anxiety attacks

You might have noticed I haven't been blogging much this year. And you might even have been curious about why.

A few reasons:

First, the very small measure of Internet fame I have (such as it is) is difficult to adjust to. Some things have happened that made me quite leery of posting much of anything. Not like I was exactly hiding under my desk or anything, but every time I'd think of something to write about, a voice inside my head said, Are you really sure you ought to, given X and Y? and I'd reply: Yeah, probably best not to.

For starters, the Weirdly Persistent Fan seriously creeped me out. While it's great to have fans of my art, I'd prefer that fans of my art, in the future, refrain from mentioning my breasts. Not that I'm a prude; it's just seriously disconcerting when I don't expect it. So let me make this excruciatingly clear:

The only people I want to have conversations about my breasts with are: 1-my ob/gyn; 2-the lovely woman who fits me for my custom bras; and 3-anyone I happen to be naked with. Maybe with 4-my close women friends, if the subject comes up. Notice how 'person masquerading as a potential client' is not in any of those four categories.

Are we all clear on this now?


I also suspect that my marked increase in Twitter followers is solely because some prominent Twitterers follow me. Seriously, kids, I'm not that interesting and am having problems being witty enough to live up to their standards. Also, you probably ought to read the Fry Standards for Twitter, as well as my Best Internet Acquaintance's post on the subject. [Modify as needed, as I don't have an agent or anywhere near that amount of fame.]

The second reason: work has been hell. People at Saltmine U are incredibly nervous about their jobs. People are being asked to retire, there's talk of layoffs, and generally, people are scared. And scared, stressed people are not at their best. Which generates Drama with a capital D. Wading through all of that each week has been… well, less than fun.

Reason the third: speaking of Drama, a lot's been going on in my personal life, all around me. I've been trying to keep my head up, maintain my integrity, and navigate some seriously treacherous waters. I'll say only this: it's hard to find genuine people in LA, and that gets exponentially harder when in Hollywood. Oy.

The last, and most overwhelming reason: I've been working through some massive anxiety attacks about my writing and art. And my design. And whether or not I'm a good art director and boss. I've always been prone to a fairly normal level of creative anxiety that goes with being an overachiever and perfectionist, but now it's bad. Horribly bad. All-I-can-do-to-pick-up-and-clean-my-brushes bad. In an email this morning, I wrote:

I also worry every single day. I worry that my writing sucks. I worry that my paintings suck. I worry that my designs suck; I worry that I'm a bad art director and bad boss. I worry that I'm not a real artist or a real writer or a real designer, and no matter how much external validation I get, it never stops me worrying for longer than a couple of days. I am so fucking lame that way. The rare times I do mention the awards I've won or the things I've published, or who I've done art for, I immediately feel like a bragging jerk for even bringing them up.

I feel like if I were a real artist, I'd be doing nothing but art. Or if I were a real writer, I'd be doing nothing but writing. Or if I were a real art director, I'd be working for a glamourous ad agency, not [redacted]. While most of my friends are creative people, none of them do more than one creative thing for a living, and it makes me feel really alone in this weird way that I can't quite explain. It's like having all the normal worries about being good at your art, and they can relate to me on that front… but then there's also the worries about not being really good at much of anything because I do a few different kinds of art, and they just don't get that.

Which is true; they don't get it. Instead, I get long, well-intended speeches about how lucky I am to be so talented at more than one thing. Then I feel like I'm just whinging like a spoiled brat about the horrors and strain of being able to do more than one thing, and resolve to never mention it ever again. Not exactly helpful.

I'm managing to still produce what I need to, and meet deadlines, but it's a Herculean effort. Between my anxiety, and being drained from dealing with Drama, and Weirdly Persistent Fan, and talking people at work down off ledges… I'm so exhausted creatively that mustering up the creative wherewithal to write witty posts is beyond me.

Besides, I can barely manage the witty Tweets.

After I wrote that email this morning, though, I realized that those four reasons weren't really enough to let them keep on stopping me, and I should really just get the hell out of my own way…

…and get back to this metric butt-ton of pretty trash I need to make.