in skill. I started at the school newspaper and was in the anime club which introduced me to yaoi and hentai, things that I think have played into me not caring about other people’s sexualities, I don’t know. I almost moved out of Virginia to go to South Carolina but I argued that I had just made friends in middle school so we stayed, which I think made other things better. I loved my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs Lynch. She retired after my tenth grade year but was a blast. We read like, 14 books that year, she had us read Night by Eli Weisel (I hated it) and then Maus by Art Spigelman (which I loved! I had never been able to read comics for school, I was excited, even with the holocaust being the point of the book). Across Five Aprils, which we covered with a student teacher, the student teacher gave us the dumbest assignments, something I almost told her to her face. I really didn’t like her. We read Dickens, Great Expectations,  which was the first book I had to read for school that I didn’t finish. Yellow Raft on Blue Water still stands out, that was during the banned book (specifically banned books) session, one third read Catcher in the Rye, one third read Tuesdays with Morrie, and my group Yellow Raft, I’ve been meaning to buy and re-read it, it was a discussion on each generation affects the next starting with the narrator as a teen then her interactions with her mother and grandmother. It made me think about families and now it’s making me think about my relationship with my grandmother. I need to re-read this book. We read a few others, that’s not 14 books. Mrs. Lynch also let me borrow some books, off the record, that I never returned, including the Invisible Man by  , I’ve been meaning to give it a real try, I didn’t understand it too well when I tried reading it before.  ((Thinking about it, I think my brother’s godmother got married when I was in 9th grade, I need the year…)

Tenth grade I was mad that my English teacher had been a clerk or something and that he didn’t teach us anything off the  IB curriculum. I spent a lot of time drawing in his class, with my colored pencils on my desk. I was that bold. This was also the only year in high school I didn’t have history at the end of my day, it was all wrong.

Eleventh grade I met the two people who effectively became my first pair of best friends and were instrumental in my transition to being an adult, in a way.. It was a special summer program for IB students where I met one who had an obsession with England and the Kaiser Chiefs. She introduced me to Shaun of the Dead in I tried watched Doctor Who then on Sci Fi (back when it was spelled in a logical fashion) I brought her into my swarming mob of friends and was vulgar, relishing in making her blush. My other best friend is male, years later I named him Ficus and I had a crush on him for so long which thankfully has broken and left us as really good friends. He introduced me to Game of Thrones by giving me the first 2 or 3 for my birthday and I promptly read them, falling in love with Westeros, being fascinated by dragons, loving the insult ‘brotherfucker’ and having to put them down and read crap for school.

While my friendship romances were happening my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma and started getting her affairs in order. I worked a job at Target and was able to buy my first laptop, a little HP that had issues (probably viruses) from the start. School was a thing, I went to class but it wasn’t that important. I started teaching myself photoshop during the newspaper class and I drew comics for my high school paper! I remember some of these. One was about fitting in and this one kid who didn’t dress like everyone else being mobbed to ‘be unique’ like everyone else (EMOs! Am I right?); the school being a hellish maze to get from your locker to your first class, it was an impossible maze, we actually had to print a retraction explaining that. They forgot I did comics not draw mazes; I did some rock star singing ‘eep opp ork ah-ah’ for Valentine’s Day and one about poor temperature control in the school. I remember I wrote articles about the school plays and because I had so many techie friends I made sure to highlight the crew, because no one remember how important they are to a final production.  That spring I joined track, to hang out with 2 of my friends more really, I was okay at throwing shot put and discus (wherein I start my short lived love affair with weird sports). I dropped out of IB physics with our OCD teacher (who was proud of his being OCD) and took regular physics, which I barely passed.

Twelfth grade happened. I dropped out of IB bio and took psychology I was writing for the paper still and I think I took an art class, I don’t remember too well. This was my best and worst year of high school, I was finally “done” with school and worked to apply myself places. It ended up being the worst year because that’s when my mother died. I was pretty much prepared for it but that doesn’t mean it didn’t suck. I took my IB exams and was a part of my school’s Model UN that spring. I graduated a month after she died and I still think that I got more applause than I would have had she been alive and fine. Everyone knew,  what had happened and I’m sure they called me “brave” for finishing school, but come the fuck on, I know I wasn’t straight, I know I was fucked up but I had to finish school, take those exams and move on with my life.

Not too long ago I called myself a shark to a friend of mine, I need to keep moving and progressing or else I’ll go insane. I also can’t go back to where I’ve been and I know I’m not where I need to be to spend the rest of my life. Norfolk has been a good ‘training ground’ for me and my young adulthood but I have always known I was not meant to live here forever.

College happened. I started as a bio major because that’s what my mother wanted. I hated my freshman year roommate with such a blood lust that I know I have never really hated anything, not before or since. Thinking about her makes me aggravated, and puts me on edge. I can honestly say I wanted to grind her face into the cinderblocks that made up my room. Any time I was around her. I decided she wasn’t worth going to jail for and my RA was useless in making anything better. I started fencing (hey, remember that sport thing. Yeah, there we go, weird sports!) and made me next best friend pair, one was the grad student who started fencing club and the other was a freshman and I don’t remember how we met. We never had classes together, let’s chalk it up to that’s just how my life works. I spent parts of almost every-single-day  around these two. They kept me sane, I wonder if they know how important to me they were, are to be honest. The grad student friend insisted a group of us go and see Iron Man which introduced me to Western comics and started me on my current life path. I also spent my summer volunteering at the US Botanic Garden in DC, that was cool.

I have college things documented on my old blog and around online. I don’t feel as much the need to write everything I can in some slipshod order.

My second year I lived with the worst roommates and I never had the Hollywood experience of making friends with my roommates, and having lifelong adult pals! I hated them all so much, if you read my earlier post about them you’ll understand why. I was diagnosed with Hidradenistis Suppurativa and smoked my first cigarette this year. The smoking has helped nothing and anytime I get stressed and anxious I go back to smoking knowing it makes everything worse. I’m a big dummy. I also got really depressed this year and it lasted longer than any other and was kind of worse than any other. I had my first surgery to excise my diseased skin which went really well. I had been losing mobility, I limped quite horribly and I could barely move. I loved the pain killers, I’ll be honest here, I never abused them. I first got into podcasts with Kevin Smith’s SModcast. I remember the first Monday after my Spring Break surgery it took me an entire hour to slowly shuffle across campus, a direct distance of a bit less than a mile. I would normally make that was in fifteen minutes.

That summer I moved into my first off campus housing, taking a sublet room in a tiny duplex. I also decided, after doing a week long wetlands conference that I wasn’t right as a biology major and that fall I transferred to being an art major. I made a bunch of friends in who live in Ghent and are a part of the local music and arts scene. I started going to Borjo more and made friends there. I spent that fall taking classes I didn’t really need, I didn’t know that until way later. I moved into the apartment I current live in that fall and my roommate was a girl who was a senior my freshman year of high school who was in the orchestra with me.

I progressed as an art major, going to more local art things. I did my first 100 Days journal comic the following summer, 2010. I created Lawrence and co that fall in a creative writing class. Even though I got depressed I was overall a lot happier than I had been any year previous. My following years progress with me spending most of my time in Norfolk with a rent, friends and social life down here. Even now, I feel I miss on things when I’m not down here for a holiday. A party happens that I wish I had gone to, a show, an event, or I even just miss being in my own bed.

It has been a long climb, I have changed as a person but I can also see some important aspects of me now reflected in who I was when I was younger. I made sure to say I was done with my formal education because I will always be learning and seeking out new information. I spent a few hours today watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk YouTube show. I’m done with my formal, in class, in school education with as far as I’ve planned it out. I’m excited to try new things, to travel and move and meet more people. As shy as I am, I want to meet the people I know online. I want to be known for my comics and I’m ready to feel like I’m really getting a grasp on my life. I look at other comic artists only a few years older than I am, and I feel like I’m ages behind. I feel like I’ve wasted my time and it’s too late for anyone to know who I am. And then I remember I’m only 24 and I (should) have many years ahead of me to live and experience the things that I have been flirting with in my imagination. I have time to meet more internet friends, I have the time to have some great romance to be heartbroken. I have the time to wake up in an unknown place, cramped from sleeping in my car and hung over. I have the time to freak out when I meet idol and the time to act on that first rush of a lust and a crush with that scruffy haired dude I just met. I have the time to do things I sometimes write off, feeling like I’ve been forgotten. I’m unknown, not forgotten and I have the time to make a name for myself and to figure out how to market myself as a comic artist who writes crazy essays, generally about herself, but also questioning life and those around her.