general

Being Wrong

Posted in general on July 13th, 2016 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Being Wrong

Something kind of wonderful has been happening to my brain recently; most noticeably amplified in the past week. It is as if all the gears and mechanisms of my mind have come together, everything is finally in sync, and I am afflicted with a clarity of thought and vision that I was previously incapable of.

Like a child learning a new word, the abstract idea of boundaries has become internalized to me, and I now recognize its application everywhere. Empathy! Respect! Consent! My ability to see people as their own, separate entities has a strange and fascinating newness about it. This has come alongside my own development as an individual. Mastering my anxiety and insecurities frees me from my obsessive tendencies, and allows me to share my needs confidently, as well as honour those of others. Another roadblock removed to intimacy.

Before deleting my dating profiles, I texted someone my phone number. Last week, I had dinner with him. That turned out to be one of the most enjoyable dates I have had, and I fancy him a lot. I made clear that I would like to meet again, and then left the ball in his court. The amazing thing is not my lack of fretting over this, but that I do not have any urge to fret. It feels incredible.

I am reposting this from the ephemeral hole of Facebook:

Forcing yourself on someone, in the form of contact or communication; unwanted and unwelcome gifts, favours, or charity; and violation of body or personal space; are all wrong. I am guilty of all these things, and no matter how good or pure the intention, doing them without consent is wrong.

Over the past few months, I have been on the receiving end of all of these, and learned firsthand how shitty it feels. I wish I could time travel and change the past, but all I can do is learn my lessons and be respectful going forward. Someday I might get to be a real girl! Also: Don’t touch my stuff.

Obvious? Yes, but really understanding this has been an epiphany for me.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Your car is dirty, and needs to be washed. You are busy, tired, and complain to a friend that you do not have the time or energy to wash your car. Your friend repeatedly offers assistance. Finally, you ask them if they could pick up a coupon for the local car wash. Days later, you discover they have driven and washed your car, far beyond what you asked. Your friend has spare keys for emergencies, and because you travel together often. Your friend is also aware that you are uncomfortable with other people driving your car, and have general issues regarding trust and personal space. But they drove your car without explicit consent, and furthermore, reset your programming on the stereo, disordered the documents in your glovebox, and added an air freshener and other accessories you do not want. They cleaned out your trunk, rifling through luggage and other intensely personal items.

This is a breakdown in communication and lack of healthy boundaries.

Your friend had good intentions and wanted to be helpful, but in the process, violated your trust and feelings of autonomy and independence. You may feel betrayed, guilty, indebted, ungrateful, and embarrassed. Your friend may feel ashamed, unappreciated, taken advantage of, rejected, and unwanted.

Both parties in this situation have legitimate grievances, and that pain could have been avoided with better communication and clearer expectations. Both parties have the right to feel hurt. I have experienced both perspectives.

No matter how badly you want to help, only the recipient gets to decide what you may and may not do. I have not respected that. And I was wrong.

No matter how much you care or love them. Still not your decision.

I will be the first in line to admit that I am not the best artist, comic creator, or creative writer. I am not the most beautiful woman. I love to dance and sing, and I am unashamedly not very good at either of those. Though I always try my best. In my opinion, where does my greatest strength lie? In my ability to adapt, change, and grow: my willingness to admit when I am wrong.

Daddy Dearest

Posted in general on May 19th, 2016 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Daddy Dearest

Late-night AM radio paranormal talk show host George Noory famously quips, “There are no such things as coincidences.” While I do not necessarily believe that, and I understand the phenomenon of confirmation bias, my life appears to be afflicted by a theatrical sense of timing. My personal journey of the past two years — leaving the extended adolescence I occupied for over a decade, weighed down by anxiety and depression — climaxed this past weekend with my appearance at MSP Comicon. One year ago, I tabled there with a meagre pile of my mini-comics; a shrinking violet, timidly hawking my wares. This year, I commanded a full table in the centre of the convention floor, surrounded by a stable of friends; lip syncing and dancing shamelessly for two days straight, and doing virtually anything to bring a smile to those passing by. Triumphant, it was the most actualized, confident, and self-assured I have ever felt.

On Monday night, I received news that my father had shot and killed himself. In one final act of cruelty, another person was witness to his suicide.

My father was a profoundly angry, and, at his core, unhappy man. He worked taxing, physical labour in a trade he did not enjoy, and found himself trapped there when plans to take over the family business fell through. Violence and misbehaviour eventually lead him to never consume alcohol. The sheetrock in our garage was littered with holes in the walls made by his leathery fist. The oldest child, my most vivid childhood memories involve being chased through our hallway, his voice bellowing threats at my heels, or being strapped with a leather belt. I rarely understood what I had done to deserve that. My father was a large man. There were plenty of happy times, of course, but I learned to fear him and his temper quickly. I recall many incidents of him cursing at my mother and refusing a meal because she unknowingly cooked something for dinner he had had for lunch. I watched her react and, unconsciously myself, became trained to do or say whatever it takes to avoid that anger. As a child, I fought tirelessly to earn his approval and recognition. It seldom came; more often I was punished for failing to meet his standards or be what he wanted. Therein lies the seat of my identity issues and insatiable desire to please.

As I grew older, I became an angry, disturbed, and poorly-adjusted teenager. The overt violence ended, only to be replaced by undercurrents of threat. My activities and socialization were severely restricted for most of my high school years, stunting my emotional development and ability to connect with others. Both of my parents were obsessively controlling, consistently eavesdropping, violating my trust, and invading my privacy. I had a violent psychotic episode at age 14, which resulted in the screws being tightened further. They falsely accused me of drinking, using drugs, and prostitution. My makeup, clothing, weight, and interests were mocked and criticized. My attitude was somehow always the ruination of our family outings and vacations. Day after day, I was reminded of all the things wrong with me. I should state that — for whatever reasons — my two younger siblings did not receive this treatment.

Outwardly, we appeared to be the ideal nuclear family.

Friends charitably helped me escape this toxic environment those many years ago, before I descended into self-harm, or worse. I remained in Minneapolis for one year, then in Buffalo, NY, very briefly, before returning to Texas. When I came back, my parents charged me a small amount of rent, and were then mostly-able to treat me as an independent person and less judgmentally.

However — my father became more emotionally distant and unavailable over the years. Communication was always on his terms, despite my requests not to be alienated by his politics. He continued to express little to no capability for compromise. He continued to lecture and talk to me like a small child, and he expressed little interest in my life and none in my work. He was incapable of apologizing or owning any responsibility for damage to our relationship. He put only the most minimal of effort into maintaining the relationship. I realize now that I have been intoxicatingly attracted to men displaying these same unhealthy traits in my romantic partnerships. (Never Matt, though!) Affection withheld as punishment and returned as reward, being deliberately ignored, being dehumanized by name-calling like asshole and crazy, having my feelings marginalized or invalidated, and threats of abandonment are all things I have endured. I will no longer suffer others’ perceived failures and insecurities.

I set aside all my grievances when my mother’s breast cancer metastasized to her bone marrow. Initially, I cleaned my parents’ house once per week for token payment. As her illness progressed, I became her daytime caregiver. It was during this period where I felt the most connection to my father. United by the common objective of caring for my mother, we functioned together as a team, and he would occasionally confide in or seek advice from me. It was I who researched hospice care, and who ultimately helped him accept it when that time came. It was I who spoke with the hospice representatives, when he could not face them alone. Unfortunately, after her death, things returned to the status quo. He was never the same, and neglected to seek help.

My mother did apologize to me, unsolicited, before she died.

One day in the kitchen, while planning my mother’s funeral, my father looked at me and said, “My children were all disappointments — you know? I wanted doctors and lawyers. But I guess I didn’t give you the genetics for that.” And, immediately realizing what he said, he attempted to take it back. But I knew. Our relationship mostly consisted of me visiting, staring at the television for a few hours, then returning home. Dinner conversation typically involved his life or whatever he had heard that week from Rush Limbaugh. When he became abusive about including an unwanted and inappropriate third-party in one of my birthday celebrations, I decided to sever. His violently slamming down the phone on me was the last time we spoke. The silence lasted for many years, though I did attempt to reconnect before leaving Texas last September, which he declined. My feelings about his death are understandably mixed.

Over the past two years, I have worked tirelessly to address my flaws, make amends with those I have hurt, heal my old wounds, and purge my heart and mind of ugliness. Am I perfect? Absolutely not!!! But I have made a conscious decision and effort to learn empathy, to build my undeveloped social skills, to connect with and love others, and to forgive my past mistakes. I had to learn not to expect abuse, neglect, and pain as necessary companions of love. And I now have the largest, most robust support network of friends and adoptive family that care about me and want me to succeed, that I have ever had.

And I treasure every new person that becomes part of my life.

I have lost over 60lbs, relaunched my art and comics career, relocated across the country, and restarted my life. I am standing alone, on my own two feet, for the first time. I have a steady paycheque doing work I enjoy with people I am happy to see every day, and who are in turn happy to see me. I have an unsteady paycheque doing creative work that brings me personal fulfillment, and delight every time I make someone laugh or think. I work hard. I have a nice apartment, new car, new phone, and a future to look forward to.

The chains that have bound me are falling away.

Matt has been very supportive through this process, as I feel we have slowly begun to rebuild our friendship. I am appreciative that he has been available through this and other recent traumas. I will close with some advice he gave me weeks ago: “You have to let go of the self-loathing — it will kill you.”

Introductions

Posted in general on March 20th, 2016 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Introductions

Hello. My name is Jennifer, though if you have been following my projects for many years, or you recently met me at a public event, you probably know me as Jin Wicked. As you may expect of someone with two names, I am a person fraught with contradictions. Fiercely independent and stubborn, with a great need for personal space and solitude, I also possess a hungry, sensitive, and docile heart. I am equal parts extrovert and introvert, shifting from wallflower to centre of attention as the mood suits me. Cynical, yet hopelessly optimistic at times; a pragmatic dreamer, hard-nosed romantic, detached observer, and intimate storyteller. As I have grown older, I have turned into a gentle atheist that seeks comfort at low points in religious services. I do my best to remain well-informed, but tend to shy away from the angst and conflict of politics.

The things that I enjoy most are good conversation, simple but well-prepared food, physical affection, comfortable silence, thunderstorms, treasure-hunting in thrift stores, petty vices, being outsmarted, and being made to laugh.

After a long period of withdrawal from the public eye, I restarted my art/comic career and life at the beginning of 2015. Work resumed on my primary series, A Dollar Late and A Day Short and Crap I Drew on My Lunch Break. Afterward, I began working regularly with a digital tablet. I returned to exhibiting at art shows and comic conventions. I broke free of depression, lost a large amount of weight, and became satisfied with my self-image again. I left my marriage and relationship of twelve years, and then relocated across the country from Houston to Minneapolis-Saint Paul. It has been quite a ride, in retrospect.

Over my journey of this past year, I met and fell madly in love with one of the most amazing, funny, complex, difficult, and talented men I have ever known. We wounded each other profoundly and parted ways, but through the loss, I have gained a new perspective of what I need to work on within myself.

I frankly discuss the recent events of my life in the video below.

Through my weekly series of YouTube videos, I respond to reader’s questions about myself, my work, and other subjects submitted for discussion. I share the many faces and voices I wear as an artist, performer, and writer. Join me every Wednesday for your cheerful reminder to “Stop fuckin’ around!”

My friends Mark, Root, and I host the irreverent COMIC BROS Podcast. It is available on every major syndication service, and also on YouTube. Subscribe to my channel for all of my projects, art progress videos, and more.

My Instagram account features shameless selfies, food pornography, artwork and work-in-progress, and occasionally, softly singing to you while I paint.

A photo posted by Jin Wicked (@jin_wicked) on

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Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoy my work!