It’s been awhile since I wrote a comic that made me feel like I was going to throw up, so I guess I’m overdue. Heads up, this is a little heavy.
It’s also kind of a touchy topic. I want to be honest about my experiences and struggles with self-esteem issues without seeming like I think mine are the worst or that I’ve somehow suffered more than anybody else – I’m Canadian, y’see, so I hate to be a burden – but talking with a therapist has brought a lot of this stuff to the surface. I’ve been working on trying to acknowledge how I feel and build coping mechanisms, rather than drowning or compartmentalizing everything. I’m finding ways to cope and realizing the things I’ve done subconsciously that DO work.
Kids reading my stories works.
Teens emailing me works. Letters, art, poems, even short little tweets of “I get it” from strangers. Sometimes I forget. I get so down and I can’t see logic. I can’t see that my life is incredible and filled with possibility. I get so riddled with anxiety, I get tunnel vision, and it’s hard to break out of. For a long time, nothing anybody said or did during those moments of despair made a lick of difference. Then, I started writing for kids.
It’s funny, I suppose, because THESE comics are not for children. The connections and friendships I’ve made through them are incredibly valuable to me, but there’s something entirely different – look, a kid bringing you art that they drew based on a story you wrote, because it inspired them or cheered them up or they just thought the fart jokes were funny – I have never felt anything like that. I’ve never felt so… worthwhile. Important. I’m something to one kid for an hour enough to make them want to give back and in the dark cold hours of the morning it keeps me alive. More than that, it makes me want to be a better person for them.
Find that port in a storm. Find the thing that brings you back. Be grateful. Stay alive.