health

[VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Posted in food, health, video on March 12th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Baby steps.

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Thursday night, I made my best friend Al a CRAPPY birthday cake! I had Steve bring the cake to a small gathering hosted by Lance, and surprise him.

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

He loved it, and ATE THE POOP! which was crumbled chocolate cake.

As I shared in this week’s vlog, I was diagnosed Monday morning as having a combined-type ADHD (Mayo Clinic) (NIMH) (Wikipedia). I have an appointment with a psychiatrist later this month to discuss medications and, with luck, find something that will help lift the fog that my head is stuck in much of the time. I have also set up monthly sessions with the ADHD therapist to get feedback, and help continue developing strategies to improve my executive function.

The knowledge that I have been attempting to run a marathon with both my shoelaces tied together for most of my life, is both simultaneously frustrating and encouraging. Aside from visual art, I showed promise as a student with the viola, violin, trumpet, and piano, but I quit playing music once I reached higher skill levels that required long sessions of practice I could not maintain. I vaguely remember taking the SAT test in middle school. It was probably this program? “Duke” something was all I could recall. I do remember completely blowing it because I was unable to focus on the preparatory materials at all. I studied French for three and a half years in high school, but as the need to study increased right at the point I started to become conversationally fluent, I gave it up. I attended community college for about six weeks at my parents’ insistence. But outside of high school, I could not even reliably go to class on time, or at all, much less pay attention or complete reading assignments.

As a young child, I was able to coast by and get excellent grades, in spite of all my doodling and daydreaming. That all came crashing down by the time I was a teenager. I will never know what I might have accomplished or done if there had been more awareness of ADHD in girls, and in general, in the early 1980s. I needed compassion and understanding. Instead my parents chose to discipline me, ineffectively, with violence and screaming when I was small, and name-calling, judgement, massive invasions of my privacy and trust, and threats as I got older. They praised with one hand, and struck with the other. It has taken me thirty-nine years to break this addictive cycle, and undo the self-loathing they instilled in me. I am not allowing other people to define me or undermine my sense of self-worth any longer. Now that I have dug to the root problem, I am ready to work with my therapist and psychiatrist to unlock my full potential. I have come far already, with my shoes tied together.

Cohesion

Posted in health, work on March 3rd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Cohesion

My evaluation with the ADHD specialist is coming next week. I am hopeful for that. Two weeks ago I scrubbed my bathroom from top to bottom, and threw out a large trash bag of old makeup and other products, and put all my “daily use” makeup together in a box to keep it clean and neat. It is a chicken-and-egg scenario — but I cannot tell whether I am happier because of the clutter, garbage, and superfluous stuff I am throwing out, or whether I am throwing these things out because I am happier. Of course, it does not really matter.

I am not sure how I still have anything left after two years of purging!

I took photographs of my office, the last “disaster” I am fighting to overcome, for the specialist and/or therapist. I have tried many, many times to organize my office, but every time I succeeded, the room spirals back to “piles of paper everywhere” state very quickly. I sincerely suspect this is contributing to the productivity issues — like the noise issues I mentioned before, the mess feels incredibly suffocating and overstimulating. In my reading about ADHD recently I ran across something called the Touch-It-Once Rule, so I have been slowly rewiring my habits to incorporate that behaviour. I am also utilizing a timer to spend about thirty minutes per day sorting papers, and discarding everything that is trash or that I can bear to part with. I have been sketching at my day job in quiet moments and on breaks without any “fidgety” problems.

Last night I sat down with several spiral notebooks that I hand-write scripts and ideas into, taking stock of my entire body of work, and engaging in some “big picture” thinking. The comics feel more manageable laid out this way.

1. Crap I Drew on My Lunch Break – webcomic, book/minis, almost complete
2. A Dollar Late and A Day Short – webcomic, book/mini, almost complete
3. Have Tablet, Will Scribble – webcomic, minis only, ongoing
4. Queen of Assholes – webcomic, TPBs/volumes, ongoing
5. The Book of Al – webcomic, single book, one-shot
6. TBA sketchbook project – poetry/prose, single book, one-shot
7. TBA sketchbook project – comics/drawing, single book, one-shot

Projects number six and seven are unique, in that I want to execute them in a “sketchbook” style. I aim to work on them exclusively outside my office until I reach the publishing stage. I like that an overall theme has emerged among all of my primary projects, including the TBA ones — an exploration of change, growth, connectedness, what it means to be human, and the impermanence of life. Thirty-nine years upon this planet have lead me to this moment, in this place, at this time, but it was my new day job at the beginning of 2019 that has finally sparked the “why.” My days are filled with art, books, and hard but fulfilling work — and making people laugh, smile, or think. I have rarely been poorer, owned less crap, and never felt more whole. I am grateful.

I have had several people lately express their preference to support my work without using Patreon, and over the next few weeks and months, I am going to be shifting focus to my general support page rather than Patreon. At the same time, I have been quite happy with Patreon, myself, and I want to find new ways to value-add for my supporters there in the future. Patreon is still my preferred method of support, as it is very easy for me to manage, much in the way Etsy helps with the store-side of things. But there are options.

This weekend I am preparing my presentation for the school children I will be speaking to soon! If that goes well, I should have some photographs and/or video, along with a trip report, for you later in the week.

Turning Points, Vol 2

Posted in health, work on October 3rd, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Turning Points, Vol 2

Short written post this week, as most of my energy is going into preparations for MSP Fall Comicon, specifically churning out pre-drawn sketch cards to give away to the first visitors to my booth in the morning. I also plan to give away the remainder of the “piRATe” tote bags left-over from the spring convention. I have stuffed them with free colouring pages, crayon packs, and flyers.

I eat the cheapest nutritionally-sound meals I can engineer, so I can afford to give more back to YOU! All right, I am actually just that fuckin’ boring IRL.

You should see my growing collection of Goodwill-grandma sweaters.

Venture Brothers Sketch Cards

I plan to continue drawing sketch cards over my lunch breaks throughout the year, so I can bank them up for conventions. The exercise in different styles feels good, and they are a fun way to scratch the itch to do fan art.

More notable milestones recently — today I crossed 7k users on my Facebook page. I am on schedule to max out my personal account’s 5k, and reach 10k on my page by the end of the year. Please follow if you are not already!

There have been lots of additions to the gift and guest art gallery!

Goal weight achieved!

Also, for the record, today I reached my original weight-loss goal of 110lbs. It did take longer than I intended, but my focus shifted to weight maintenance after May. Once the convention season has ended, I plan to experiment while I figure out how much I need to eat to maximize my weight-lifting efforts.

That’s all for now! I hope to see you at Fall Comicon this weekend!

[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.

My weight loss transformation!

Posted in health on August 23rd, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on My weight loss transformation!

My ex-mother-in-law, at my request, provided me with some photos recently. During the period where I went “offline” from about 2008 through 2014, I did not allow anyone but her to photograph me for family functions. It occurred to me that it is one thing to talk about accomplishments, but until now I had not provided any hard evidence. So, here it is! The “before” pictures are from approximately 2012 to 2013 — not quite at my heaviest. I would eventually weigh in at 178-179lbs and only 5’2″ tall. My knees hurt. My feet hurt.

Weight Loss Transformation

I struggled with my weight nearly all of my life, but it became a great problem as my depression worsened. Cooking and eating were the only two activities that really brought me any pleasure. Towards the end of 2014, when I finally acknowledged how unhappy I was, I barely recognized myself anymore. Not wanting to throw away my health and continue on living like that, I started eating 1200/cal and exercising an hour on my home elliptical machine almost every day. By May of 2015 and my preliminary trip to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, I had lost 50lbs. I stayed between 130-135lbs until the beginning of 2018.

Weight Loss Transformation

At the beginning of this year, I started a ketogenic diet, eating very low-carb, with emphasis on quality proteins and vegetables. Using that method, I lost the remaining 20lbs and knocked-out one “bucket list” goal of wearing two jumpsuits that had not fit me since 2003. Since reaching my goal and starting to lift weights, I have reincorporated some complex carbs into my diet. I don’t binge eat anymore, and when I do find myself feeling compelled to eat for emotional reasons, I stop and try to address the real problem instead.

Weight Loss Transformation

That’s it! Now I am on to my gym-venture and the next step in my evolution. I am pushing my limits mentally, physically, creatively, in every way I can. Who knows where it will take me next? I am looking forward to finding out!