Once again, it took me months to build up the courage to log into my Patreon account, and this morning I had an anxiety-induced stomach upset for a few hours before finally biting my lip and logging in. I have severe anxiety due to a deeply ingrained fear of rejection and abandonment. It has been an interesting experience observing my biological irrational reactions even though I intellectually processed everything logically a thousand times before hand. In the past few years I have made great strides with my psyche, but I have learnt that the body/brain is much slower to update itself to the progress the mind has made.
I feel a lot of guilt for not sending more updates here. It is related to my anxiety as well, because every time I send an update I feel like I spamming people, even though intellectually I may believe otherwise. It has come to a point that I think I am finally going to accept that this anxiety is not going to go away anytime soon. I can't consciously rearrange my neurons, neither can I will my body to stop feeling the crippling anxiety. So I want to do what I think is the right thing: to stop involving other people in my own personal struggles.
The personality required to be an indie creator
I have also come a long way since I have created this account. When I started this I wanted to believe I could make a reasonable living while doing what I love: making experiments and writing. I believed that getting 1,000 people to pay $1 so I can create and write for the public in peace without ever getting involved in corporate politics again was not an unreasonable dream. But after learning so much about myself I have realised I have neither the health, personality or the psyche to be a creator making a living through subscriptions. It takes a lot of self-promotion, and if you have been following my work long enough you will know I am almost allergic to anything that resembles self-promotion. Don't get me wrong, I don't think self-promotion is bad at all, I am just too socially anxious to do it. I thought it was something that I could overcome, or at least I could do it on my own terms. But my health kept failing, and I cannot upkeep any semblance of a creative momentum. My journey is full of stops and starts, nothing sustained.
Visible vs invisible support
I was also a person who deeply wanted and needed visible support. Each time a new patron arrives in my mailbox I felt an incredible burst of joy. Someone appreciates my work enough to pull out their credit card. I was so grateful, so soothed. The reverse was also true, knowing that someone left even if I knew they had good reasons or that I encouraged them to – made me feel like I have failed. The key word is, "feel", the deep sinking feeling in my stomach that has nothing to do with what I consciously believe.
Now. I think I have grown to become a person who is able to appreciate other forms of less visible support. I really love receiving comments on my blog or direct messages whenever someone is willing to take the time to write it. I also understand that my blog contains sensitive topics and there are people who have to silently click in to read without leaving an online imprint. I am getting better with creating into a vacuum with no potential feedback. I don't ever want to be in a state where I can only create if I get positive feedback. I believe where people choose to spend their attention does not equate to what is called to exist in this world.
I am grateful to be in a position where I can continue writing without worrying that it would affect my business or career. I want to continue to be free to write, make stuff, and advocate for safeguarding personal expressions and an indie web. As an extension, I want to be free to connect with all of you without worrying about the transactions that exist in a subscription-based relationship. I would like to skip the guilt and preserve the deep gratitude.
Again I would like to deeply thank all of you for accompanying on my lonely journey. Your pledges, your visible support was really, really important to me at a point of my life when I was deeply depressed and struggling with social alienation from leaving an old life. It is extremely difficult to consciously reject the mainstream narrative. I could no longer relate to most of my social circle, or perhaps they could no longer relate to me. It exacerbated my fear of rejection and abandonment though I was the one who chose it. Yet your pledges made me feel like at the very least, there was some human beings no matter how small the number was, who could understand and support what I was trying to do.
What is next for this account
I am going to pause the billing cycle for this month while I figure out if there is a way to pause this permanently without incurring further charges. Being an archivist I am hoping not to unpublish this creator page because it contains my posts and interactions with you. I would also like to continue staying connected to you in some way if it is possible. Please to subscribe to my tinyletter if you wish to – I have not updated it for a long time due to similar reasons above and also the stress of the virus situation, but if I do start sending updates again it would either be through that channel or that would be somewhere where you can be notified of it.
What is next for my work
I am still struggling to find some sort of cadence for my work in spite of my health challenges, but at this point I will still be publishing once a week on my personal website. The bigger picture more or less remains the same: to find a way to interactively connect all the topics I've learnt on my website. I've started some very early notebooks here, there's also a tiny library here, a curated page of my posts, and several ways to view my archive, including the most used tags, grouped by year, a rudimentary "on this day" mode. If you're on instagram I'd made an ugly tappable notes prototype on one of my all-time favourite books, "A General Theory of Love" – I would like to do more of these things to share my learnings in a way that is more accessible than reading an entire book or a 20,000 word essay. Everything is still a mess and very early, considering that I started this journey in 2017 or so I am making progress like a snail, but I would like to take the long view and console myself with examples of people who take a really long time to work on something (See: The Forever Project, What are some examples of people who worked alone on a single strange project for 10+ years?)
But I hope that progress is not linear, that I should not take the outcome of the past few years as a gauge for what would happen in the next five. I am learning something new about my body everyday and I do hope the effort I have taken to heal and manage my health in these years will pay off one day. But if not, I am making peace with making progress like a snail.
Thank you, a thousand times over. I have not personally used the pledges, except to pay for server bills. I intend to donate bicycles at World Bicycle Relief, because bicycles have changed my life and they have an even more profound effect on those who have no access to basic infrastructure. If you have other ideas where the money should go, please let me know. Also, if any of you would like a refund through paypal, please feel free to send me a message, I will send it back no questions asked.
Do feel free to send me messages if you have questions, or if there's anything you're curious about, or just to say hi.