Cartoon Me

So, S. is designing me an awesome website to stick at betsyphillips.net. I assume the young Christian actor from Texas still has betsyphillips.com, even though nothing’s loading there at the moment. I admit, when I saw it was a young gal who made a big deal out of her Christianity, I thought “Yes, she’ll eventually become Betsy Someoneelse, and I can swoop in and get the .com.” But you can’t depend on actors, even religious actors, to be conventional. So, .net is fine.

Anyway, the website. It’s awesome. I don’t like cluttery websites (which is hilarious if you know how I live in real life or if you read this blog, really, but there it is). And what I’ve seen so far seems very open in a way that somehow feels like giggling elegance. Like, it’s elegant, but it makes me laugh. I don’t know. That’s not a good way to describe it, but I like it. But it kind of begs for some kind of unifying graphic. And it’s supposed to be a somewhat professional website–look here, see who I am when I’m putting my best face forward. Here, I can sit around in my underwear and metaphorically fart up things like “giggling elegance.” Basically, I guess, I just think that I’m constructing a front entrance for people I don’t yet know if I want coming into the family room.

So, yes, it seemed like it needed something. And if you go searching around author websites, you see that everyone sticks up a picture of him or herself as the unifying graphic of their site.

Ugh, no. Really, even if I kidnapped Chris Wage and made him take 100,000 pictures of me to find the few I liked, I still don’t want to see a damn picture of me every time I have to go to my own website. Plus, apparently, while it’s okay for weirdos to accost you outside of restaurants, society still frowns on kidnapping your friends.

So I thought it might be cool to include a cartoon–something kind of recognizable as me, but not so much like me that it weirded me out. But then I couldn’t think of a cartoonist I knew. And then I got some suggestions from Twitter and I realized I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have someone draw something that looked kind of like me. Hell even if it didn’t look like me, I’d know it was supposed to be me.

I didn’t want my shape and size to be the joke of the cartoon, you know? And I was embarrassed and not sure how to communicate that to any cartoonist I might work with.

But then I realized, I am at least online acquaintances with Barry Deutsch, the dude behind the critically-acclaimed Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, because he runs Alas, A Blog, which I have been reading for as long as I have been reading blogs. So I emailed him for advice and then I got brave and just asked him if he’d be willing to do it. And he was!

Here’s the thing that I have buried way down here, hoping that the post is long enough by now that most of you have long since stopped reading, when he sent me the sketch, I cried. I had this feeling that I can’t even put into words, like if pride and relief had some place they overlapped and mixed with delight. And I just had to cry to let it out. What I realized is that there are times when, in order to just do some task that involves meeting or interacting with people I don’t know, I worry that all they’ll be able to see about me is that I’m fat and that they’ll pass judgment on me immediately, just based on how I look, as being some kind of lazy failure. In my younger days, I had this whole little litany ready to go in my head about how well I ate and how much I exercised and that was supposed to prove that, even if I was fat, at least I was trying. That was supposed to count for something, because I was sorry.

And then my general practitioner said I was lying and my lovely evil gynecologist told me about how God hates fat women because way back when we lived in Africa, fat women couldn’t keep their babies out of the way of angry elephants, because we are so slow, and so God just made it so fat women couldn’t have babies.

I think I was still being sorry for being fat at that point, but I kind of was realizing that there wasn’t sorry enough to appease some folks. My body was still a problem for them.

But then! Then I get competent medical help and, voila, there is actually something wrong with me, and my fat is not evidence of my personal failings, but a symptom of a medical issue, evidence only that my endocrine system is fucked and it must be medicated and monitored to make sure it doesn’t do anything weirder than make me fat. This is definitely an improvement over being a liar who God hates.

But my body is still a problem, you know?

And I realized, when I saw the sketch, that I’ve developed at least internally this defensive posture of “Fuck you. I’m fat. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem.” Not that I need to use it often, but I am ready to whip it out when need be. Or when I’m feeling vulnerable or whatever. It’s a tool, folks. Probably not a useful tool. Probably one I should leave in the toolbox unless really necessary. But I apparently carry it around with me at the ready.

The thing that made seeing that sketch so powerful for me was that it was obvious that to Deutsch my body was just a series of lines and curves, same as any other body he might draw. It wasn’t a problem at all. Didn’t require special skills to deal with. Just a body.

It’s corny, I know. But that blew me away.

You Shouldn’t Be Able to Find an Orphan’s Parent in Less than Five Minutes

As I said the other day, when you start from a position of just blatant and absolute dishonesty and disrespect for people, without some kind of actual contrition and apology, people will suspect that any ongoing endeavors you develop based on the initial clusterfuck of dishonesty and disrespect are likely also to be a mess.

The Authors Guild was able to find the rightsholder for one of HathiTrust’s supposedly orphaned works in less than five minutes–poetic-justice-y enough by using Google.

You Should Probably Not Approach Me

After embarrassing myself last night in front of the Professor by going off on a dude who claimed he was lost and needed directions, which apparently could only be gotten by standing six inches from me, this morning I jumped out of my skin on our walk when I noticed a dude behind us.

And dude did everything right. He coughed loudly upon approaching. He was obviously moving to the middle of the road to pass us when I noticed him, and he seemed suitably concerned that I might be the kind of person who does not handle being approached by strangers well.

And I still was like “AAAHAAHHHAA, Oh, good morning.”

Dude did not look convinced that I was having a good morning.

I don’t know what the fuck’s going on with me, but having dudes I don’t know come up on me, especially and try to get in my personal space and talk to me, apparently turns me into some kind of rage filled monster. Even when I got home last night, I was still angry all out of proportion to the actual event and embarrassed that I’d behaved in a way that could have escalated and would have involved the Professor in it if it had.

I am still pissed. Like how dare he think he has a right to my time, my attention.

Fuck. I don’t know. Just breathing through it, thought.