Sacrifice

Posted in love on August 12th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Sacrifice

Stephen and I have ended our romantic relationship, but we remain friends. He is a genuinely good person with a beautiful and caring heart, and I do not regret a moment of the nearly two years we have enjoyed together. We have supported each other through large transitions in both of our lives, as well as a period of mutual personal growth. From the beginning, our relationship has required tremendous amounts of effort and emotional vulnerability, while we each worked out our respective issues. I can honestly say we are both much healthier, well-rounded individuals today. But the suspicion has been growing stronger that this has run its course, and I am exhausted. It is now time for me to take care of myself, and for Stephen to take care of himself.

Jin and Stephen

Stephen is also sixteen years older than me, and dreaming of his retirement, while I have been building the go-go life of a convention-hopping nomad. We can, and will, continue to support each other as friends, but this is where our life paths start to diverge. When Stephen first found me, alone, and twisting in the wind after a traumatic experience, he said, “I want to teach you to fly.” That, he accomplished. But eventually I would have to stretch my wings.

Jin and Stephen

Right now, what I need and want most is to be alone so that I can focus on my new book. I am not an ideal partner — I need a lot of quiet time and a lot of near-solitude. Once the honeymoon period wanes away, realistically, I am going to be happiest with another industrious workaholic, and someone I can connect with on an artistic level. My work is at the heart of my identity. I feel the absence of a connection there, acutely. And it makes me sad. Three years ago, I left, with a dream of eventually becoming half of a creative team with a new partner. Someone I could deeply share all of myself with. Over the past few months, I have seen my dream in action, with the mutually-creative and supportive husband and wife team of Joseph and Kristina Linsner. It can be done. And I cannot allow loneliness, insecurity, or fear to lead me into a life of regret and depression for a second time. It is not fair to me, and it is not fair to Stephen. I am content alone. I am prepared to build my career alone. I am prepared to remain alone, if it comes to that. My work is my everything.

Soon, I will be removing the television set from my apartment and discarding the couch, as they only serve to remind me of the time I have squandered in the past. I want a quiet life of simple food, simple pleasures, hard work, and sacrifice. As long as I have food, health, and bills are paid, that is enough.

This hurts terribly, but the right choice is rarely the easy choice.

Someone once told me, “Pain is bad, and you should do everything you can to avoid it.” But pain is an essential part of life. Pain reminds us to appreciate the things we have in the moment, because loss is guaranteed, and life itself is a temporary condition. By embracing pain, and allowing it to travel through us, we are able to untangle the stranglehold of fear. And when we no longer fear pain and our own emotions, we are free to become our true selves.

Do better next time!

Posted in video on August 6th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Do better next time!

Improvements to my office and reactions to my recent kitchen video.

Three Years

Posted in general, health on July 23rd, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Three Years

Three years.

Almost three years ago, I packed up my entire life, and moved to Minnesota. I chose to sacrifice never having to work a “day job” again, financial security, food and housing security, medical security, the American Dream middle-class lifestyle, and almost everything else I knew. I chose to sacrifice these things because, after years of depression and accomplishing nothing, I woke up one morning and no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I had to act.

Three years later, I have lost almost 70lbs and am finally happy with my body. I have a healthier relationship with food, having mostly eliminated emotional, procrastination, and boredom-fueled eating. I eat more vegetables, little junk food, and sweets very sparingly. I do not consume alcohol, and I try to drink at least 1L of plain water per day. I stay active, and I enjoy exercise. I am in the process of starting to weight train, because maintaining muscle mass and keeping bones strong is one of the few proven methods to delay the effects of aging. And I want to be active, healthy, productive, and strong for as long as possible, so I can accomplish all of the things that I wish to do.

Three years later, I have learned so much about myself. I have sorted out the things I enjoy for myself from the things I participated in or pretended to like to fit in with others. I loathe television, and have very little interest in movies, and most passive media. I have rediscovered the pleasures of reading. I feel like a giant sponge, ready to absorb all the information and new experiences that I can. I am getting outdoors and experiencing nature regularly. Watching and learning about sports! I am educating myself about the history of comics and the comic book industry. Art, comics, dance, music, photography, cooking, writing, podcasts, videos, fashion — I have so many outlets to be creative in whatever way suits me in any given moment. Not enough time in this life.

Three years later, I am confident, and secure. I recognize the patterns of my old relationships, and where my failings and shortcomings have existed, in an objective and self-accepting way. I do my best to break the cycle when I feel myself retreating into damaging behaviours or coping mechanisms. My eyes are open to my weaknesses, and what I still need to work on, but I am also healthy enough to see where my issues end, and other people’s begin. I will not allow other people to define me. I do not need to blame or beat myself up for everything. I know how my life experiences have affected me and how to avoid the pitfalls and traps I have fallen into previously.

Three years later, I have learned how much I live for the hustle. Embrace the struggle. I thrive on challenge, and if I do not have challenge, I need to find it. The struggle is character. The struggle is growth. I do not like being too comfortable. Comfort is stagnation is death. Comfortable is an adjective best applied to beds and chairs, and not much else. If I have a problem, solve it. If I can’t do something, figure out how. If it’s not good enough, try harder next time. Practice mindfulness in the moment, but push my limits going forward. I like feeling a little hungry. I like feeling a little sore. I like feeling a little raw. I like feeling alive. If it doesn’t add to my quality of life significantly, if it doesn’t further my dream, if it’s holding me back, if it’s dragging me down, if it’s not helping me grow as a person — I probably don’t want it.

I watched my mom die of cancer at 59. I was her daytime care-giver for the last few months of her life. Only my father and her doctors knew her decline and slow death more intimately than I did. The agony, the madness, and the suffering as she slowly wasted away. I looked into her eyes as she pleaded with me for her life, days before the end, in the hospital, begging to go back home; terrified, her twisted and emaciated body barely able to sustain life. I looked into her eyes — and I saw myself. Growing up, she would sometimes wistfully tell me how much she loved to draw as a little girl. She gave it up as she got older, she said. I don’t know how much, or if, she regretted that.

My father killed himself a few years after my mother’s death. He never really learned to live without my mother, never sought out any kind of counseling or professional help, and allowed his relationship with a woman younger than me to ruin what remained of his life. My belief is the combination of financial devastation and grief is what ultimately led him to suicide. He was an honest, good, and hard-working, but angry and repressed man. Some of my earliest memories are of being chased and screamed at by him, a huge hulking mass of red face and muscles, towering over this three- or four-year-old girl. Being held down, being whipped across my bare back and legs with a large leather belt. I learned to please. I learned to hide myself. I learned to fear.

Thirty-eight years to find my anger. Thirty-eight years to find my spine.

Three years to find myself. Three years to learn my own strength.

I have made so many sacrifices for this.

No regrets.

FLIGHT

Posted in work on April 5th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on FLIGHT

I am not the same person I was three years ago.

I am leaner, but not meaner. I am confident, patient, stronger, and wiser. I am committed to both artistic and personal growth. I am committed to a lifetime of minimalism, moderation, and simplicity. I am committed to a lifetime of art, advocacy, charity, healing, and spirit of service through my work.

I am committed to living with purpose. I know who I am.

I am formidable.

Please allow me to reintroduce myself.

FLIGHT 8″ × 10″ India ink on 140lb hot press watercolour paper. Lines inked by brush, with texturing done by 100-year-old crow quill pen given to me by friend and fellow artist Lance Ward. Details and original for sale at Etsy.

Pre-order my 2018 T-shirts and Happy Rats colouring books at Etsy.

FLIGHT

My newest video is complete — slightly later than I planned, but the bird took a tremendous amount of effort. Each of these projects becomes a little more complicated and ambitious, and I thoroughly enjoy blurring the lines between so many varying art forms. There are no boundaries to true creativity.



These are among the greatest works that I have created so far, and among the weakest works that I have yet to do. The road ahead of me is long, and I am only getting started. Have no doubt, I will make the journey.

Happy Happy Rats

Posted in general, work on March 13th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Happy Happy Rats

Another four days off this week. The fogginess is clearing away from my head and it feels like I can breathe again. Stephen has been giving me much more space, and my productivity is increasing proportionally. Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time since before the holidays. I am starting out with a trainer to learn how to correctly use the free weights. The plan is to come up with a three-times-per-week workout aimed at building strength that will be the most efficient use of my limited time. My weight loss is also starting to plateau around 120lbs. I have been holding off on the gym in anticipation of that. The addition of hard cardio and starting weight training should hopefully help shed the last 10lbs to my target. Once I am the size I want to be, focus will shift to health and strength, rather than the number on the scale.

Losing more weight has aged me somewhat as my face has thinned out, but I have found that I actually like it. Whatever has been happening to me over the past year, and even moreso in the past few months, I feel much older. In a good way. Perhaps saying I feel more mature might be a preferable way to phrase it. Not that I don’t enjoy a good fart joke, but overcoming my anxiety and self-control issues came with an indescribable aura of adultness.

This poor painting, languishing for two years in the background of most of my in-office videos, is finally finished. Happy Happy Rat No. 0007 is the next in a series of no-two-exactly-alike Happy Rat paintings, none of which since 0001 will have prints made. Starting later this summer, I plan to begin producing at least one per week, and have them displayed at local Twin Cities venues to the general public (coffee shops, antique/resale shops, galleries, etc). There are also several comic stores soon to be carrying my mini-comics.

Happy Happy Rat No 0007

There is also a Happy Happy Rats colouring book in the works, planned to be ready-to-ship by the end of April. Visitors to my Instagram will have seen the pages as I am drawing them. The originals are for sale fairly inexpensively in my Etsy shop. I might do a colouring book pre-order with the T-shirts.

Am I happy? Honestly, I do not know. Sometimes I am. Even often. But other times I am overtaken by a sense of nebulous loss, and of restlessness. I am coming to the conclusion that it is not in the creative nature to be happy or content for very long. Creativity and stagnation are antithetic to each other. I believe it is stagnation that is at the root of my depression — in myself, and when exposed to it too much in the people around me. It is not my place to judge other’s life choices or priorities, but time is so very precious. Right now I have managed to surround myself with dynamic and growth-minded people. I need to challenge myself, and I need to be challenged by my environment. I am not the same person that I was only two years ago, and in another two years, I will be different still. I want to live to my fullest potential, and be the best version of myself that I can. Let nothing be squandered. I have goals, and an actionable, realistic plan to achieve them. For the first time in my life, I have patience. Keep working on myself, and let things happen naturally.