I want to let you guys into my world and into my mind for a second.

In some way or another, I’ve always suffered from anxiety, as far back as grade-school when I was afraid to stay home sick because, if nothing else, it broke my routine up until then (I’ve always had mild OCD too).  I didn’t even like grade-school, but it was all I knew and I didn’t have the fortitude until I was 18 to realize “I don’t have to stay in a bad situation if I don’t want to.  I can leave, start anew, and never look back.”

Despite this philosophy though, I rarely act on it because (and this will totally sound insane) I get paranoid when anything good happens to me.  Perhaps blame this on Catholic Guilt (and my parents never even took me to church, proving such a thing is genetic), but I always feel if I get too happy, too excited, or too proud about something, somehow it’s going to come crashing down around me.  So I stay in my bad situation.  Even if it’s not good, I know what to expect.  And I learn to be content in my little bubble of constant deference, self-loathing, self-hatred, spinelessness, need to please others when they’re not worth pleasing, and avoiding confrontation to the point where I never stand up for myself.

At least I know what to expect, right?  Stepping outside your box opens yourself up to the possibility of rejection and failure.  And if you fail a lot, especially in front of lots of people (your friends and loved ones especially), it’s hard to get back up and try again lest you epically face-plant hard on the pavement of life once again.  It happened to me in Minneapolis after college, and I spent close to three years in my parents’ basement licking my wounds.

Last December?  I had a lot on the line.  A huge promotion opportunity, a big show I was in, and a possible relationship, all within the same week.  It was a culmination of everything I had done in Portland up until that point.  I got happy.  I got excited.  THIS was going to be the game-changer!  The best week of my life!  I’m gonna do it and it’s gonna be great!

…It couldn’t have gone worse.  Promotion opportunity didn’t yield what I had hoped, pieces didn’t sell, and the relationship spectacularly crashed and burned.  I bottomed out.  I didn’t have anything in me anymore.  I came close to repeating Minneapolis again.

…But not this time.  I started getting counseling for my anxiety.  What else could I do?  The only other option was to lay in bed and waste away.  That being said, an external source to put perspective on my life certainly helped.  Lord knows I needed it.  I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore.  And concerning my art, I used to be stupidly prolific.  Now here I was questioning if I still had it in me.

I did find out definitely that I’m not clinically depressed, something I’ve wondered for a while.  My counselor feels I speak too passionately about subjects I’m interested in for that.  “You don’t seem depressed,” she explained.  “You’ve just had a lot of depressing stuff happen to you in a short time frame.”

Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

Gradually I started to feel better and start producing art again, bit by bit.  Then, something came out of nowhere not two weeks ago: a job I had applied for when I first arrived in Portland finally opened up.  I went in for an interview, and they hired me with no fanfare.  Hours I want, pay I want, location I want.  I start Monday.

…AND I was recently invited back to Oaks Park when they re-opened the park at the end of March.  When I asked the CEO if he was interested in me returning, he replied “Of course!  No question.”

…AND I’ve been approved for a table at C2E2, my favorite convention.  However, “Oh Goodie! Vol. 3” has been delayed until 2014, and I don’t have as many new prints as I would like.  At least for the moment.  It’ll take a lot of hard work in a short amount of time to properly rectify that.

…AND I have a gaggle of new commissions and projects I have lined up, which I can do now that I’ve paid off Devi for the computer she sold me.

In short, the stakes are high again like they were in December.  If anything, they’re higher in this instance.

But this time, I’m not fearing the worst.  I’m facing it head-on.  A lot of good stuff IS happening right now, and I refuse to feel guilty or afraid that something bad is going to happen.  For once, I’m going to be positive.  I’m going to get up, work hard, do my best, and see things through.

It’s either that or feeling sorry for myself again.

Forgive me if I’m not in a hurry to do that.