I want you guys to know me.
Like, the real me. The honest-to-god me.
I’m proud of a whole lot of the work I did in 2013, but the bits and pieces I’m not quite as proud of are the ones that strayed furthest from the core of who I am. I put a lot of work into shaping a slate of work for 2014 and beyond that speaks directly to me. I made a decision part of the way through this last year that I wasn’t going to take on any project that didn’t.
I feel more strongly about the work I’m doing right now than anything you’ve seen from me yet. These are stories that come directly from my heart. Stories where I bleed through on every page. Even in Batman: Eternal… The core theme at the heart of the story is something I struggle with constantly, and it’s guiding my hand as I keep writing my scripts. It’s even more apparent in the work I’ll be doing solo, most of which hasn’t been announced yet, but will be soon enough.
Like I said, I want you guys to know me.
When I first got into comics, there was a lot of housekeeping I had to do. I’m younger than a lot of the people in this industry. I was only a junior in High School when Facebook decided to open the service up to people outside of college. And going back even further were my livejournals, blogs, and various other websites that could trace my angst back to my middle school days. I deleted, or locked, every little trace of myself I’d ever let out there. I had made a pretty active decision to close myself off. I didn’t want readers to know the real me. I especially didn’t want people in the industry to know the real me.
I didn’t want people to realize how young I was (Only 24 at the publication of Batman #8). I didn’t want people to see my weird sense of humor, to think I was too immature to work in this field. I didn’t want people to see my struggles with depression and obesity laid out in full for them to judge me before I could start telling the stories I wanted to tell.
But a funny thing happens when you close yourself off from everybody. You start closing yourself off from yourself. You start to lose your core. If you’re worried about what everyone’s going to think about you and your work, you’re not going to spend the time you need to spend to make sure that work is coming directly from the heart.
So here’s the big thing that I wanted to say.
I’ve never been a big fan of that word, or at least I’ve never really felt a real connection to it, but Queer never felt right either, so I’ll stick with Bi for now. I think part of the problem I still have with the word is how misunderstood it all still is. A lot of gay men view it as me having one step stuck back in the closet, and a lot of women view it as me having one step out of the closet.
My story in short - First came out as Bi in middle school. It didn’t go well. Like really not well (Middle Schoolers are mostly evil, by the way). I changed schools for High School to an All-Guys Catholic school, where I started identifying as Gay. Found some amazing friends and fell a little bit in love with all of them at one point or another. I helped start our school’s first support group for Gay Students, and battled our small-minded principal to try and make it public. Graduated, and went to a super LGBT friendly college, Sarah Lawrence, which has a predominantly female population. Fell in love with a lady for the first time since middle school. Had a massive identity crisis when I realized that I wasn’t actually gay, and that the original prognosis of “Bi” was still the accurate one. Fast forward about 6 years, and here I am.
Having had to come out on a wide scale a total of three times before, I really didn’t expect to have to do it again, but that’s my own fault. The last few years I’ve let myself close up around the subject. I’ve mostly dated women in that period, so it’s been incredibly easy just to let people think I’m straight. But that’s not who I am. I realize a lot of you might not realize why I’m saying anything, because I mean, in the grand scheme of things this doesn’t matter all that much. But to me it does. When everyone around you just makes an assumption about your core being that’s wrong, and you deliberately perpetuate it because you’re afraid what might happen if you don’t. It’s a weight that keeps dragging you down and down and down. You start to feel like a liar. You start to feel like nobody around you knows the real you.
And now we’re entering 2014, and I want you guys to know me. The real me. The honest-to-god me.
I have all sorts of goals for this year… In 2012 I lost 80 pounds, and then spent most of this year not really following up on that, so in 2014 I want to lose the final 50 pounds and hit the goal weight I know I can hit. I want to build some nice muscles while I’m at it, too. I want to travel a lot, inside this country and out. I want my team to win another season of bar trivia. I want to have real adventures and try crazy things that make me feel ludicrously uncomfortable just to properly experience life. I want to read amazing, incredible comics that I’ve never heard of before. I want to make mistakes and learn amazing lessons from them that I’ll keep with me my entire life. I want each and every script I write to be better than the last. I want to start really digging into my insecurities on the page and write honest comics in all sorts of genres. I want to find a karaoke bar that has BOTH “Poor Unfortunate Souls” AND “Be Prepared,” not just one or the other. I want to meet some super cool people, and hopefully kiss a few of them.
I want 2014 to be amazing, and I think it really can be, and I wanted to start it out right, because you’re all the people I’m going to be spending this year with, and I love all of you. And I want you to know me.
Happy New Years
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