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johncomic: (Sweets)
the satisfaction of performing diligently at my job - because, yes, there are times when I actually do that!  :P
johncomic: (Moss)
People who get me.


During this morning's in-the-car gab with Sharon, I was heard to utter the following sentence:

“This proves that I remain riddled with cultural conditioning, despite all my efforts to contend with it.”

And it suddenly came to the forefront of my awareness that the way I write and the way I talk are the same. (I suspect that many people don't realize this, especially those who give me a hard time about my auctorial quirks.)

And she just rolls with it.
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
religious discussion - enter at your own risk )

hmm

Nov. 20th, 2014 08:34 pm
johncomic: (Sweets)
Recent rumination has revealed to me that I am always hoping to impress other people. Always. Even people who have known me for decades, warts and all, I still keep trying to make a good impression on them.

It can be anything... showing people my work and hoping that this will strike them as an uncommon and remarkable thing for someone to do... doing a good turn and hoping that I will seem like "value added"... trying to find something from my own experience to add to any conversation, as if to say "look, I have a contribution to make".... even confessions like this, which make me seem introspective and self-aware and like A Guy Who Thinks About Things...

I feel like I always need to provide a reason to justify why I am here... that I will never be good enough and I can never stop. And I know this isn't right, but I'm not sure yet what I can do about it.
johncomic: (Steve the Pirate ani)
Is there a general impression that, if you've never heard of a place, that it must be some tiny hole-in-the-wall in the middle of nowhere?  Or does it only seem that way to me?

I got thinking about how I've heard of places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Minneapolis, and probably everyone else has heard of them, so we get the impression that they're Big and Important somehow.  And then I think about Mississauga.  I've never known an American who ever heard of Mississauga or knows where it is (without Googling it).  So I feel like this must “mean” that Mississauga is some tiny little nowhere, why would anyone have ever heard of it?

But Mississauga is twice as big as any of those American cities mentioned earlier.  However, I wouldn't have known that without looking it up.  I would've assumed that those American cites must be bigger because they're American and Important so they must be big.  I dunno, I find it kinda odd...
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
So many things, so much to enjoy, so much to love... I decided to settle on this:

I must admit that I am actually confronting a few ongoing problems these days. As recently as two years ago, these problems would be causing me anxiety -- I once sought out a therapist to help me deal with the stress of one of these problems. But today... I keep feeling that I love my life, I see these problems as things that I can cope with and ultimately won't matter so very much.

Today I am grateful that I have learned that I can be happy even while I am confronting difficulties. Maybe it only means that my problems are not really all that big and that I used to make a bigger deal out of them than they really were. In which case I am grateful to be able to keep my problems in perspective now. But either way, to have learned that you can be truly and deeply happy even when things aren't perfect -- this is a blessing.
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
I just checked, and it appears that my first gratitude post appeared on March 31, 2009.

Thinking about sutff today, I would say that I am happier with my life now than I was back when I was: younger, in better health and more energetic, and had more free time and fewer responsibilities than today. I also believe that I am now coping with my tendency to depression more effectively than I did even when I was on meds for it (and they were a major turning point for me, I would say those meds saved my life and made all the difference in the world for me). Objectively, I had more reasons to be happy in the past than I do now, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.

I find it tempting to attribute these improvements in my life to the gratitude posts. I realize that it could just be coincidence, and these changes could simply be a result of better perspective, experience, or whatnot. But I confess that I started doing the posts because I had read that this was an exercise that would make a noticeable improvement in your mind and in your life. I went into it hoping it would work, but not really sure that I believed it -- figured there was no harm in trying.

If things really are so different for me now on account of the gratitude, I will admit that I never dreamed they would make such a marked difference as this. Whatever the true explanation is, I find that I am in a good place in my life now and I do not take it for granted.

Thus endeth the sermon.
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
a valuable lesson learned as the result of an error )
johncomic: (Default)
There is now a Who's Who page up, with brief bios of the main characters in Space Kid!
johncomic: (Sweets)
...my recent post about self-talk and self-criticism:

why do we come down so hard on ourselves when we make a mistake? Or, more to the point, what do we really want at such a time?

My theory du jour is that, when we mess up, we want to not mess up again, and/or we want to do better next time. So why not just say that?

I've been making a conscious effort to do that over the last few yonks -- interestingly, it gets surprisingly easier to do, surprisingly fast. When I goof up, I don't call myself an idiot or suchlike, I say to myself “I hope I do that better next time” or “I hope I don't do that again”.

Two things I've noticed:
1) there has been a noticeable undercurrent of gentleness and peace in my life since I started being nicer to myself inside
2) I have not become more prone to making mistakes since I stopped punishing myself for them, it's not like my “performance” has “suffered”

Our world is full of cultures throughout space and time that believe that the way to prevent mistakes is to punish them when they happen and make them painful. Many of us got it from our parents, sibs, bosses... and internalized it along the way. And since this belief is so widespread, maybe it is the most effective way to improve performance. But such improvement occurs at the expense of our own peace and happiness. And yes, society is more interested in us performing effectively than in us being happy.

But when it's us dealing with ourselves, we have a right to value our happiness more, to treat ourselves lovingly.

I feel like I'm onto something here.
johncomic: (Sweets)
Had an interesting thought recently:

I did something -- don't even remember what, some minor goof-up -- and I was about to say something to myself along the lines of I am such a jerk or that probably made me look like a doof... but then suddenly said to myself I don't have to have an opinion on how my actions reflect on me.

I wasn't even sure where it came from, but I sat with it for a while. If I make a mistake, I don't have to decide that it makes me look bad. I don't have to make any sort of value judgment on myself. In fact, I might not even have to make a value judgment on what I did. I did something, there it is. And here I am.

I mean, I see other people make mistakes and I don't think Huh! You are a moron! or whatever. So why should I do it to myself? And I don't even need to worry if other people are thinking that I now look like a goof. If they're gonna think that, they will do so with or without my help. And most of the time, they won't bother thinking it anyway. And how much do I care about those who do think it?

I realized that judging myself [usually harshly] is a reflex that I have always done without thinking about it at all. But all of a sudden I saw that I can choose not to do it. I mean, if I insist on judging myself I still can. But I am gonna try giving it a miss for a while and see what happens.
johncomic: (Sweets)
Realizing that I have been happier and been doing better over the last couple of years, than I was over the decade or so when I was on antidepressants. The thing is, the drugs helped me a lot and by comparison I was doing so much better on them than I had been before.

But then to go off them and find that I can live even better than that -- that's kinda swell!

NOTE: the improvement didn't happen as soon as I quit the meds -- I've been off them for about eight or nine years now. In all honesty, the noticeable improvement in my life happened a while after I started writing these entries. That has been one of the biggest life-changing things I have ever done.
johncomic: (Stephen Fry)
I have always believed that learning to question assumptions -- including one's own -- is one of life's most valuable skills.
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
Since I'm slower than most, I'm still in year-end wrap-up mode, and today I am grateful for a year that ended particularly well.

At the beginning of 2010, we still owned our old house as well as our new one, and by my estimate the old one was costing us over $1000 a month [which for us is A Lot] in taxes and bills and fees, while we waited for the crash of '08 to abate enough to revive the housing market here. I had not taken a Proper Pen® and drawn a Proper Comic® in several years. I had never travelled outside of North America. And I was driving a [nearly-]20-year-old car which was growing progressively crankier and negatively impacting my life, but which I couldn't afford to replace.

As I write this, all that has changed for the better. That's a lot of major improvements in my life to all fit into one year!

On top of all that, 2010 brought some spiritual benefits as well, as I sorted a few personal things out and came to somewhat better terms with my world and my place in it. I feel more settled and wiser now than I did a year ago [kinda like Uncle Old Guy!]

If 2011 brings nothing more than a maintenance of today's status quo, I will be deliriously content. I am very happy with where I am right now.

(Yes, this is really me!)
johncomic: (Default)
Over the weekend I drew finished pencils for the first two pages. (Sorry, haven't worked up the gumption to ink yet. Still, these are the first good pages I've done in years -- as I've said too often by now I know -- but I find this kinda exciting.)

So far they're turning out pretty good, and once I got a panel or two done I suddenly felt much more comfortable, as though a lotta rust suddenly got worked out in a jolt or whatnot. Very cool.

Another thing I noticed: I find myself wanting to try tricks that I've seen other artists do, and I can't always make them work. Example: faced with drawing a panel of a room full of people, I found myself thinking, Tezuka would draw more people in the background and make it really crowded... but when I tried that, it looked so cluttered that nothing was clear. So I trimmed back the background detail to what I would normally do, and it was easier to see clearly. And it made me realize that, for better or worse, I still see and visualize and draw like myself: I can't suddenly become someone else. A rather humbling lesson...

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