audio

[AUDIO BLOG] Tough Love

Posted in audio, health on September 7th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [AUDIO BLOG] Tough Love

[ Listen to this post. ↗ ]

Today I want to talk to you about self-acceptance and self-loathing. Now, I’m not an expert by any means, and I can only relate my personal experience as an able-bodied person. But this is still something I think will ring true for a lot of people — and you may find helpful. I understand that everyone has their own mental and physical capabilities. I dug myself out from a very dark place, and I want to share how I did it with you. I believe the crucial combination of self-acceptance, truthful self-awareness — on your own or with a therapist — and regularly, purposefully pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is the key to unlocking your potential. Speak gently, but practice tough love.

My mother started reading storybooks to me almost as soon as I was born, so I basically taught myself to read and write before I even started school. Great, right? Well kind of. My parents’ expectations were so high for me that I was often severely punished for falling short of them, in many ways that my younger two siblings never were. Verbal debasement, screaming, and harsh “whippings” taught me to fear my parents’ judgement, silence my opinions, and that love is something you have to earn — like a trophy. Be smarter, be more talented, be thinner, be prettier. Whoa now, honey, we expect only the best from you, but don’t think too highly of yourself either! That’s not healthy attachment, and the older I got, those learned attitudes began to influence my budding adult relationships. At one point, I spent months of my freshmen year of high school grounded for getting Cs in a geometry class. Instead of figuring out the reason I was getting bad grades and addressing that, I was isolated from the few friends I had, and withdrew into my dark internal world even further. Later I figured out on my own that one reason I was struggling in class and having trouble concentrating, was because at the time I needed glasses. But a childhood of incidents like that, and the damage was done.

Most of my life, I have lived with an undercurrent of self-loathing and never feeling good enough. I was always the weird kid — neither popular or bullied, existing in a category no one really knew how to deal with. Sometimes picked on, but mostly avoided. It’s that weird girl. She draws stuff. In sixth grade, mini proto-Jin was already hustling to sell my hand-drawn bookmarks to my classmates. Growing up, my primary source of self-loathing was my body. My whole family struggled with food, weight, and emotional eating. Self-hating fat parents frequently reminding their self-hating fat daughter that she is, in fact, fat. My lack of self-esteem caused me to hurt other people by staying in friendships and relationships that weren’t right for me, some actively harmful, because I was afraid of being alone and doing the HARD WORK on myself to build empathy and forge true connections with other people. The failure of bad relationships caused me to hate myself even MORE, until I eventually ate my way to almost 180lbs and imminent health problems because eating was how I learned to cope with negative emotions. I ate because I felt bad, and I felt worse because I ate. It is a vicious, self-defeating, and self-destructive cycle, true of alcohol, drugs, food, and other vices. I also wasted years of my young life binge watching television, playing video games like Minecraft, and basically doing everything I could to avoid my buried feelings and reality.

It was not until I stripped away all the layers of self-loathing and started to accept and love myself, including my flaws and mistakes, that the rest of my life started to improve. You can’t build a house on a rotten foundation.

In recent times we have started to see a lot on the Internet about self-care. Self-care is important, but it isn’t all comfort foods, bubble baths, and Netflix. Self-care has to come from a place of self-love, and sometimes that self-love needs to be TOUGH LOVE. I want to encourage you to challenge yourself. If, like me, you struggle with something as simple as keeping your apartment clean, make a resolve to clean five minutes a day. Then ten. Then fifteen. The thing you want to build here is momentum! Write it on your calendar. Slap a smiley-face sticker on there! Put it in a form that enables you to visually see your progress, and motivates you to not break the pattern. Allow yourself to take pride in your accomplishments, no matter how small. Over time, those tiny accomplishments add up to the ability to do bigger things. The important part is being proud of what you’ve done, but always pushing yourself a little more. Small changes — adding up — are how we change our world.

Love your body. Big, small, tall, short, tight, lumpy, it’s yours. And it’s the only one you’ve got. Loving your body also means TOUGH LOVE. Find exercise you enjoy, whether that’s biking, running, lifting weights, swimming, or even just dancing in your chair if that’s all you can do. Get yourself moving! It’s good for your body, your heart, your brain, and your soul. Again, momentum is key here. Those first steps on the walking trail or into the gym, are the hardest. Celebrate your milestones and let them propel you forward.

I’m not asking you to become a goal-fueled obsessive like I am — I know my brain was broken in a weird way that allows me to hyperfocus on things. But I am asking you to start loving yourself, and to let go of the distractions and negativity and self-loathing that may be holding you back from growth. Live your best life. Accept yourself as a flawed human, as are we all, then commit to becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Find your passions and cultivate the things that grow your confidence and your self-esteem. Do not just consume, create something! Life is too short to waste away in the dark places. Seek professional help if needed, and move at the pace that is right for you. Just — for fuck’s sake — move. Do things because they are hard.

In short, I am asking you to stop fuckin’ around.

[AUDIO BLOG] Down to Business

Posted in audio, work on October 17th, 2017 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [AUDIO BLOG] Down to Business

[ Listen to this post. ↗ ]

Progress, progress, progress! After chipping away at the work all summer, my arts and crafts website is back up and available. I am still gradually adding in images, titles, and information. I upgraded the content management system behind the site, and at the same time, updated my photos website because it uses the same scripts. The newest version of the scripts required a rebuild of my whole custom theme from the ground up, something I learned when I accidentally broke my photos website earlier this year, rendering it unusable. I also had to finish some incomplete graphics. Currently I am working on my comics websites, setting up the pages for my new projects, and tweaking the old ones so they have a consistent look and layout. My To Do list for back-end maintenance is miles long, so I am segmenting it into manageable chunks.

About one year ago, I recorded the first two episodes of my podcast project, JIN ABOUT TOWN. I envisioned it as a fun way to unite many of my passions, such as autobiography, real-life stories, exploration, education, photography, food, and travel. It was also intended as a way to collaborate with my friends that is accessible to anyone, regardless of experience or professional status, so that I can share my little corner of the Internet spotlight with them.

I struggled with the audio editing, and eventually I moved on to other things. After setting this aside for so many months, something finally “clicked” and I was able to edit both of these pieces with ease. I am especially proud of the second episode, because I condensed roughly three hours of conversations into 45-minutes mostly on-topic. So I must pat myself on the back, just a little bit, for finishing what I started for once, and doing a pretty okay job.

Since these two outings I have purchased appropriate equipment, so quality should improve on future recordings. Getting back to this and knocking it out is a big personal acheivement for me! I feel much more confident in the ability to continue coming back to unfinished work, and tie up the loose ends.

My other podcast, COMIC BROS, has suffered from the difficulties coordinating three overworked, busy schedules. Now that I am more comfortable working with audio, I am looking forward to some “extended family” episodes with my MSP compatriots. (With the blessing of my original co-hosts, of course!)



The first of my two latest videos, QUEEN OF ASSHOLES, was created to tie in with my newest project of the same name — a chronological, tell-all graphic novel biography of the colourful, often dramatic, and sometimes questionable life that I have lived. The video is about my journey to the city of Saint Paul, where I have finally accepted and “found” myself, and a place to call home. It is about the freedom of embracing imperfection, and the joys of being true to yourself. It is also a love letter to some of my favourite places in Saint Paul.



The second video showcases highlights from MSP Fall ComiCon last weekend, with video footage generously and skillfully recorded by my friend Jon Heller. It was created to promote my convention appearances, especially the FREE 60-second sketch cards I debuted at this show. They were a smash hit with those who came to my booth! Feel free to share this video when requesting me at your local comic convention or event! I am dedicated to engaging and entertaining attendees at all of my exhibitions. Hey, umbrella twirling!



I feel very strongly, in the depths of whatever passes for my soul, that I am beginning the work that I was born to do. What, exactly, is art? What defines a comic, and what is the difference? Who is the arbiter, the judge, the jury drawing delineation between the realm of prestigious museums, and more ephemeral pop-culture? Are not all expressions of art the same end product of the basic human need to speak out, be heard, and be understood? Labels are completely artificial, limiting constructs and completely subjective. Is the crude street graffiti and pottery of ancient civilization not of equally profound value as the works of Picasso and Van Gogh? We might sit in awe at the skill of a hyper-realist, but it is the mad scribblings of a schizophrenic that offer us unique insight into the human psyche. I believe that all human expressions have intrinsic value and lessons to teach through shared perspective. David Bowie — a pop-culture figure — artist, actor, musician, and revolutionary that caused many to re-examine ourselves. We are saddled with a President that has broken down the walls between fictional “reality” television and blurred the boundaries of objective fact itself. Comedians and cartoonists carry the torch once wielded by journalists. With advancements in artificial intelligence, consciousness and the nature of life itself will soon come into question.

What am I? I could not exactly answer that, but I can tell you that it does not matter, not moreso than the process of actually being. All my adult life I have worn men’s clothing almost exclusively, and in many ways I am acutely aware of my femininity as a performative act. Yet I have never identified as anything but a straight woman. We are all the sum of expectations that our societies place upon us, and experiences that carve out the shape of our lives like a river through rock. The uniqueness of each path and voice is fascinating, and to be celebrated. I would only have you consider — are you going to discover and grow your headwaters, or simply drift? I choose to master myself.

I have been in a good head-space lately. Life is never perfect, of course, but I have received many excellent reviews at my day job, and I am getting much, much better at handling stress. The day after Fall ComiCon I came down with the nastiest cold I have had since moving to Minnesota — aches, chills, runny nose, cough, sore throat. My computer, after weeks of developing odd quirks and deteriorating performance, chose that day to finally stop working at all. I spent two days troubleshooting with a new video card, replaced the power-supply which was beginning to fail, and finally, I resolved critical overheating by successfully removing and replacing the CPU’s heatsink. I have assembled my own computers for years, but this is the first time I have had to solve a hardware problem without physical help. And I have always been intimidated by working with the processor chip. So to remove the heatsink, clean off the dried thermal paste, and reinstall the chip and heatsink without any damage was a big deal. I danced a happy jig in my office, and I am fairly certain the aftermarket heatsink runs cooler than the original build. Someone is donating a used computer for backup, as well, so I will not have my work interrupted in the future. I managed to eke out almost a full work week while sick.

This is my life — five days per week, I spend about nine and a half hours on my day job including my commute. Most days I have dinner and some quality time with Stephen. And then I devote the other two to four hours that I am awake to my projects. Artwork, comics, photos, writing, websites. Whatever strikes my fancy at that moment in time. I read a little bit, but I do not really watch television or movies. I spend money on almost nothing but necessities, project supplies, and business expenses. I do my best to visit a friend about once per week. There is almost no fat left to trim, my days are very full, but I do not feel anxiety about it. I feel a sense of calm, and intensity of focus, and resolve. I do it because I need to. I do it because I have to. I do it because it is who I am. I do it because I love it. I have turned my work into a meditative experience. Now I have to execute the transition to full-time artist again.

My inner fire will outlast all those who have tried to smother it.