But one thing can be measured, for what it is worth: The Blog itself. If it keeps growing year by year and keeps getting traffic and at one time the Putin bots that now are my only regular visitors will be replaced by engaged human beings … then that is a yardstick for impact.
However crude and imperfect.
And I believe it is a better impact – given my experience, talent and skill – then I can give in this life as a social worker or a worker in a social justice organisation, paid or voluntary.
I will not say no to such positions if opportunity arises and it feels right.
But right now the point is moot, because it doesn’t really look like I can qualify for any meaningful position within the humanitarian organisations anymore, and as regards work for individual persons, e.g. as a helper for the disabled, I just don’t have that much to give anymore. I am not getting younger and the job is hard. And it doesn’t scale at all – so: Extremely limited impact.
But even if I could get a job in, say, Action Aid International I would still feel that The Blog is, as far as I can see right now, the best thing I can give to the world.
And that means that my drawing is free from that demand.
And good riddance.
I don’t need to change the world via drawing, or storytelling.
I just need to draw.
For a long time I thought I should only tell stories, including stories in drawing, that had some ‘higher purpose’ and would make ‘some difference’ in people’s lives. I no longer do that.
It would be nice, but I no longer think like that.
I have my web business and my temp work and a few other ideas, and maybe I can scrape some income from donations if I do videos of my drawing process and say something clever and witty while I do it. And maybe I can crowdfund some funds for graphic novel printing and do a talk live – or two – about my subjects. And earn an extra buck.
But I don’t have to live from it. I just have to do it. Every day.
Now, I don’t know of course if this kind of self-hate is the same as yours, in substance or in strength, but surely there is a familiarity.
Those feelings must spring from somewhere, and IMO it is very much the same source, so to speak. Something inside is broken and needs fixing. Medication can help but it has side-effects and it is NOT a cure. See a health professional about this, but make sure you see more than one.
What helped me was, to some extent, therapy but mostly therapy I trained myself to habituate – i.e. I learned how to think differently. All the time.
To stop the hateful thoughts and replace them with something else. Cognitive behavioral therapy, I believe it is called – and it was a self-made variation thereof I used, with some help from therapists.
But what I would really like to point out is that I did not seriously commit myself to this kind of therapy, including the 24/7 practice (which was the most important) before I realized, deeply, that my current status quo would lead to self-destruction.
You can fill in the blanks there … But I realized that I hurt myself and that ultimately it would not do me any good to continue.
Whatever it was inside me that apparently believed I would do something or other that I, well, needed by hating myself … that illusion was dispelled and I could finally seek help.
So other channels, yes – like blogging and YouTube … I know they can work for others, with regard to getting an audience, delivering value and making money. But I don’t know yet how and when they can work for me.
And I have so little time to invest in those channels, given my duties with regard to family and earning money here and now to pay bills. Via temp work. Because there are no savings. Only debt.
So it will be a while before this clarity can be tested to its fullest extent.
But at least I know what to test. That has not always been the case.
But I have given it a lot of thought, and as I wrote the other day – there really is no choice with regard to creativity either. I have to follow what I feel, first and foremost.
If I don’t work for someone else and if this is not to be my first source of income – or more specifically: It it cannot be that.
Then I just do my best and maybe I will never succeed in finishing something, not even that – because I, for some reason, cannot get the right mix of self-knowledge and adaptation to circumstances … can’t get that right.
I may move closer to a core of truth, like: I really want to do a scifi comic again – and finish it.
But I will never reach that truth before I die. And never finish anything.
That is theoretically possible, absurd as it may sound.
And so what?
Whatever choice my mother makes there will always be uncertainty for me, and probably for the rest of us as well. Chemo won’t kill that. The chances of her surviving until 80 or 75 or 85 aren’t really as important – really – as the quality of time that we spend together and the quality of time she makes for herself until she needs to leave this dimension … It is a choice of how to live best that does not really require an answer to how long we will live or whether or not my mother decides to have chemo or not.
It is a choice about how to empower and uplift and improve relations. And that is always something that should be in focus, although sadly it rarely is until the demand is great.
But I feel empowered even so. I feel encouraged thinking about all the things I can do to share some beauty and joy and power, no matter what turn events take.
If I do anything about it – and I’m not sure if and when … then it has to be video. My first product. In my webdesign business. And teaching on video. And talking on video.
Just like my historical live-talks, in a way, but with a less passionate subject.
But the medium is also my passion. And maybe that is enough this time.
But that Big Project – like writing a famous book or going to save the children in Africa somehow – is not for me. I feel other people can do these things better than I, especially because I have so little capital – financial, political, cultural when it comes to Africa. When it comes to famous books, I just don’t feel like that any longer. As I’ve already written about I know this motivation has been in me, for some reason, and it is deeply wrong.
And the list goes on. These are just two of the Big Things, I’ve chased and tried to do with my life and then not really done.
But maybe I don’t need to.
Maybe I just need to share all that I have learned.
Maybe I should just accept that – for whatever reason – the negative self-critic is still part of me. The part that says I have not achieved enough earning money or being famous. And then leave it at that and make my best efforts to move on and realize some of the purpose, like The Blog, or that charity project. Purpose that I know to be real and good for me, no discussion.
Once that realization is bigger and fills out much of the current vacuum then the voice should have less power.
So perhaps the voice addresses a true need after all. For I feel I am not doing enough to promote The Blog (as mentioned earlier) and I feel that is a problem.
I also miss doing something real for charity again, and preferably with Char. Or at least have some definite goal or vision for that part of our lives, instead of just focusing – as is difficult not to – on the daily problems and challenges, esp. with an infant son and irregular income.
So perhaps the voice is calling my attention to a true need, but it does so in the wrong way. It fills the actual vacuum of my life right now with calls to do something that is superficial.
I wish I could explain it better than a mere decision, but there it is.
It is, however, a decision matured. It has matured for a long time and it has to do with a realization of the futility of trying to sell out your present to insure your happiness in the future, so to speak.
Just as profound as the realization I had in 2006 which cured me of the deep and devastating anxiety that had gotten me into hospital: If I could never get better there was no point in hating and berating myself for certain thought and other matters, only in trying to make as much good time as possible to enjoy – during the minutes and hours I was not suffering.
Deep realizations followed up by definitive, all-encompassing action.
So I guess I have explained it better now, right?
Perhaps. But have I explained it enough for someone else to realize what they have to do to copy it?
Probably not in most cases. Besides, it is a state of mind that comes about not as a result of reading but as a result of experiencing, for a long time. Then a desire for change is cultivated in the soul.
But if I can aid that change, however little, I shall be satisfied.
Whatever work I do in the future, to earn a living, as long as it is not too dreary or filled with a majority of people I don’t resonate with … it is certainly work that will have to include and be done for … other people.
Actively. Face to face.
Not from a distance. Not always, at least.
This was another reminder. But I will take it to heart.
Perhaps it is smarter to do as I stated above and then try to create that situation now, which I want, and then expand it gradually as best I can – like a pool spilling over into the areas outside of the pool … or something.
Instead of pretending or imagining that I am in a desert thirsting and I have to try to reach a pool somewhere in the distance?
I have to imagine I have a small pool now and focusing on making that grow and spill over.
I already know his type (much like my former employer when I was in the health sector):
He is a man who deep down cares mostly if not exclusively about himself. You can give all sorts of reasons – my kid, my ability to make money with other clients, my health, etc.
He will try to make it seem like he cares and then he will make demands again, or shrug off any reasonable arguments from my side that he should not abuse my time. He has already done so on a number of occasions since February. So now I know what I am dealing with.
Including my own feelings, I guess. But that makes for a stronger ability to make choices in my favor.
respect or not for initiative and courage – I just don’t resonate well with people who are only in it for the money.
So in a way I’m glad this prospective client called and made it clear he had wasted my time.