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College Week 4 Day 1

I should be actually doing homework, but I can’t focus and I’m waiting for coffee to kick in while contemplating finding out if I have ADD/ADHD because reasons. I turned in my first paper today and omg feels. I’ve never turned in a paper where the grade actually mattered in a real way, so this is kinda huge.

Anyway, enjoy this collage.

Also, I have less than a week left in the voting period for the 10k Scholarship. I need about 600 votes to secure my place in the top 10 and then it goes to a round of judging. So if you haven’t voted, please vote, and if you have, please please please share the shit out of it. 10k would go A LONG way in helping me get through college and also maintaining my levels of calm.


Kiery Actually Does College

I started taking college prep courses in January, which I’ve written about most of the few times that I’ve actually gotten around to writing this year. The week before last week I took the college placement test in english and got a near perfect score (98 & 99, out of 99) and placed into english 101. Which is huge on multiple levels, and bigger still I’ve actually registered for the class and am starting in April. I plan to continue taking my college prep course in math and hopefully over the summer be able to take the placement test for that as well and start doing full college courses with the hope of getting an AA or AS and maybe even transfer to UW.

I still can’t quite believe that I’m doing it? I didn’t think I would be able to? I almost believed everything my parents told me about how my uterus meant that higher education wasn’t an option for me, and if it weren’t for the encouragement of my friends and that math was blocking my ability to code, I probably wouldn’t have actually tried. Turns out, I love school and going somewhere to learn things, and my particular school has to many things going on for queer students and there’s a huge art thing and….it’s overwhelming and great at the same time.

kdcvoteI have a really hard time expressing how massive it is to be able to do school – to start doing school – at 25 and all of the blocks I’ve had to get over to get to the point that I could even try, and then to actually be doing well there….My ABE teacher and my advisor both think I’ll do great and I’m on the right track and they actually believe in me? I’ve never had teacher types believe in me before. It’s healing on a lot of levels and I’m really happy that I’m at a place where I can do this now. My dream of wanting to go to college as a teenager is finally being realized and it’s magical.

I’m working on getting scholarships and funding together now, so I don’t have to pay everything out of pocket. To that end I’ve submitted an essay to the Wyzant scholarship and it would be amazing if you could take a moment to vote and share (vote daily!), that will go a long way towards helping with my funding for at least the fall semester. In the mean time, I’m also trying to put together resources for this quarter, even though I’m only taking one class, I still need books and a replacement laptop once the new iteration is out because my laptop suddenly acquired a motherboard problem and won’t turn on.

So, I’m asking for helpI need your shares and your votes desperately for the scholarship for the fall, and in the meantime, if you have the means or desire and feel like donating to help cover the cost of books/coffee/school supplies and a replacement laptop…you can click the giant purple button and I will love you forever.





Sometimes I learn slower than I’d like. I get frustrated because PHP isn’t intuitive and I can watch a segment and then I have to take a break and let what I learned sit there for a couple days before going back for more. On the upside, I am actually grasping it this time, but I wish I knew all the things now so I could make stuff already.

But I guess no one really learns a language in a day, and I am making progress, so that’s good.

Unrelated to PHP Basics though, I am exhausted and heavy hearted. Part of me doesn’t know why, and part of me is aware that I’m just sensing the weight of the world. I’m doing the best I can to make a small piece of it better though, and I just have to keep plugging away. I can’t focus on everything, and that’s okay.


Why Bother?

I had been in NCFCA for a year and a half, I had, at that point, never made it out of the preliminary rounds in the two or three tournaments I’d been to. I put a lot of work into what I did: spending hours researching, memorizing, practicing, and learning how not to take criticism personally. I failed to make it into any following rounds and spent the day cheering on my friends – when I got home from the tournament, my parents said:

This isn’t working, and obviously you aren’t going anywhere, so we think this was your last tournament and you can focus on other things. 

— in other words: I wasn’t good enough, despite the effort, and I wasn’t allowed a chance to improve, because I wasn’t progressing quickly enough —

I was barely fifteen. NCFCA was the only place I saw other humans – friends – my age who I could communicate with. And like that it was gone.

 

I like to tell myself – to believe that those crippling words were left to debater Kiery in my past and I’ve moved on; proven I can do things – or that things are worth doing even if I don’t succeed as much as I want to.

But it hasn’t. Any unsuccessful attempt to improve anything leaves me broken in shambles, reliving that speech from my parents where I wasn’t good enough now, so why bother even trying? It haunts me with every application and interview, every competition I lose. I can hold my head up so many times before it kills me. I can keep persisting for so long before I start questioning.

Why bother?

Is it even worth trying to get into this course or apply for that job?

I would love it if I did.

But is it worth, the (likely) inevitable rejection?

Am I better off going solo, quietly, unnoticed, like I have been?

It’s so easy to say yes.

So much safer to just stop putting myself out there, to stop working so hard for what I want when I have all these voices telling me I’m not good enough and not to bother.

And every time an opportunity vanishes, I feel like they’re right. Like my parents were on to something when they said I was only good for breeding. Like I’ll never make it out there with the other people. It’s better to keep doing things myself, silently, alone, where I feel like I’m doing something but no one notices enough to shatter me again.

Where I spin my wheels and feel progress and if I don’t look out the window then I’m not going nowhere.

 

But here’s the thing, I’m not going nowhere, I just have an opportunity to accelerate.

I’ve had other opportunities to accelerate, and I’ve taken them, and was left in the dust, watching others arrive closer to where I wanted to be. And I cheered for them, and kept doing my thing, quietly.

 

But I don’t know if I can bother again. I want to, desperately, but I don’t know if I can take that reminder.

 

You’re not good enough, you’re not progressing, it’s pointless to keep trying. 

 


Reminders

I’ve posted this before several times, but sometimes I’m at this point where I just need to listen to it again…

I’m at a point in my creative cycle where I feel like all of my goals are unattainable, that I’ll never be where I want to be. I feel like everyone is just better at everything by default and flying by and I’ll never ever get to the point where I’ll be good enough – to where I can make what I want to make and it’ll be as good as I wanted it to be.

All of my ambitions seem so impossible, and then I remember this is the part where a lot of people just stop, and so, if I don’t stop, if I can just manage to push through, I’ll get better. I always do.

And then I remember that I’m not 45, I’m 23, and I’ve only been doing things consistently for a couple years. My life hasn’t passed me by yet, I still have time.

It’s normal to take a while.


Failure and Creatives (me) 2 comments

I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.

I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.

That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).

Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.

I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.

I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?

Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?

Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.

Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.

But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.

Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.

I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.

I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).

I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.

I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.

I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.

But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.

I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.

But I can’t not do it.

And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.

I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).

I have to (and I love it).

I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.

I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.

(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? *begs*)