This Comic Didn’t Get Made, and That’s Okay: The True Story of What Really Happens to Stressed Out Sleep Deprived Cartoonists with a Self-Imposed Deadline
People ask me all the time how I manage to do so much with an eight-month-old baby at home. I don’t actually know. Somehow it happens, kinda like magic. Dinner gets made, the baby is fed, laundry is never folded but it is at least washed, paintings get worked on, naps and snuggles are enjoyed, writing happens, and a comic comes out every Wednesday morning. At least, most of the time. I may not know how I manage to get things done on a semi-regular basis. I can, however, tell you exactly why things DON’T get done in a timely manner. It is so much easier for me to remember when things go to Hell.
Last week’s comic did not get made in time. It didn’t get made after I put up a “temporary” notice about how the comic wasn’t going to be posted by my deadline. And it didn’t get made after that, either. It didn’t get made because life got in the way. That happens sometimes. And I hated it.
I had a comic that needed to be finished and 10,000 words to write for NaNoWriMo before the end of the month. I was trying to get our family back on track with healthy meal plans. I needed to do laundry and continue to organize and baby proof the house. I had websites to work on and paintings to finish and I needed to find another craft fair to set up shop at before Christmas so that I could sell some art prints. None of that was happening. None.
Sleeping interrupted for four or five hours a night was not enough. Spending an extra thirty seconds in the bathroom to get a break from my baby crying in the pack-and-play was not enough. Rubbing lotion into my clawed up skin from my daughter grabbing and pinching because she was upset was not enough at all. And it eventually came to a head a couple of nights after NaNoWriMo ended. I hadn’t met my goal. It was super disappointing. I was so far behind with everything that my chest hurt. That anxiety was coming to get me. And depression was lurking. I could feel it all poking through the cracks in my armor. I can still feel those monsters trying to find a way in.
I am not out of the woods yet. Everything is extra frustrating right now. I have no patience. My memory is shot. I keep feeling like a terrible Mom. Honestly, I had a much better blog post planned out for today and I forgot it all because I’m writing this at midnight. But that’s okay. It’s all okay. I am making the choice to give myself grace.
Last week, I couldn’t push through the pain to get the comic finished. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t focus on staying awake, let alone creating a comic. So I gave myself the gift of a break from judgment, from guilt, and from worry. I’m taking a break from disappointment and shame. And while I’m pushing through these big emotions to get the comic done this week, I’m still doing my best to cut myself the slack that I would give someone else in the same situation. Because here’s the truth bomb:
I set up this deadline for myself. I can literally change it whenever I want to and no one can tell me otherwise.
It’s okay to be disappointed, frustrated, and angry. It’s important to feel the feels and experience that part of life. But you don’t want to live there. You don’t want to wallow in a pool of “pissed off.” That can’t be sanitary. We need to remember to breathe, to give ourselves some space, to allow ourselves to rest.
TL;DR – Its midnight, I’m tired, cranky, frustrated, and I can’t remember a damn thing about what I wanted to write today, but that’s okay. I’m going to chuck it in the “fuck it” bucket and forgive myself for not meeting a deadline that I made up.