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Yeahh I was just there last week for other reasons but did some browsing. It's a good suggestion for bigger places with bigger libraries! But unfortunately this one's a small library in a small town so not a whole lot of selection, no manga, no comics, not many DVDs and the only club / meetup type things they do is children's hour once a week and I think some Bible study thing. :[ My transportation is limited too, so going to the next closest thing to check (an hour drive away at least) is kind of out of the question. The thought was appreciated though :)

Oh, I know. I'm not asking you to to take that on too, just thought I'd mention it since it'd be a cool thing to see if enough were interested at some point. My cap is around ~7GB/mo but I get a little less than 6 to myself and that gets used before the month is over with as it is without watching many short videos. But hey, maybe anime club will stick around a while and I'll be able to get in on it later on :P

I love the idea of something like this, except because of my data restrictions and lack of time to sit through episodes I can't really do videos. I was actually looking around once I found #animeclub to see if there was one here for manga as well, but unfortunately found naught. Something like that would have been less data consumption for me, but I know this is kind of a unique problem in a world where pretty much everyone has real internet by now. Just a thought coming from someone 'newer' to anime and manga :)

gingeraiyle  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The last true hermit

This was wonderful. And relatable to an extent, for me. I have experienced the effects of being essentially isolated from -most- people, and I have been at that point where I just didn't want to even be around them. I don't like speaking either, it's harder for me to put the words I need together to express myself the way I mean to verbally. So I could easily see how you could transition from something like that to actually not wanting to ever have anything to do with people if you were to get that kind of freedom from.. society. Still, though, he relied on the very people he wanted nothing to do with. So maybe it's not really total freedom in that sense. But I can appreciate his wanting to just be left alone in the end.

gingeraiyle  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Watercolor Portrait I made

I like how the eyes look kind of tired and pained here; I think it fits well with what you were thinking at the time you created it :)

Wow, how.. cool. o.o Even when the part came about how many windows were in the house I couldn't do it without taking a quick mental tour to count them. I never even thought of the possibility that someone just -couldn't- visualize, no one had ever expressed having that problem. Makes me wonder what it would be like to just "know the facts" as one had put it. Interesting read, thanks!

gingeraiyle  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Life and growing up

I'm glad to hear that at least through this experience you've learned something and grown from it, even though it was a rough one to go through. Sometimes it just takes having to experience something for yourself before you can fully understand it the way someone who already deals with it would. I'm also glad you're not feeling so lost anymore, it's quite unpleasant to feel like you don't really know your place or where you're going anymore.

I'm very much aware of that hell - I've had anxiety and depression for almost as long as I can remember. Sometimes you get to a point where you don't -remember- that you have any family or friends who care about you. You don't think straight because your head is full of all the wrong you don't feel like you can make right. For me, hopelessness and self-loathing are common visitors. I expect a lot of myself because I have always felt a lot was expected of me, and in my own eyes I have failed. A lot. And failure is not something I handle well.

Growing up.. I guess my family was pretty normal for where I was when I was younger. Southern US, Christian husband and wife with two kids and a dog. But then my parents got divorced when my sister and I were still young, my dad (also has depression, runs in the family on his side) talked like we would never see him again and it scared us. Stopped taking his meds for a while and he became really irritable and strict. There was a lot of custody fighting going on from the time I was 8 until pretty much the end of middle school. My mom was moving around a lot and jumping from guy to guy, judge found her unfit because of that stuff. But my sister didn't want to leave my mom and I didn't want to leave my sister, so we were actually back and forth between my mom and dad until my mom started leaving us during her week at my grandmother's while she moved off to some other state to be with some man. From that point my mother and I never had a real relationship, but she had my sister wrapped around her finger.

Dad was very strict on me because I was the older one, he got a little rough with the spankings when he was off his meds and sometimes didn't realize his own strength. I was expected to get at a minimum As and Bs but still got a bad look if too many of them were Bs. I got spankings and groundings for Cs. I was afraid of what would happen if I ever failed anything.

I wasn't allowed to really interact with friends outside of school, couldn't do sleepovers or parties or anything. Dad didn't feel it would be right to be a single man with a bunch of little girls in the house, and was protective of my sister and me so even in high school the one time I got to go to a friend's house he had to meet her parents first.

Anyway, I kind of developed into this shy, "don't speak unless you're spoken to", "do as you're told the first time", kid that was afraid of failing or doing anything wrong that could make someone judge me as a bad person I guess. And it got worse as I got older and started feeling the depression I was so lucky to have inherited. As a teenager I had maybe 5 friends, I almost never talked and only had like one friend I could actually goof around and be myself with. I liked video games and drawing stuff, I kept to myself, I studied and made good grades. I bottled a -lot-. I felt like I had a set of guidelines I had to follow to be a good kid or a good daughter and if anyone knew I strayed outside of that too far I was a lost cause, if that makes sense.

So when I started to realize that I wasn't 100% heterosexual.. Or when I questioned religion or faith/spirituality, whatever you want to go with, that I had been taught as a small child.. I couldn't tell them. In fact to this day the only people who I have actually felt safe with telling that I've ever had feelings for other women have been the ones I never met in person, save for one friend I lost touch with after high school. I know that shouldn't be something you feel like you should have to hide, but I don't feel I'm in a position that it would be safe for me not to.

There's a lot more left out as with any of these kinds of stories, but my main point is that I feel like I learned a lot about how very -not- black and white the world is -because- of my experiences growing up and feeling like I'd had to hold back so much just to be considered acceptable to my family (or in some cases to avoid getting targeted with snide remarks and gestures and having to just deal with it every day). I learned to respect the differences in people, to try my best to understand them instead of judging them based on what I think I already know, or what I see.. That what you see and what you think you know are only a tiny fraction of what makes up the person you're judging. No friends even really knew I was depressed until I was in my late teens. I was just the quiet girl that kept to herself, made good grades, played video games instead of going out with friends and obviously didn't think too highly of herself but otherwise was 'fine'. It became extremely easy to empathize with people who were in pain emotionally or going through some kind of hardship (sometimes a blessing, other times a curse). The people I did get closer to saw me as a good listener and a safe person to come and vent to because they knew I wouldn't judge them or start telling them where they're wrong, how wrong they are, what to do to fix it and so on. Because I understood sometimes people just need someone to sit there and let you wordvomit at them until you can't anymore just for you to feel better that someone else knows :P Because I know that need all too well, if I haven't made that blatantly obvious already hah.

Anyway, it's been a rough experience but I wouldn't take back the good it has given me. It's been so hard to find someone to discuss this kind of thing with, or to find people who think the way I do around here. Sometimes I feel like I might as well be trying to quote a dictionary to a drooling 2 year old, it just.. Does not compute. Too many paper people who think of little else but the small talk and going through the daily motions. I dunno, sometimes around here I feel like I'm the only one who ever thinks about the "what ifs" and wonders about things that whether I knew for certain or not would have little to no effect on my financial situation (or something superficial like that). I'm well aware I overthink a lot, but honestly I'd rather be like that than what seems more like a blank page or a programmed robot. Y'know? I may not be making sense anymore at this point, it's after midnight here now so I should probably just let this be the awkwardly cut-off ending. :P

I guess if I'm being honest the first thing that comes to mind for me when I think about darkness is mental illness/disorder. Specifically for me, depression and social anxiety - actually, at the first visit I finally was able to make to a mental health counseling center I was told it sounded more like agoraphobia than anything else. All I know is that what I experience on a daily basis is beyond the point of just being an introvert, or just being shy. It's a thing where I am actually afraid to be physically around other people, to be seen or heard verbally, to interact at all really with anyone that I don't do so with on a regular basis. I've always been this way to some extent, but never so much as I have become.

Over the last few years, circumstances have changed for me a lot with location changes, relationship and financial related things, and it's all piled on top of the problem. I lost touch completely with what few closer friends I had in my hometown when I moved several states away. I became basically isolated where I was, and I felt stuck. The one person I thought I could trust with everything had let the facade drop, and I felt like I had no one. To keep it from getting too lengthy, I finally got out of the situation and returned to stay with my father a little over a year ago. But I was like an empty shell of myself, and things never really improved much.

I lost interest in.. pretty much everything I ever cared about. The only things that could somewhat provide a distraction were video games and a little artsy type stuff. People get frustrated with you when you're a 20 something girl with no job stuck at home playing video games and drawing pictures. And it hurts like hell, because I would give anything to have the confidence and self-esteem people seem to think I should have .. To be able to do the things that most normal people have no problem with doing every day. To not feel completely alone 90% of the time.

So it came to this point where all I really felt comfortable with as far as interacting with other people was to do so through guilds in the games I played or maybe forums.. Until it became a chore even to do that anymore. Because people behind their keyboards are still people. And people can be judgmental and hateful sometimes, even when it's "just a game". (And guilds started utilizing their VoIP services more and ignoring the guild chatters so that sucked for me and others like me.) Then when I found Reddit... That kind of hindered it even more for me, I think, just because I saw some of the people that I agreed with or empathized with getting shot down with the downvotes - hidden under a mountain of cat pictures, dad jokes, and NSFWs. >.> Granted, cat pictures and dad jokes are great, but.. Well, you get my point.

I got desperate after a while for someone to talk to. Loneliness and isolation take a toll on you. Had no idea where to go for this and knew I couldn't really afford a therapist at this point. I won't go into great detail, but just as a suggestion - Reddit is probably not the best place to go and post this kind of thing if the title format asks you to include your age and gender. Many pms from mostly males, light sexual harrassment included. I think out of a hundred or so pms I found one decent person to talk to for a little while, but I lost internet connection for a while and he lived in Brazil. Super lucky with these things, yes I am.

Anyway, so the good part to all this. (I really did not intend to make this a text wall of woe when I started, seems to have turned out that way anyway though. Apologies.) How do I push it back?

Like I said.. I'm into artsy stuff. Have been since I was a kid. I never thought I was all that good at it, maybe just mediocre at best and I've never had formal training aside from the required art classes in middle/high school. But apparently some people have seen some of my things and liked it. Told me I should be doing something with it. I felt like crap because I didn't think I could, or that it would be good enough.

This chance meeting happened between a relative and this couple in another town, who just happened to have written a children's book and had been looking for an illustrator. The relative told them about me, took their e-mail and said they'd have me write them. It was the first thing that I had actually had a good feeling about in a long time, like when I was told about it some tiny spark started to flicker inside me, and I knew I had to get in touch with them. I wrote them that night..

And then my internet went out for a week.

I spent the whole week being nervous and afraid they would find someone else. Not even kidding. They had been looking for months and months and hadn't found anyone, it was just my luck they would end up finding another person to do it during the one week that my internet was out. This is how my mind is working right now. I know. The sense, there is none to be had.

Anyway, after that week passed I checked my email and they had given me their number to call them (which I freaked out about because again, I don't normally talk to people, but I did it). I called. I was nervous. I explained the nervousness/anxiety. They were extremely sweet. They see some of my drawings and like the style. They want me to do the project. We get off the phone and I cry for like an hour out of the overload of nervousness and gratitude. It was a good day.

It's been a month now I've been working on this project, and it honestly has helped me in a way I never would have thought possible. It keeps me busy. My thoughts are focused on getting the next page sketched and setting small deadlines for myself to have x amount done this week. I'm still mostly alone but I feel it less. I get excited when I'm finished with a page and it's come out the way I saw it in my head - and I don't normally get excited. I went to lunch with my sister the other day and afterward she tells me that I look somehow happier than usual, like she can see -me- peeking out of that shell a little. And even if that's only the tiniest scoot in a good direction, I'm okay with that because that felt good to hear.

So.. Yeah I would say my dark has been pushed back a little. It's being stubborn about it, mind you, but it's slowly inching back. I'm drawing something every day now, even if it's not specifically for the project. Even if it's not something I intend to finish, or even if it's not something I want anyone to see but myself. I listen to more upbeat music while I do it, because I know it helps my mood. The cheesier the better. Seriously. Try listening to "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones or some 80's-esque synth pop and -not- smiling (either at the song, or at how badly you want to eyeroll) while doodling in a sketchbook. It's fun (wow, how long has it been since I used that word?), and for once right now I feel like things are starting to come together as they should be. It's made me -want- better for myself and helped me start to make some of those hard steps, even if I struggle to do so.