Trust Your Wings
Oh man, what a week.
I don't often talk about the emotional roller coaster being an artist is. To put your heart into something, show it to the world and (with the help of social media) get an instantaneous response back is, to say the least, very nerve-wracking.
In the beginning of creating Jetlagged, I suffered self-doubt and anxiety pretty much daily. Over time, I thought I'd grow thick reptilian skin, but it's more like a thin veneer. I'm sensitive. It's not to say my cartoons don't get a good response almost all the time. I never aim to offend anyone and try to keep things light and goofy (the angry, "shaming humor" industry is over crowded. I don't want to be apart of it). Although my aim is to just make people laugh, there are those who's purpose in life is to try and make yours miserable.
I recently had the pleasure of encountering once such individual who was trolling my Instagram account, then went as far as to email me some nasty opinions of my work (none of which were constructive. Hey, I can take criticism!). I played it off humorously, not much I can do if they don't like my work, but it still stung. Damn! I let them get to me.
After a bit I came to realize that this was a good opportunity for me to "trust my wings", as the little inspirational painting in my office says (thank you Meara!).
A few more unfortunate things happened during the week (l lost some patrons and email subscribers) which started letting the self-doubt and anxiety back in. What am I doing wrong? What can I do better? Damn! I was letting everything get to me now.
But on I trudged, flying during the day, scribbling down ideas, working on improving the website, creating posts for social media, then drawing new cartoons at night before bed.
Then I got some messages. And they made me cry (hey, I said I was sensitive!)
The first was Tayla, a new $10 patron (right after I'd lost two others in a row) and she wrote a message on behalf of her mom, Diane. Diane has been a flight attendant for 37 years and just recently found my cartoons. She loves them, Tayla says. She said her mom would be overjoyed if I made a special card for her with her dog. I wrote back right away, flinging myself on the joy and love that was coming through my computer screen. Of course I would do this!
The card I made for Diane, Tayla's mom, with Remy the dog!
Then I got a message from The Wings Foundation, a non-profit organization from American Airlines that offers assistance to flight crews. They are celebrating 30 years and would I be interested in auctioning off a custom Jetlagged cartoon at their celebration this July? What an honor!
This was all so a humbling. And here I was, not days before, fuming over a grumpy troll, when lurking in the background where these amazing people.
It just goes to show that if you're in the "putting your heart on your sleeve" business like me, to always Trust Your Wings. Sometimes you just got to zip your coat up, put your hood on and push through the storm of self-doubt and anxiety.
There is always blue sky above the clouds.
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