Hey so uh, it’s been a while huh?
For the last two years, I’ve been nearly silent on social media as a whole. On tumblr I would reblog stuff, but I rarely actually posted anything about myself or my art. The short answer to that is that I was working and busy and didn’t have time for art.
The long story is this:
The last 3 years were a whirlwind. I had graduated from high school in 2015, and during that time I was really struggling with what I wanted to do. College? Entrepreneurship with my art?? Just start working right away??? I had no clue. My mistake was trying to do all three of them at once.
I don’t really remember 2015 very well, and not just because of my shitty memory. I had been accepted to one of the colleges I had applied for in Utah, and decided I would go there for a nursing degree. Not only would it allow me to get a taste of independence living away from home, but I could work and progress toward getting a “safe” job if my art didn’t work out. I had moved out to my grandparents house in Utah that summer to try and get residency there (I didn’t) and start working in the brief 3 month period I had before college started to earn some extra money. What I could not have foreseen was how abusive and horrible my grandparents would be (on my fathers side, my mothers side are great). I am quite chubby, always have been, and so they limited me to one meal a day. I would have to prep it myself, and that’s if I was allowed to use the kitchen, because I had to be supervised. I had to be dressed at all times, my bedroom in pristine condition so that they could walk in and out as they pleased, my belongings couldn’t be in sight because otherwise they’d be a bother to someone else who might stay as well (no one did). They wanted me to walk over a mile to the job I got in town in the desert heat. They complained that I wouldn’t go to the pool to exercise every morning because they had spent a solid $20 for a whole three months for me to go. I repaid them but they still complained. They accused me of being a pedophile towards a young boy I would babysit while I lived there (I would bring him into my bedroom to get away from my grandparents so he could play on my 3ds and not disturb them).
I ended up having to leave after an argument turned violent. I had lasted 2 1/2 months at their home, until one day the boy’s mother came by and dropped him off unexpectedly even tho I had told her I was unavailable to watch him that day. It was about 30 minutes before I went to work, so I scrabbled to set things up for my grandparents who were complaining and scolding me for allowing my responsibilities to conflict with each other. I would later learn that my grandparents offered to babysit the boy without my knowledge because the mother didn’t have anyone else she trusted to babysit him. I gave my grandparents money so they could take him to the pool if they wanted, and wrote him a note that he can hide in my room if my grandmothers stories became too much. In retrospect, it was probably really rude of me to write that note, but the boy was only 9 years old, and my grandmother had a tendency to try and convert people to the gospel without their consent.
My grandpa was furious with me that I’d given them money to take him to the pool, because how dare I assume that they don’t have the means to bring him to the pool, how dare I command them to bring him to this activity he enjoys, I am living under their roof I should know my place. I explained I hadn’t meant it as a command, but as a kind gesture, so that the expense wouldn’t come out of their pocket. My grandpa was so furious with me that he tried to hit me as we were driving, almost crashing into the sidewalk. Obviously upset when I got to work, my boss agreed to let me go home early to fix the issues with my grandparents. I did. They’d found the note I’d given the boy.
They were obviously furious with me, and had every right to be. That note was not one of my best moments, but I hadn’t known what else to do. They were also furious with me for things that weren’t my fault however. One of the agreements for me to live there was that I was to clean and do chores. However, being elderly, they didn’t really make many messes. This made it difficult for me to clean, to the point that sometimes when I’d notice a mess, I’d have forgotten where the proper cleaning supplies were, and even if I remembered them I wasn’t allowed into the supply closet without supervision. I vacuumed the entire downstairs once, and because of my bad back my grandpa offered to bring the vacuum up for me if I left it under the stairs. I did, but he never brought it back up. I was also supposed to do my own laundry, which I already do, but I wasn’t allowed to use the laundry machines because I had too many clothes. They eventually conceded when they realized the nearest laundry mat was over an hour away, but I had to be supervised the entire time.
When I explained these things to my grandpa, he angrily tried to slam my head in the doorframe to the supply closet so I’d “remember” where the cleaning supplies were and threw me down the stairs because “you can’t remember where the vacuum is?! Well go look where you left it!!!” They also lectured me on the note, how disrespectful it was for me to write it and how I obviously am not grateful for being allowed to live in their house if I’m not even willing to listen to them talk. I agree with them on the note, but everything else??? No, I think that was out of line.
They had me help them write an email explaining to my parents what a disrespectful, crude, unreliable, worthless, useless, lazy and disgusting daughter they raised. I called them later that night and they helped set up a rescue, because one of my mothers family friends happened to be in that town the next day. I took all my stuff and ran.
After dealing with this and moving from one family friend to another, college struck, I got a girlfriend, and I was trying to repress the abuse while dealing with classes and a romance. I couldn’t handle it all, switching my major from nursing to art halfway through because of a bad teacher and stress, and flunked most of my classes anyway. I spent most of my time drawing and with my girlfriend, and became less and less confident in my art as time went on. I had wanted to go to an art school in CA but didn’t so I could get a safe job, and the art teacher at the school I had chosen didn’t support my cartoonish style very much, riding off the coattails of my high school art teacher who hadn’t let me draw cartoons at all in her class. I came home that Christmas and stayed there, my chronic pain through the roof, thousands of dollars wasted, heavily depressed and abused, and crying my heart out because me and my girlfriend didn’t work out.
2016 looked a little better for me. I got a job at Forever 21 and honestly??? I loved it. Customers were rude sure, but I am the type of person to laugh at rude people. Because do they honestly have nothing better to do than freak out over the price of a T-shirt??? I loved my coworkers, I loved my job, I was GOOD at my job, and it gave me something to think about other than what had happened the year prior. It wasn’t, however, good for my chronic pain.
I only ever had energy to sleep, shower, eat and work. Occasionally if I had several days in a row off I could sit down and actually complete some artwork, but otherwise I was pretty emotionally, physically, and creatively tired. I did have energy to do some writing and play video games however, so I did. That was the only way I could creatively express myself, so I took what I could get. I’d occasionally go to a therapist to work out the hellscape that had been 2015, but other than that, I really didn’t have any outlets anymore.
Then I took a job at Costco in the year 2017.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my job at Costco. I had so many friendly coworkers that I genuinely loved and talked to regularly, and the work was so similar to F21 I fit right in. I was quickly promoted to full time because of how much they loved me and how well I performed. I quit my job at forever 21 and focused my time on my career at Costco, fully expecting to work there for the next 20 years or so. However, Costco wore on my health much worse than F21 did. I now had absolutely no energy to do anything but work or sleep. My appetite took a nose dive because I was so focused on work, work, work, work, work. I had very little downtime in the fast paced work at Costco, so doodles became nonexistent, maybe a single doodle once a month if I was lucky, had time and energy. My chronic symptoms got worse and worse, until there were nights I couldn’t even move. I would seize in my bed as my muscles rebelled, I’d throw up if I stayed out too late, and spending time with family and friends or events outside of work? Forget it.
I had gone to a chronic pain rehabilitation clinic at some point between college and jobs, and it was a very neurotypical way of “curing” chronic disabilities (just don’t think about it and it’ll go away!) but one thing that did help me from that clinic was going to bed on time. So as a part of my availability for all my jobs I’ve ever had, I have stated that I can’t work past 10pm, or else my symptoms will worsen.
After a year of working for them as a top performing employee, they threw me under the bus.
I actually recorded the events as they happened, and reported it to HR, but to protect myself I won’t go into detail. Essentially, they told me that they needed me to work later in the evenings, and I needed to get a doctors note or leave. I got a note, and they told me they don’t actually have to honor the note, so I’d need either FMLA or i needed to leave. I got FMLA, and they told me they most likely wouldn’t grant me all the hours I would need to completely protect myself, and so I’d either need to work the shifts that are beyond the time I can work or i needed to leave. So I put in a 3 weeks notice to accommodate for the fact they schedule 3 weeks out at a time. That was a few weeks ago.
About a week before my last day at Costco, I got an injury to my knee. I had been working at the gas station and had caught my knee on one of the truck’s trailer hitches. I ended up on crutches, and had to leave a week early. I still shop there from time to time, but I now get sour looks from my previous employers there.
I got a new job at Spectrum/Charter just this October, and just like all my previous jobs, I’ve been LOVING it. I will begin work as a phone representative after I graduate my training next week. This job is off my feet with lots of downtime between calls, and my employers encourage me to bring in my sketchbooks and art supplies to pass the time, in addition to decorating my desk with art prints I have made. Because it’s so much less taxing on the body I’m finally able to be creative again and actually sit down and crank piece after piece out like I used to in high school without the nagging stress and fear of critical art teachers and abusers lurking over my shoulder.
And I am LOVING it.
I’ve kept all my writings that I was able to squeeze in in-between my shifts for my original content and I have big plans for those in the future. As for other art, I recently played Deltarune which got me hyped as FUCK back into undertale, and so I have so many ideas for comics and prints and stories for the series.
Long story short, last night when I drew my first actual piece in years and didn’t feel a single shred of exhaustion or self doubt? I cried. I cried so hard because I’m so happy to be able to create and explore my art style without worry or pain or exhaustion seeping out of my bones. I cried because I forgot how much I love creating art and stories and content.
I cried because I missed this so much.
I can’t guarantee that I’ll be popping out pieces every day like I used to, I am still working full time after all. But I am happy to declare that I am BACK.
And I’m here to stay.
Thank you all for sticking around so long.