Tag Archives: therapy

Perfect Failure

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At least my braids always look great. 

It’s about 4 years since I started drawing webcomics, and if you scroll through 4 years of posts, you can really see the progression of my ability to force the Wacom tablet and Photoshop Elements to do my bidding, but it feels like there’s kind of a limit to all that, because all week I’ve been staring at the blank panels for a comic book that’s been causing contractions in my brain for the last year without finding the confidence to start over again with a totally different style.  At this point, it pretty much looks like the crutch of a digital drawing tablet has caused my drawing skills to actually degenerate.

On the other hand, I think the therapist in this comic looks like the same character in both panels, which was the thing that really stymied my comic creation prior to the tablet.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of ideas along these lines. The blog isn’t going to look as great as it could, but like my friend the Coyote always says, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I need to unplug more regardless. I need to hold a pencil in my hand. I need to let go of the anguish I feel when I want to delete something or move something or just copy something. I’ve got to practice the basics if I want to feel worthy of comments like the one I received today from a woman who told me her dad drew for Mad Magazine and that I was the “real deal” just like him.

I’m not saying this is good, but it exists, which is more than I can say for last week’s comics.

Oh, hey! I drew a therapy comic that wasn’t about couples’ counseling. You’d think I’d had way more therapy than I’ve actually had based on the number of therapy comics I’ve drawn. I wasn’t even the person receiving therapy in the above comic.

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Metamorphosis

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I know it sounds cliché but I just feel like I need to spread my wings right about now. It’s, you know, time for me to fly.

Eventually he should catch up, right? But by then she’ll be dead, because butterflies don’t live that long. These May-December romances can be problematic. For example, mismatched sex drives (nonexistent in caterpillars). It’s imperative to start therapy immediately upon recognizing the problem or there’ll be nothing left to save.

In addition to this very silly comic, today, in honor of Miss Kitty’s birthday, I also baked the richest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. Thirty years too late for me to truly enjoy it. Ah, well. I’ve metamorphosized, too. Also into something more colorful.

Fifth Wedding Anniversary: Wood

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OK, let’s go back and unpack that statement. Or unshell it. 

I wanted to draw a matryoshka comic for weeks, every since I saw a comic where a matryoshka doll is trying to get into the movie theater and the dude at the concession stand asks her if she’s sure she only needs 1 ticket. This one came to me while I was looking at such a doll on my mom’s tchotchke shelf: first the “full of herself” line, then the realizing that she needed a spouse who was also made of wood and some kind of doll. Well, of course a nutcracker. They’re both Russian, right? And they both have similarly wooden personalities. The exact wording took a while; I changed it 2 or 3 times, before and after drawing the image.

From where I sit, this marriage is over. They don’t respect each other anymore. Check out dude’s body language. They can’t even make eye contact.

Just gonna keep drawing marital counseling comics until the New Yorker calls me.

That’s all there is to say about this one, because I ate cheap Chinese food and I have a massive msg headache. But it’s so great to have the ability to sit down and create a complete comic in an hour. When I started, it usually took 4.

After some initial confusion, my book is definitely available in paperback. Click this Amazon link!

 

Progress

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Does anyone still get psychoanalyzed? And where does one buy a psychoanalysis couch? Do they sell them at Ikea? And, if so, do psychoanalysts fight about them in the middle of Ikea?

Sometimes I do feel like I’m cursed. I’ve lost track of the number of times I had reason to believe my ship had come in, only to find myself running off the end of the dock and falling into the frigid sea. At this point, I have zero reasonable expectation of success in my lifetime, and yet, even when I know that failure is imminent, I can’t seem to shake this stupid optimism that tells me, no, this time it will work out. This time you’ll get where you want to be.

I have a lot of respect for people who manage to work as therapist 40 hours week (maybe not for Freudian analysts, although you have to hand it to people who manage to hold onto a perspective that’s long been discredited) because it’s really emotionally draining work, listening to people whine day in and day out, most often about the same thing, week after week, with no intention of actually changing their circumstances. For a while, I thought I would be happy doing that job, but 2 internships and a practicum in mental health convinced me otherwise. Now I just give advice for free. People seem to think I’m good at it. Even strangers on the internet thank me for my insight, and if you’ve been on the internet, you know what a big deal that is.

Another thing I was thinking about was transference/countertransference. To do therapy, a therapist has to get the patient to like them in a certain capacity. I’m frankly astonished at the number of people who go to therapy for months or years and are afraid to tell their therapists the truth. I know it’s a goodly percentage of people, because people tell me things, and then, pretty often, add, “I’ve never even told my therapist that.” And I say, “Why not?” Because therapy is freaking expensive and it seems silly to pay someone $150 an hour to not tell them the truth (and then tell it to me for free). But people are filled with shame.

Anyway, you have to get your patient to like you, in a sort of parental way, where they trust you and feel safe with you, and you have to like them back, but not too much, because you can’t be emotionally involved with your clients, even if your entire relationship is about your emotions. You’re supposed to develop feelings for one another than you can then use to open up discussions about those feelings and how similar feelings affect their lives outside the office. But pretty often people aren’t that comfortable with their therapists, and I think it’s safe to say that some therapists don’t like their clients, and sometimes it shows. And people get discouraged and assume therapy doesn’t work, when it’s really the therapeutic relationship that’s not working, and they should just cut their losses and find a more appropriate therapist.

I can’t afford a therapist. But if I could, I would definitely be talking about the 101 examples I could give of moments in my life when I had every reason to believe things were going to unfold in a way that would improve my life, and instead didn’t unfold at all. I swear, it’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why I drew this comic, instead of not drawing a comic.

Your Marital Narrative

We'll also be exploring mace as a therapeutic option.

We’ll also be examining the efficacy of pepper spray as a therapeutic option.

Hey! I drew a comic about going to therapy. Can I be in the New Yorker now? Or is my wit not dry enough? I tried to draw the therapist’s smile kind of forced and tight-lipped, but she still looks kind of happy, so maybe the art isn’t there. Yet. The Man believes it’s getting there.

The therapist comic seems like such a staple. So, whenever I have an idea for a comic, there’s always this voice asking if I’ve really had an idea for a comic, or if I’m just remembering something that someone else did years ago, that I read and forgot about, but which has been hanging around in my subconscious for all this time. How do you know? It’s not like there’s a big database of comic ideas and you can type in keywords and see whether or not someone’s already thought of the same gag. In face, I’ve seen different artists do essentially the same joke lots of time, and they’re probably not stealing, intentionally or otherwise.

If a musical genius like George Harrison can commit “subconscious plagiarism,” what hope is there for anyone? Am I funny, or am I just repeating someone else’s joke?

That’s the one-panel gags, obviously. The big comics about my bizarre life are mine alone, of course. And maybe if I get a Patreon and/or a Kickstarter and start making money off of comics I could do long ones every day. Still, the one-panel form is an important one.

I guess the secret is to make everything absolutely as personal as possible. No one else has my life experience. Not even remotely.

Probably, no one’s done quite this comic. Originally I wondered if the man and the woman shouldn’t be the banged up ones, but implications of domestic violence seemed like they would detract from the joke. They’re not trying to hurt each other. Things just got out of hand and the therapist got in the way by mistake.

Special thanks to The Man for his suggestion that the glass on the diploma be shattered.

Dragon Comics 39

Depression sits right on your chest.

Depression sits right on your chest.

Don’t feel sorry to me. I had an excellent weekend and had to scramble to finish this comic even though it was halfway done Friday afternoon. But instead of drawing, I had a good time and enjoyed myself in every possible way from then to now. I am not personally depressed now, but I do know what it’s like to have depression sitting on your chest, weighing down your every thought. That experience is known to me.