I'm going to begin this post with one, and only one scribble that I worked on last stream. It's of Hanneskun's OC Claudine, whom I love and want to see more comics about!
Bonus megane enby from another earlier stream that I never got around to posting.
And if you're just here for my scribbles, this is where you can stop reading.
This is going to be a bit of a long post, and for that, I'm sorry. These thoughts are not well-organized, and more just a means of me putting thoughts down to paper. They are not written to anybody in particular, and as such require no audience.
I just need to clear my head a bit. This blog has traditionally been a place where I felt comfortable posting and even sharing my thoughts in the past. There are two topics I want to cover, and neither is particularly interesting but writing this down will help ease my mind to some extent.
I don't like attention. It seems like such a stupid thing to say when I use social media such as twitter, but what I mean specifically is that I don't want attention as a person.
I get great joy reading messages from people who let me know they enjoy the drawings I've made, and how much it means to them. It's a huge (probably the largest) component in what encourages me to continue drawing. I get a bit uncomfortable when the praise falls onto me, the artist. In many ways I do not feel I deserve it, people don't know me, and I don't feel like I am a good enough person to recieve such kind words.
I have spoken about it in private with only one person before, a stream viewer who reached out to contact me personally (I'm not going to mention your name out of respect for your privacy).
Both my stream and this blog act as a sort of "release" for me, in the sense that I can draw, talk to people and share my thoughts. Somewhere along the line I realized I had become more reclusive of a person, afraid to really open up to anyone, and thus unable to really form any meaningful connection. This is largely due to me holding a very low opinion of myself, I don't want people to know or think about me. If I can produce art that people enjoy or find meaningful to them, that is enough for me.
When I feel I'm getting too much attention I tend to become quite stressed out, as if people are judging me. This is despite the fact that every interaction I've had with people has been nothing but positive. The irony is that every single person who has DM'd me or sent me a message has been incredibly warm and supportive, but it only makes me feel like I don't deserve that kindness.
This blog has always been important to me because I always felt like at most there were 5 people reading it, one of them being myself. It helped ease the pressure of posting, because even if I uploaded some terrible scribble, it was a scribble I made and I was happy to post it in my journal. It always felt like, if you were reading my blog you were here because you knew me as a person, someone more than just the artist who shared stuff on pixiv, or twitter.
Being able to talk and interact with people on stream is something I don't think I'll ever be able to describe properly. It's an incredibly precious thing to me. All the silly conversations people had, xeni sneaking bananas into pictures, naemi's beautiful and haunting poetry, and the overwhelming support I've been blessed enough to receive. Those moments are like precious gems to me, and it's also why I stopped recording my VODs. I enjoyed being able to experience that moment as exactly that, a moment. Nothing to look back on, because looking back would mean looking at myself, and I really hate to do that.
I want to reiterate, I am grateful beyond words for the kindness I have been shown, but as much as possible I do not wish for people to think about me. I am so uncomfortable with who I am as a person, and every day I am working on trying to be in a better place. I am not there yet, and I'm sorry for sounding so ungrateful. I just really don't feel comfortable with people praising me, I really don't deserve it. I'm happy if we can be happy together, and hopefully in the future I'll be in a better place where I'm more confident in myself.
So my second topic is one that has been personally deeply upsetting. I know I'm acting emotionally, but I don't have any friends I can talk to about this. Ultimately, this blog feels like the most comfortable place to vent my thoughts.
In my loneliness, I searched for a new discord to join and maybe meet some people to get along with. Initially I looked towards Animal Crossing-related servers because I am super excited for New Horizons releasing next year. Unfortunately I found that the smaller, cosy servers I joined were filled with 14-20 year olds, and while I feel there is nothing wrong with that, I felt a bit out of place, like I would be intruding on their space by being so much older. So I left.
I think ultimately I am just looking for people to connect with. Loneliness is a terrible thing, I don't think humans were ever meant to be alone.
I joined a few scanlation discords (for manga that I enjoyed reading) but since there was no centralized topic it felt difficult even just chatting normally.
I ended up looking into a few trans discord servers, but unfortunately most seemed to be largely fetishizing trans people in with crossdressers and femboys. Luckily, found one that looked like it might not only be welcoming, but even a good fit. A server made by an artist who also drew an anime-styled openly trans character! And not just any trans character, but probably the most iconic one for the trans community, long before I had drawn my characters. I was excited about perhaps getting to talk with the artist and just ask the questions I had about drawing positive trans representation within the anime medium.
From here on out I won't name servers or people, because I feel it is in bad taste to speak ill of people publically.
When I joined, I searched "paxiti" out of curiosity because I was interested in seeing if my art had ever actually directly reached the communities I created them for.
I really, really wish that I hadn't searched it, and if there was one regret I had in all of this, it's that I searched my own handle. I wish I hadn't read what the artist who was the very reason I picked the server to join was saying about me publically.
I can handle people who hate lgbt+ content sending me their awful messages. I've read enough messages saying that if they ever met me in person they would kill me, or that I should die. I've seen my images edited with nazi imagery, or altered in other ways. I have been on the internet long enough for this to not matter to me.
But what really sucks, and what really hurts, is when people who I really respect can say such negative things of me. It's not that they dislike me that bothers me, because I feel everybody is free to their opinion. You don't have to like me, I know I'm not a person who should be looked up to to begin with. It's the fact you hate me for reasons that are not true.
I have censored names, but left the conversation in-tact. The gaps in the screenshots are when other people were talking about unrelated topics.
I would just like to interject here to mention I have never once said the character is not trans.
This particular comment hurt to read, but I can understand it. I have drawn things in the past which do not bode well for what the artist's personal beliefs could be, the biggest being the "trapped" 4koma that I made back in September of 2017. With that said, I do not personally know Astolfo's gender, as it has never been explicity mentioned in the cannonical works. While I understand this could largely be due to the creator's lack of understanding with trans issues, I also believe there remains the option that Astolfo is Non-Binary, or even just a Gender-non-conforming male. There is no problem with any of those options. No matter what Astolfo is, I don't think that is for me to decide. If other people want to Headcanon astolfo as a trans woman, that's fine too. Trans representation within anime is so limited, so it makes complete sense for people to see it in characters where all the signs are visible, despite it not being explicitly mentioned.
The one regret I have with that 4koma is my usage of the term "trapped" for the title. Regardless, I have left it up all this time because I think it's important not to pretend like it didn't happen. To the me who drew that 4koma at the time, that term was the most commonly accepted term to refer to otokonoko characters, at least within the wider anime community, which was where I was coming from. This is not an excuse, but rather an explaination. I fully accept anyone being upset at me for making it, I was wrong and if I could turn back the clock I wouldn't have done it. Reading more into it, and learning how harmful it was to trans people was enough of a reason for me to stop using the term. I believe people can change, and maybe it's not enough for you, but I am trying to be a better person.
Again, I really dislike how something that I never even said is being used as a sword against me. I have not once said the trans flag does not represent trans people. Where are you getting this from? Why are you so okay with attacking someone when your information isn't even in the realms of being correct?
To add a bit to this point, why is it that you feel people/characters who are not openly trans are not allowed to express affection for the trans community? I mean, in this case the character is clearly trans, but what of those who are still not out yet? Are these people not allowed to wear the colours? Is it only after you have declared to the world "I AM TRANS" that you be allowed to wear the trans pride colours?
The quote here seems to be strongly mis-remembered. Here is the actual quote, for reference (from this post):
I was not "disappointed and disgusted" with the trans community. I was hurt, because in some of the comments I read I saw how other people were hurt by the belief that it had been written by an author who considered the characters crossdressers, which was false. But it still hurt to see something I made cause such distress to the very people I had wanted to properly represent.
And, since the intent behind said message was so wildly mis-interpreted, I feel the need to clarify and re-iterate said statement. To me, people within the trans community, having exeperienced and endured so much ridicule and hate from people deciding what they could and couldn't be, had a much more heightened sense of when such a thing occurs in general.
I really began to doubt my approach when I read some comments within the trans community that were discussing how disgusting it was that the author called the characters crossdressers (which was not true, but because the story had been labeled on other sites as such, and shared around with messages attached) or felt like because I didn't explicitly mention their gender right on page 1 (which again, I did but only one person actually picked up on it) that it was bad. I feel it has become incredibly difficult for me to draw characters who divert anywhere else without having to make sure I include a giant, flashing sign to let people know said character is trans (which you can see reflected in a character design who literally has the colours for her hair).
I understand that twitter is not always the best place for nuance, and I am even proud of of the characters I designed with the colours in their hair. But what I wished people would understand was that that comic was written with an audience of people who ARE NOT familiar with trans issues in mind, and my intent was to try and write it in a way where by the end perhaps they would have an idea of what it was like to be trans, even if only in a small way. Lessons are best learnt when the person is allowed to have that moment of realization themselves, at least this is my belief. It does not mean they can't be educted, but for me, a lot of the times education means more than just telling them the answer. Helping people to understand how one arrives at something is equally as important as knowing what the destination is.
I can understand this disagreement. I have had very long conversations in the past with some friends about my decision to not specify certain things. I have recieved many comments asking the gender/pronouns of my characters, and even more asking me personally what I am. I will not answer this, and nobody will make me answer this until I am comfortable doing so.
What is it that you want from me? I am not you. I am certainly not as confident, or even strong as you are. There are things I can do, and am actively trying to do. I would like my art to bring happiness to those who choose to view it. I am trying to make sure that my images have positive trans representation, because I have seen first-hand just how important it has been for some people. I am working on being a stronger person. Why is it okay for you to fault me for not being at your level? You own a server with over a thousand people in it, many of whom are your fans. I don't have that connection, and believe it or not, I am not that well connected in terms of my links with the trans community.
I am lucky to have a small number of incredibly warm and kind trans viewers who on occassion tune into my stream, and I greatly enjoy my conversations with them. I am trying to reach out to some trans artists I really admire (like hanneskun) online so I can learn from them, this is also the very reason I joined your server. I want to break out of my shell and meet people, to better understand things and have a wider perspective.
But I don't see why you think that I have this aura around me because I am a "popular artist". I don't feel like one, all the artists I used to know are much more popular than me. Even most of the Japanese artists I know are far more popular. Who gets to decide this? Am I supposed to tell people what to think, and use my numbers to enforce the idea that my message is correct? I do not feel confident that I have all the answers, and I never want to tell people what they should think.
I really, REALLY don't understand why you are like this. I have not once claimed to speak for the trans community, or to guide or lead them. I am in debt to said community, because they've helped me understand things about myself, and others. I am fortunate that every trans person who I have met has been nothing short of an amazing person, filled with kindness and warmth. You are also a part of that community, yet you are projecting this false idea of who I am, and then judging me for that same false idea. Why is it okay for you to tear me down when you don't even know me at all?
I never met you, or spoke with you at all before. Yet I had a great amount of respect as you had produced things that I've seen help people who are going through incredibly difficult moments in their life. I don't know everything there is to know about you, what you've done or where you've been. But I know you're doing good things now, and that's enough for me. You don't know me either, you've never once spoken with me. You don't need to respect me, but why do you feel the need to speak so ill of me? I am sorry if my art is not up to par with your expectations, I am working as hard as I can to always try and be better. Why can't you allow me that, without saying something so negative?
I read in one of your other comments you passed off your condemnations as simply "critique", and while I am no stranger to criticisms, do you not realize you are criticising me on things that I have never claimed, or said? I know my art isn't perfect, and not all the ideas I've drawn are funny or respectful enough. I have a long way to go, this I know. But is there not a better way to go about this, rather than slander?
There are many things I still don't know, and I am doing the best I can to try and draw in a way that is non-judgmental, and hopefully kind. And on the topic of judgment, I want to lastly address your concern with my balloon comic.
The ballooon comic was in-fact based almost word-for-word on a conversation I had with one of my closest friends. I am VERY careful with the dialogue of any comic I am writing, and the choice of words is very specifically intentional.
There is a reason the character says "but". There is a reason I did not write it as "I support you and you'll always be ██████ to me." The message of the comic is not "discard people if they don't immediately understand you." the message is "Don't be afraid to let go of people in your life who are never going to truly support you."
Whether you actually want to let them go or not is up to you. But you should not feel like you owe it to somebody to put up with their behaviour just because you are concerned about inconveniencing them.
While I agree that it is largely a beneficial thing for trans people to be patient and help others understand their feelings, I would like to disagree with you on one thing you mentioned. People who are trans are under no obligation to endure mistreatment and misgendering while still being required to politely and patiently educate the very people who are hurting them. It is a courtesy, one that many trans people will extend to those who are close with them. It is not something that should be expected, or demanded. The burden of trans acceptence does not lie solely with the trans community.
I am not surrounded by as trans-knowledgeable people as perhaps you are. Some friends I have known for years still struggle to understand things that most trans people would consider rudimentary. Despite this, I have persisted in trying to open a discourse with them, and perhaps get them to understand that while they may never know what it feels like, the least they could do is not judge people poorly for something that already brings them so much suffering. I have caught flak for this in my own, private circle of friends. Some of the trans-related things I have drawn make them uncomfortable, or make jokes about me for. It is incredibly demoralizing, and a huge reason why some of the positive comments I have recieved online are so important and precious to me.
If you ever do read this, the artist who wrote most of the complaints, I want you to know that I really think you did a good thing in creating the character you did, and fostering the community you have. It was a huge reason I wanted to join and participate, in the hopes of meeting people like yourself who I felt on some level I had a connection to, both being artists who drew anime-styled trans characters. I know now you do not share this sentiment, and that's okay too. If I'm being completely honest, it really hurts, but I accept that I am not on your level in terms of trans awareness.
Ultimately I wanted to make art that could bring some happiness to the people who read them. I know that won't always be possible, but I really was trying my best. I feel as though I am drowning under the weight of people's expectations. No artwork is perfect, but it feels like even when I really do try my best in creating art that people in the trans community can enjoy, there will always be other people in the same community who misinterpret it as derogatory, or do not believe I am doing enough.
I am not strong enough for this. I really can't take it. I have tried, I really did try. I know that might not be enough for you, but I can't handle much more. There are so many stories I wanted to tell, and things I wanted to write, but ultimately I do not feel confident, or capable enough to accomplish them. I'm sorry.