Cruelty Culture

Recently, I scrolled past a meme on Facebook that referred to ADHD as “diet autism.” While amusing at first glance, there is a nugget of truth in this. Those close to me know I have regularly mentioned suspecting I might be on the autism spectrum myself — especially since 2012, when I began working a part-time job again after years of limited human contact. I had to consciously and deliberately rebuild my socialization skills from scratch; the sort of systematic way I went about it is probably good example of how I approach myself, generally.

For years I have, only somewhat jokingly, referred to my struggles as learning how to be human. It has been the dominant theme explored over and over in my self-portraits. In aggregate, these images are obviously an attempt to relate my lived experience in ways I am unable to communicate with words. I don’t “love” or even “enjoy” drawing, but now theorize that I developed it as a part of my functional “vocabulary” adjacent to verbal and written language.

I have also illustrated the intense inner-conflict between my desire to be “good,” while believing for much of my life that I am “bad” or deficient. Apparently that is a documented phenomena. I tick off a lot of boxes, including some repetitive and ritualistic behaviours that I always assumed might be OCD, but are more likely a form of stimming. I do not know if a diagnosis at my age is easily possible.

When I dig deeply into my earliest memories, a clear pattern emerges of my struggles with social interaction and relating to others. Though I was never too bullied by classmates beyond the scope of isolated teasing, I did frequently feel “othered.” I saw myself as the “weird” one, and was definitely treated that way. I was often rejected without understanding why. Part of this was obviously due to the extreme restrictions placed upon me by my parents, but I believe that my neurodivergence played a role as well. They are irretrievably intertwined.

Throughout my life, I have encountered people that absolutely loathe me for reasons I did/do not know. I am speaking about elementary-aged school children to adults — going so far as to accuse me of, fabricate, and spread rumours about things I “did” that literally never happened. Even my parents! This could have been a source of bitterness for me, but it has mostly been bemusement.

“Confused” describes my immediate reaction to most interpersonal conflict.

It makes much more sense in the context of a brain/developmental disorder. Impulsivity, opaque and fast-moving thought processes, and an almost complete obliviousness to “tact” has generally led me to having virtually no verbal filter and expressing myself in the worst ways possible. People around me have also never hesitated to tell me what was “wrong” with me, which normalized that behaviour. I know this may come as a shock, but independent of good intentions, helpfully informing people what you feel they are doing wrong is rarely well-received.

These days I have learned to slow down and/or just keep my mouth shut.

For those that cannot or do not want to understand me — that is okay. I am doing my best, and constantly evolving. That is all I, or anyone, can do.

The Prisoner, 2016

Yet — in spite of the impairments I have had to overcome, and my personal shortcomings, and in spite of how I have often been treated over the course of my life — I have never relished being cruel. (Petty, sure, but in a harmless way.) Even at my most oblivious, I have never deliberately acted to deprive, destroy, hurt, or injure someone. Cruelty, and indifference to the pain and suffering of others, is something I find morally repulsive. I do not understand it.

The concept of deriving delight, or even joy, at the genuine misery of another person is also a concept I cannot wrap my mind around. I lost several Facebook friends, and a paying Patreon subscriber, after I repeatedly deleted ghoulish and gloating comments on a post I made when Donald Trump was diagnosed with Coronavirus. Readers ignored my numerous requests for them to stop, and eventually I became so distressed that I deleted the entire post.

I despise Donald Trump specifically because of his cruelty and I do not want to become the thing I despise. Is this truly that alien of a concept? I did not feel bad for him, and I do not wish him well, but throwing a party? is a whole other level. Trump’s discomfort and pain do not improve my life in any measurable way.

For those who believe in karma, how is the hypocrisy not apparent?

At times like these, I really do feel like some kind of alien being. Everyone is entitled to their emotions, and I am not lecturing anyone or trying to claim the moral high ground. I am attempting to convey my utter bewilderment.

Earlier this week, the Trump campaign finally pushed out a story that fucking broke me. Amid the fraudulent “scandal” about “Hunter Biden’s” alleged laptop, the New York Post published a series of private text messages between Hunter and his father. These are text messages from a hurting, vulnerable person, grappling with addiction and grief, laying bare his insecurities.

Joe Biden’s response was to be a compassionate, loving, and supportive father.

That’s it. That’s the “gotcha.” Joe Biden is a good dad. These malignant assholes’ sense of compassion and humanity has atrophied to the point that expressing love to your family is something to be looked upon with derision.

They intend me to read these messages and think less of Joe Biden.

I would have sawed an arm off to feel even half as supported by my father.

Right-wing Twitter began circulating a portrait of both Bidens together, as adults. It was a beautiful and warm photo, shared with a nudge-wink insinuation that there was either incest or pedophilia going on at some point between them.

A tender moment between a father and son, brandished to humiliate.

And I cannot handle any more. I do not understand these monsters. I do not understand this world where people are mocked for caring about others. I do not understand this world where kindness equals weakness. I do not understand this world that invokes the name of Jesus Christ constantly, while doing the opposite of everything he preached. I do not understand this world of greed, dishonesty, selfishness, and power at all costs. I do not understand this world where the Stock Market is worshipped as God, while people die in the streets.

The brain circuits tasked with processing this cruelty have over-loaded.

My heart is tired. My bones are tired. My spirit is tired.

I have had to temporarily withdraw into my projects for my own health. I am still posting my work-in-progress over on Patreon, but have dialed back my social media exposure until the belching firehose of cruelty has abated.

Tend Your Garden, 2018

Because of the election — no matter which way things go — the continuing increase in Coronavirus infections as people spend more time indoors, economic fallout from lack of action by the government, and the persistent threat of militia and white supremacist violence, we are in all likelihood about to confront one of the darkest and most grueling winters in living memory.

Here in the Midwest the daylight is dwindling, and the snow has started falling.

I recommend that you mentally and physically prepare yourself, in whatever forms that may take. Buy a few extra cans of food on each grocery trip (leave some for others though!), keep Gatorade/broth/soup and other such liquids on hand in addition to water, have a supply of general OTC cold medicines, make sure home and vehicle maintenance is up-to-date and winterized if needed.

Have plenty of your preferred entertainment and/or escapism stockpiled — books, movies, music, hobbies, creative activities. Hang Christmas decorations early if they help to keep your mood up. Try to limit the use of destructive coping mechanisms, like alcohol and opiates, that can fuel downward spirals.

Most importantly, reach out to and maintain virtual contact with your family, friends, and neighbours. It is only through coming together as a community, and acting non-selfishly, that we will successfully navigate the challenges ahead. It is going to get worse before it gets better, but I still believe things can get better.

Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Stay safe, my friends. ❤

CATEGORY:

[VIDEO BLOG] DUMP TRUMP NOVEMBER 3RD

VOTE NOVEMBER 3RD
And get your DUMP TRUMP multi-pack!
➡️ http://bit.ly/DUMPTRUMP2020

Please Support my Work
http://patreon.com/jinwicked
http://jinwicked.etsy.com/

It took at least two dozen attempts and an hour-and-a-half to record this, not including clothes, hair, makeup, editing, or closed-captioning on Facebook. I have been in excruciating on/off pain recently. No connection to the car accident in August. I have a doctor appointment this week. Hopefully nothing serious.

The unfettered callousness, cruelty, and selfishness on display every day is destroying my will to live. Please vote blue to help end this nightmare.

Dump Trump 2020 Multi-Pack

CATEGORY:

[VIDEO BLOG] NASTY WOMAN reporting for duty!

Black lives matter.
Brown lives matter.
Indigenous lives matter.
LGBTQ+ lives matter.
Women’s rights are human rights.
Trans rights are human rights.
Science is real.
Climate change is real.
Coronavirus is not a hoax.
Vaccines do not cause autism.
Love is love.
And FUCK Donald Trump.

I’m Jin Wicked, and I approved this message.

Dump Trump 2020

CATEGORY:

[VIDEO BLOG] Veritas

Veritas means truth.

Please Support my Work
http://patreon.com/jinwicked
http://jinwicked.etsy.com/

I was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago. I was mostly at fault — a combination of being distracted and stretching myself too thin. I simply never saw the man that hit me, until it was too late to evade him completely. I am all right, other than a few days of feeling under the weather and experiencing some dizzy spells. That has passed, thankfully. There was significant damage to my vehicle, which is insured and being repaired now. Could have been worse.

The composition read during my latest vlog was written while I was inking Greater Good (below). This was inspired not only by my own difficulties, but by the confessions and comments from others close to me — some of whom are hurting terribly. Feel free to share the image version, if you find it helpful.

My political re-awakening has been a process, but necessary to me.

Jin Wicked on Grief

This Dilbert editorial piece was done on a whim, in response to Scott Adams, a perennial shithead. If you need further explanation, please Google “Scott Adams is an asshole,” then return to this post. This is one of his more infamous quotes, where he compared women to the mentally handicapped, and managed to insult practically everyone in the process. He did see this artwork, and explained that I had misinterpreted his quote — presumably because I am a stupid woman.

Dilbert by Scott Adams by Jin Wicked

Veritas is a piece that randomly popped into my head and required immediate follow-through. By the time I had finished The Artist, it felt out of sync with my mood and mental state. I needed to fashion a self-portrait more representative of my current condition. It seemed appropriate, then, to title it after the people that tried to destroy me. The Latin text translates roughly to “2020: Forever absurd, remember death is inevitable.” It features my self-designed necklaces.

Veritas by Jin Wicked

» Veritas @ Fine Art America
» Veritas @ RedBubble
» Veritas @ TeePublic
» Veritas @ Society6
» Veritas @ Spreadshirt

For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) was loosely a commission from a patron. The prompt was open-ended to my interpretation, and it felt timely and meaningful to complete now. Dedicated to the millions of rats and mice that are sacrificed every year for the purpose of medical research. Available in my storefronts with the blessing of the owner of the original artwork, since I felt it had wide appeal.

For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) by Jin Wicked

» For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) @ Fine Art America
» For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) @ RedBubble
» For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) @ TeePublic
» For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) @ Society6
» For the Greater Good (Lab Rat) @ Spreadshirt

My planned art book for next year is coming along nicely.

I will be restocking and adding new $5 signed prints later this week.

On a personal level, I have been dealing with something I would not quite call depression. It might be accurately described as intermittent despair. I find myself occasionally feeling so absolutely drained and despondent that I am ready, in the moment, to lay down and die. Not that I want to die, but that some days, the amount of energy I need to keep fighting feels too burdensome to bear.

My personal struggles have been manageable, but current events, politics, and the bald-faced, gleeful cruelty on display lately are sapping the life out of me. Half of the United States does not even live in a shared reality anymore. People are attacking innocent service employees for being asked to wear a piece of fabric on their face. Established, factual science — like germ theory, vaccines, or even the earth being round — has been forced into becoming a debate. QAnon and other conspiracy theories are being propagated by goverment officials, including the President. And there is a surge of increasingly visible racism, dogwhistles becoming foghorns, and unapologetic Nazis and white supremacists.

Fascism thrives on its ability to exhaust and demoralize its opponents.

This effect is deliberate. I have to remind myself often.

Nothing happening right now has surprised me. I have been waiting for it since leaving Texas, and to some degree, was prepared. At least as much as I could be. The pandemic, and utter failure of a response by the federal government, have caused almost every systemic problem the US has to rise to the surface at once. The United States is at a critical turning point — where it must choose between a more equitable and sustainable future, or eventual balkanization and collapse. The brave people marching in the streets are my only beacon of hope.

There is no MAGA, and to be truthful, America has not ever been “great” for many of its more vulnerable citizens. You cannot reverse time. You cannot turn back the clock. Change is unavoidable. The organism either adapts and evolves, or becomes extinct. In the very near future, we must choose wisely.

I will be registering for the first time since 2008 to vote for Biden/Harris.

Any other option at this time is suicide.

CATEGORY:

On Fear, Vol 2

β€œThe cynics may be the loudest voices – but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.” – Barack Obama

This was originally written in my reflective early-morning hours as a Facebook post, but I wanted to preserve it here as an addendum to my previous post about fear. One of the fears I have struggled most with is feeling silenced — by intimidation and fear of criticism. This is not limited strictly to politics, but to negative experiences and traumas I have had as well. The inability to discuss many things I have been going through has been psychologically devastating for me, as a person whose main avenue of expression and understanding my world is through my artwork and comics. Victim-blaming is still pervasive even among “enlightened” and “woke” people. In several cases my traumas, and efforts to mentally reconcile doing “the right thing” while understanding what happened to me, have not only been minimized and invalidated, but actually turned into a running joke and/or used an as excuse to abuse me further.

Until recently, I have been flailing around in this no-man’s-land of denial, self-blame, being told how I feel and how I remember things is not correct, being told who I am, being told what is wrong with me — you get the idea.

I have also surpressed a lot of anger out of a desire to be “nice” and “good” and “liked” when I had real, legitimate reasons to be upset. Unfortunately for those who have attempted to gaslight me (and for me gaslighting myself), in the process of learning healthy conflict and building a loving relationship with Steve, I now have a much better-calibrated gauge for recognizing abuse.

I don’t like thinking of myself as a victim. This has been a process.

The irony is realizing the things you thought you wanted, were never worth it in the first place, and only looked appealing through the warped perspectives of the past. Authenticity sets you free. Onward and upward…

“There are a lot of politics in the Lunch Break archive.

It was something I used to be very passionate about. I grew up in a right-wing household. I listened to Rush Limbaugh until the early 2000s. It wasn’t until I left Texas, and started spending time in Canada and with people from other countries, that I started to question the things I had always believed.

I got a lot of angry and hateful feedback for my criticisms of the Bush administration and evangelical Christianity. But most of the things I was ‘over-reacting’ about back then have become noticeably, undeniably worse and/or more extreme. I do feel a little bit, just a little bit, vindicated here.

I don’t hate religion. I’m an atheist that somewhat regularly goes to Catholic Mass. I try to live by certain values I admire — love your neighbour, turning the other cheek, helping those less fortunate. Things Christians give a lot of really vocal lip service to — but precious few actually walk the walk.

I was a delegate for President Obama’s campaign in the 2008 primary fight against Hillary Clinton. I don’t really have strong feelings about Hillary, but I am not much a fan of political dynasties, either. That was a bitter fight.

Obama turned out to be not much better than Bush, if at least better-spoken and more Presidential. I suppose I am a disillusioned Millennial.

I’ve stayed away from politics for a long time — mainly because I was going through too much of my own shit, and just too tired to argue anymore.

Sometimes it is so tempting to give in to nihilism and hedonism.

But the ‘right’ path is rarely the ‘easy path.’ And the ‘status quo’ is also rarely the right path, being easy — it’s much easier, and less scary, to fight change rather than embrace it. It is much easier to lie to ourselves about the dangers of greenhouse gases and environmental pollution, than to endure the inconvenience and disruption of systemic change.

It much easier to lie to ourselves that the poor and downtrodden did something to deserve their bad fortune, even though the whole game is rigged to funnel ever-more wealth to the top. You literally cannot win.

Decades of trickle-down economics; the gas-lighting of the working class.

Centuries of racism, sexism, xenophobia, social wedge issues, and union-busting to keep the working class busy fighting each other.

But the ability to be apathetic towards politics is, itself, a privilege.

So this teenager, this young woman, Greta, comes — and she speaks before the world with a great deal of passion about something she believes in. She wants all of the things that I have been told, since childhood, are unquestioningly good — a clean, healthy planet for future generations. Unpolluted water to drink. Clear air to breathe. Sustainability.

And I would be lying if, when I watched her speak, I didn’t see some of myself — a young, idealistic person full of life, before the darkness and depression dragged me under. She has not yet cracked. She is stronger than I was. She has endured far more nastiness than I ever have.

And I also see something I have long been unwilling to acknowledge — the depths to which people will go to preserve their comfortable lies and inertia. The ugliness. The level of hatred, of venom, of dismissiveness, of mockery — for someone who, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with her or not — is trying to make a positive difference in the world.

And then I saw all of the adults who told me to sit down, shut up, stay in my place — a little differently. I saw all of the people who have tried to silence me through the same methods used on her — a little differently.

I saw through the loathing. I saw the fear.

When you realize the people you were afraid of — were actually afraid of you all along — of change, of something inside you, of something they avoid in themselves, of something you represent. I think that’s when you really discover your internal seat of power. The enemy is always fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of exposure. Fear of the other. Fear of judgement. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of pain. Fear of loss. Fear of change.

I don’t have a good answer, beyond encouraging everyone to leave their comfort zone, and do the inner work to sit with and confront their fears.

It has taken me almost forty years to finally stand up for myself.

It has taken me almost forty years to stand up to fear.

2008-02-19 Barack Obama

2008-03-03 Barack Obama