So it's been a good long while since I updated on FA or DA, and I honestly don't know if anybody here is even going to notice this journal, or remember who I am if they do. But I know there are people out there that I have responsibilities to, commissions I owe, personal obligations left unfulfilled. I owe explanations to some people, apologies to others, and to my friends I feel I should give a general update of my personal status.
The past few years have been...different, and the past year, specifically, has been exceedingly so.
When I was in high school, I talked to God a lot. I wasn't exactly a fundamentalist, and he never talked back, but I was fairly confident in his existence. I believed in a lot of things back then, actually. In X-files terms, I was a "Mulder". I even had a book concept for years wrapped around a suspense story involving crop circles, which I totally believed were real at the time. I had faith in the mystery and wonder of the universe. I got this sense of belief and wonder from my mom, who was never churchy, but was very worshipful of God's world. She taught me to see how incredible and unlikely and special this world is, and to cherish life. She also brought home french fries and soda from McDonald's anytime she left the house. Words cannot express the awesome.
When I gave my first go at college, I went after a major in journalism, shifted to creative writing the next semester. I was, as it happened, exceptionally -not- ready for university life, and went nowhere pretty fast. I took several years off after that, and gradually worked on improving my ability to draw, learning to comic a bit, and planned on chasing after sequential art as an outlet for my storytelling drive. I drew some short comics, wrote a bunch of scripts...stuff I still kinda want to get made someday. I would go to cons and draw commissions for people. I was pretty oddball, honestly; I don't think my father understood what I was all about in the slightest, and in most respects, I think he still doesn't. But Mom was always in my corner, supportive and understanding, and absolutely certain that, given time and breathing space, I would find what makes me happy. If not for her, honestly, Dad probably would have kicked me to the curb a long time ago, sink or swim style, and while I'm glad that never happened, I'm not entirely certain if I didn't need something like that.
Now, most unexpectedly, after years of drawing and writing, I find myself at the end of my second attempt at getting a college degree, this time with apparent success. (Talk to me after finals to be sure.
) And of all things, I'm graduating with a degree in Engineering Physics, because when I came back to college, to pursue an art degree with the intent of becoming a professional comic creator, I happened to take an astronomy course that mindgasmed my whole worldview around.
Suddenly, the universe was less mysterious, but much, MUCH more amazing. What used to seem like the unknowable depths of the cosmos not only had explanations, but quantifiable, verifiable explanations. I could not only understand the way things worked, I could predict, and watch those predictions come to life in amazing, incredible ways. I had spent the past several years gradually transitioning into "Scully" territory, to be sure, but now I was securely anchored in skepticsville, and I felt liberated by it. There was a level of sense to the universe that I could never get from my religious beliefs, and it wasn't long before I found that those had been left entirely by the wayside.
The side effect there, however, is that it was much harder to spend dedicated time working on art worth selling to people when the pressures of chasing after a rather difficult degree program were demanding a -lot- of my time. I've been struggling for the past few years to really squeeze in time to draw anything up to sale-worthy standards, and I have a hangup of personal pride that keeps me from drawing out commissions if they're not above a certain acceptable quality threshold. I have scrapped a lot of rusty sketches trying to get through my commission backlog. Still, I kept at it for a couple years, trying to keep up, trying to -catch- up, with a blend of successes and failures. It didn't help that I was having to work two jobs to help cover my college expenses, and my paralyzing addiction to any game pumped out by Bioware.
Then, three years ago, I started dating a certain young woman, and things changed again. I had been considering transferring to a different school, going somewhere that better suited my fascination with astronomy, but this relationship was something that became a very serious part of my life. I have never wanted to be the person that put career ahead of love or friendship, and this was, in no uncertain terms, the most I've ever loved somebody in my life. So I stayed where I was, and she became my priority. She was cute, funny, sassy in all the best ways, and she loved Doctor Who. For about a year and a half, I was as happy as I've ever been.
At which point we lost Mom to cancer.
I wish I could impart some deep and complex thoughts about what it was like to go through that loss, or how I've coped with it for the past year, but really, all I can say is it hurt, I miss her, and I am so incredibly sorry that she couldn't live to see me graduate.
Needless to say, I had a rather depressing summer. And when it was over, after becoming keenly aware that our relationship was not developing in any mutually satisfactory way, the girl I'd fully intended to marry decided that she just didn't feel like she was a "relationship person". So for the past year, I've been struggling to claw myself out of a deep, deep depression. I've had moods swing with sufficient force to crack stone. I even got within thinking distance of throwing myself off of the roof of a building, and the only thing that kept me in check was the knowledge of the pain that would cause to my friends and family.
And now, I've spent a year adjusting myself to the thought that Mom's never coming home with french fries and sprite again, and to the knowledge that Mel and I are never going to have that Doctor Who themed wedding. It didn't help that my best friend moved to Colorado in the midst of all this, leaving me with...the internet. And don't get me wrong, I -love- my friends on the net, but sometimes you need a shoulder to physically cry on, and fuck if I didn't have anything of the sort. So it's been a tough year. I feel like I've hardened a little inside. Like I have defenses up I don't know if I can let down again.
But I'm healing, lest anyone mistake this for a emogothlivejournalmylifeispain sort of post. I've had a year to adjust to new realities, and for the most part, I have. I love and live off the support of my family and dear friends. I know how -lucky- I actually am. Dad's been really supportive over the past year, even as he's been dealing with his own loss. My brother and sister and their families have been great, and my friends have all been invaluable. And what suffering I have gone through is nothing compared to the loss and difficulty being suffered in other countries, ravaged by war and disaster. I have had time to think about who I am, what I believe, and who and what I want to be, and I'm going to continue pushing forward. I still tell stories, but now those stories are informed by a deeper understanding of how the universe functions, and sometimes, the stories may even be true ones. I want to educate and entertain, and try to help make tomorrow a little better for everybody.
And so there I stand after three and a half decades of existence on this little ball of rock and water . Mourning loss, celebrating life, enduring pain, loving friends, and eating fries.