When I started up with Patreon I was excited. I had a lot of hope and ideas. I had things I wanted to do and plans to improve and to expand. I did those things, and I felt brave and competent and professional.
And a little bit terrified.
I was very aware my audience was small. I prepared myself for the reality that it might take a long time to get any patrons at all, to convince anybody I was worth supporting. When I got some straight away, it was overwhelming. Money is great (It really is. You can trade it for food and a place to live and books and art supplies and website costs. 12/10. Would recommend having some), but patrons provide so much more than that.
This last eighteen months or so I have been intensely difficult. Starting with my first miscarriage in June 2017, it hasn’t stopped. I just seem to ricochet into further disaster. That first miscarriage was brutal and shocking, but it was supposed to be a one off, a blip. I kept going. The second (February 2018) numbed me. The third (June 2018) broke tiny important things inside. And over the last few months, whenever it seems like maybe things are improving, that I’m doing better again, something happens (a small conflict, unexpected news, minor stress) and puts pressure on my broken parts. And I recollapse.
Two years ago, I had so many plans. Now, I wake up and deal with that particular day. Two years ago, I was pushing forward. Now, I’m just scrambling to keep everything upright. I don’t feel brave. I don’t feel competent.
I think I have done some of my best work for Silence Killed the Dinosaurs in the last year. I am particularly proud of ‘Expecting’ (which actually got a bit of attention) as well as my serious comics ‘Hello, My Name is Grief’ and ‘Space’. But during that same time my only real goal has been not to go dark. I don’t have ideas and work lined up. I’ve been creating as inspiration comes, just enough to keep the website alight and upright, not dying. Not dead.
When things are bad in one area, they tend to go bad everywhere. Badness spreads. Even though it has nothing to do with miscarriages, my confidence in myself as a creator has plummeted. I have had more days than I like to admit where I have just curled up, wondering why I’m doing this, what I’m actually achieving, whether I’ll ever get my forward momentum back, whether anyone would really care if I just gave up on it. (But I uncurl, and I deal with that particular day).
And I can’t properly explain what it means to me to have you here. That you still believe in me. That you haven’t left me to hold everything up on my own, keep it all alight. (Not dying, not dead.) Money is great, but you provide so much more than that. (Even if you don’t mean to, even if you haven’t thought about it).