I’ve been working up a storm on my new narrative art piece (“Why Justine Is So Scared”) lately… the problem is that it is consuming, and easily sinks me back into those places. Yet it also has been liberating to air these troubles. Dredging up so much of this has left my head rattled.
I need to do them, I didn’t want to do them, I wanted my site to simply present me as a woman without that dreaded “trans” mixed up in it, but I don’t think people really know what it can be like for a few, many, perhaps most of us. Well, what do I know about them, I do know how it is for me, and that’s what these pages are all about. It’s one thing to tell people a thing, it’s another entirely to SHOW them. I think with these the repetition is where the power is. I’ve posted ten and have ten more in the can, plus a list of future incidents I need to illustrate. Granted, some will be more traumatic than others, but I hope the grinding repetition of the little incidents gives people an insight into me, my struggles, and the struggles of others like me as I post new pages week after week. Now we all have our struggles, and I’m not claiming mine are any greater than those of anybody else… but I don’t understand another person’s struggles enough to feel compelled to cry them out through words and pictures.
The drawings themselves are a battle, too. The intent is to sit down with an incident I want to illustrate, no sketches, no layouts, no under-drawing, no eraser (but plenty of white out and cut-outs), just a ballpoint pen and an hour to kill. My goal is to start drawing and keep drawing, not to stop my pen and think about things, art, the writing, not even the lettering… this of course sometimes leads to trouble, but I hate doing one over again, though I will allow it, because torturing a drawing that doesn’t feel good into existence is the one thing I will not do. If the drawing doesn’t feel good, it gets crumpled, and I scribble at another and another until one feels good, and I take deep breaths and refuse to admit blocks. I force through the blocks, even if I end up with a few drawings that didn’t feel as good as the best of them. See, these aren’t about how good I can draw, they are about what I feel, they are about the way it feels to do them, and they are about crying out. No one stops to look up a word in the dictionary when they are crying out. Nothing about these is calculated, nothing is for effect… they are too stream of consciousness by far for all of that. The writing, too, is organic, and the pieces fall into their places on the page and I just try and keep gluing them all down before they slip off the page into nothingness.
Perhaps they are a self-indulgent pity party… and though my gut has always been wrong when it comes to which projects I should commit to, I don’t merely feel strongly about this… I’m not even stopping to question it. I am compelled to see these through. I am compelled to tell the truth, even if the pain of revealing emotions so raw and personal is going to have repercussions. Even if it means “coming out” in the one place in the universe I didn’t have to qualify my femininity. Of course these pages will alienate some, but, I guess those aren’t the people I need closer to me anyhow, are they?
This work has drawn me deeper into those feelings, which has left me way off center, so I am hoping to plow through these… though I know that I have an entire life of this shit ahead of me… however long or short that life may turn out to be. Yet it feels so good to be doing these drawings. I feel like an alchemist, turning base material, the gristle of life, into gold… into art! It’s difficult ground to tread, but I keep trudging… and for all the pain of poking at these wounds… I think the whole body of work is inevitable for me. So here it is, here I am… stuff that is nothing more nor less than inevitable.
So there they are, like a traffic accident, all broken glass and bloody bones…
(They are under “web-comics” and are titled: “Why Justine Is So Scared,” and they are worth a look.)