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Una Vignette – P2

Una Vignette – P2 published on 15 Comments on Una Vignette – P2

The room of hideous wallpaper and passive-aggressive commentary strikes again.

I hope it doesn’t blizzard tomorrow. There’s a volunteer organization to support LGBTQ advocacy that I want to be a part of and they’re having an intro meeting tomorrow that I’d like to go to. I’m scared to death to go, because it means going to a new place and meeting new people and that makes me anxious AS ALL GET OUT, but it’s something I really want to do this year. I want to be part of an active good.

I snapped a bit a week or two ago. Folks that follow me on social media might have seen it in real time. I have been feeling a low burn of helplessness and fear lately. I had a few errands to run, so I thought I would take a walk because exercise is supposed to be good for you. Even though I’m also anxious about walking alone anywhere BUT HEY MAYBE SOMETHING TERRIBLE WON’T HAPPEN THIS TIME. And wouldn’t you know it, a block from my house, I found a swastika spray painted on the sidewalk. And I just…GUH. It got to me. It got right under my skin. I came home, fired up and wondering what I should do to get that THING out of my neighborhood. I posted that I was thinking about painting over it. And while most said “DO IT!” there was also a common response of “No, don’t, just leave it. You’ll get arrested. You’ll get fined.”

And that REALLY made me mad. Something in me just snapped. I was tired of feeling scared and helpless. I was going to DO something.

BUT it made me think, “Okay, fine, let’s find out how to do this the legal way.” So I called my local police force to ask them if it was all right for me to paint over the graffiti. Their response in tone was, “Ppfff, uh, yeah you could have totally painted over that but officially I can’t say that so now that you’ve called we have to do this The Official Way.” It turns out, there is a Graffiti Unit in my city. So I called them, reported it, and now I’m going to have to keep an eye on it and follow-up. The process is longer, but it was good for me to learn about my local resources and the policies involved. It was good to know that I didn’t have to be afraid. I didn’t have to be passive either.

So I thought: What else can I be active about?

That’s when I signed up to volunteer. It’s not enough to be a passive good. All that I’ve learned from history shows me that results goes to the runner. While the major conflicts that we remember are generally between two active groups, the vast majority of the time change came to those that chose to act. For good or ill. In a race between active and apathetic, history goes to the active side. So I want to become part of a group that is acting. That is creating. That is MAKING things.

I’m not a protestor. I don’t have that kind of energy in me. But I can educate. I can communicate. I can support. I can create safe environments. And that kind of activism has its place too. (I have a whole other blog story on this idea involving a juniper stump in my yard that JUST WON’T DIE, but I’ll save that one for another day.)

So I researched local groups that focused on that kind of advocacy. And even if it freaks me out to go to a new place, with new people, and my anxiety is 100% convinced that I’ll make an idiot of myself or everyone I meet will instantly hate me (no, brain, that’s not true please stop) I hope that I can learn a lot about how I can help my community.

I encourage everyone to find a way to be active in creating the world you’d like to live in for yourself and others. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. For some, that might simply be surviving. A personal act of self-validation. For others, it might be making something. Telling a story. Helping a friend. Helping a stranger.

Maybe it’s just learning how to report graffiti.

We are not helpless. We do not need to let the paralysis of fear shape our future.

How can you be active in making your future a better place?

15 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

o/ new reader here, hopped over from Tamuran actually and just marathoned the whole comic in a day! 🙂 I am usually more of a lurker not a commentor but wanted to say how much I like your work, and mostly ow much I like your drive to improve yourself at the end of each chapter! The sign of great professionals is knowing they always have more to learn.

Welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed your archive dive. As for the feedback days, those are such an important resource for me. I was actually re-reading a lot of them yesterday, just to check in and see if I was addressing past problems. Seeing the project through a reader’s eyes really helps me zero in on areas I need to improve.

Congrats on getting out and doing more! 🙂

Some things I do (when I have the energy; the most recent political cycle burned me out and I’m resting now, and expect to get back to it in about a year) –

go to the public hearings for bills at the state house if its an important one

go to town hall events. Ask questions about the impact of projects on the things I care about.

write letters/sign petitions

advocacy within my company for trans people, mostly around community creation and health care access

exercise the systems that are supposed to support me. This is a super hard one. Many of these roads are poorly travelled. Travelling makes them smoother, but heck is it a nasty journey.

vote in primaries. vote in the little elections.

If I had infinite energy, I’d try running for office. I have friends who do so as third party candidates, to keep the local party responsible (otherwise, we’d have a one party system around here).

You are amazing Fish!! Those are all such important things to do. I’m just getting started on dipping my toe into trying just one of these things. I am in awe of you.

You’ve created more than one comic! I’m in awe of you. 🙂

(I would like to create a comic one day, but I never find the time/energy to get past the design phase. And, well, there is finite time to split between things.)

Jeeze, I didn’t even notice that wallpaper the first time around. And UGGGHH LU PAIIIII. What I really hate is that he honestly cares about Una and thinks he’s helping. That is the worst. I hate to think that Una is one of the few people Lu Pai legitimately is friends with and yet this is his idea of trying to help her. LIFECHANGING FIELD TRIP WITH PAKKU STAT.

Also, Robin, I am so, so very proud of you for doing that. It is good for your community, and it is good for you. Everyone there will like you and recognize how great you are, because how could they not?

Lu really does think he’s helping. He’s not, but he thinks he is.

As for actually helping IRL, I hope to. I managed to get through meeting one. I was SO. NERVOUS. I got a nosebleed right before I had to leave…which then made me throw up in the car while I drove out there…which was NOT THE GREATEST START BUT I SURVIVED. Yyyyyaaaaaaaayyy anxiety…

People talk a lot about first impressions but, I think in a lot of activism its about sticking around?

You’re really cool. 🙂 Don’t worry about messing up a first impression; you’ll get more chances. And, if that community isn’t a fit for you, there will be other communities to try. It’ll be okay.

Please do something nice for yourself today! You did something hard and managed to go, despite anxiety. That’s a big deal.

Somebody asked the organizers “What do you look for in volunteers?” and the organizer replied, “Well…what we liked the most about the people we worked with over the election cycle is…they came back. And they were adaptable.”

And I thought, “OK. I can do the first thing. So…baby steps. Baby steps.”

You did it because you are awesome. You are such an inspiration, Robin.

Also just came from Tamuran, and just finished catching up. I just wanted to thank you for the journey so far. I love how real, flawed, and personable all of the characters are. Mizha is definitely my favorite. So much of what she says and does really hits home with me; I was so glad to see the slow improvements she made by the end of the last chapter.

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