I belatedly remembered that this month marks my ten year anniversary on this site. The actual date came and went a little over a week ago without me noticing, though that's excusable, considering I've been preoccupied of late. I'm currently in the process of moving, which I'm sure you are aware can be an arduous undertaking, unless you live like George Clooney's character from "Up in the Air" and don't accumulate a lot of stuff to lug around, which right now is seeming pretty smart. I started packing up my belongings towards the end of last month, and I'm still at it and my back is aching.
Making the decision to move was not an easy one. Lying in bed thinking about it, I felt sadder than I've felt in a long time, and I'm someone who is frequently depressed. But I guess perhaps depression is a slightly different thing that just being outright sad. It's not like my apartment of the past seven years has been anything special, but I don't deal well with change.
One of the toughest parts was telling my neighbor/ building manager of my decision. She's a sweet old lady who is almost like a third grandmother to me. Just a few months ago, my sister was visiting and we ran into my neighbor in the hall. She told my sister how I was her favorite tenant and turned to me and said, "Don't you move." I replied that I had no intention of doing so, which was perfectly true at the time. I thought it entirely plausible that I'd remain in my apartment until the day my neighbors complained about an unpleasant odor emanating from within and I was found crushed to death under a pile of old VHS tapes.
The other thing I'll miss about my old place is the convenience of living directly across from the library. But I guess the positives of my old place are outweighed by the positives of the new one, such as lower rent and more space. Besides, as was pointed out to me, it's not even a sure thing my old apartment building will be around forever, in which case it would be better to leave on my own terms. The way things are going in the village that's been my home for the past seven years, the landlord selling the building would not be inconceivable.
Speaking of said village, while I'm not the most outgoing person in the world, so it doesn't make a huge difference to me at this time, I can't deny that something many might see as a downside of living there is that it's not exactly the most happening spot in the world. A while back, someone left a message on my online dating profile just to ask me what the hell I was doing living there and whether I felt stranded ("lol"). Yeah, I apparently have an online dating profile; I honestly have no memory of setting it up; it's rather out of character for me; I must have done it in a moment of acute loneliness. However, I'm so terrified of actually having to socialize, I used the pic of me crossdressed for Halloween as my profile photo in order to scare girls away.
My sister has moved at least half a dozen times within the past decade or so, all over the world. Meanwhile, the place I'm moving to is under four miles away from my old apartment, which is maybe slightly more than a mile away from the house we grew up in. But my sister and I are opposites in a lot of ways. That was evident pretty early on when we went to the beach when I was five and she was two. While I wouldn't even let the water go up to my knees, my sister was happy to go far enough in that she completely submerged herself.
Maybe I do need a fresh start somewhere else. I feel like I could be reasonably content in my new place. Before that time, however, I still have a fair amount of crap to pack up and I have to clean up my old apartment by the end of the week. I just hope I don't mess up the new place the way I did the old.
Given that I've reached the ten year mark, and at the same time have seen more than one person on this site recently writing their "deviantART story," now seems like a good time to look back. Geez, even as wordy as I'm prone to being in my journal, how do I sum up a decade in a single entry?
Prior to learning about deviantART, the only major art site I knew about was Elfwood, which made me think I was going to have to start doing a lot more fantasy and sci-fi pieces in order to get my art any type of exposure, though that might not have been such a bad thing. I was first informed about the existence of deviantART by a certain online friend who had been commissioning me to draw his kinky fantasies. The stuff I was doing for him was not necessarily my cup of tea, and I was getting paid peanuts, but doing art for somebody else gave me a certain sense of direction, and it was nice to feel appreciated.
I didn't join dA right away. First I had to come up with a user name, which wasn't easy; I didn't want to saddle myself with something I'd regret. Or course, I didn't know they'd later give premium members the ability to change their user names. rocketdave owes its origins to Elton John and William Shatner, because I had the song "Rocket Man" stuck in my head at the time.
Being on this site can be pretty humbling. I know I'm only a mediocre artist, but just how unremarkable I am becomes much more apparent when surrounded by so many hugely talented people.
As I'm sure many of you know, I started getting more traffic once I started posting art relating to a specific fetish. This has caused some conflicting emotions in me. Unlike the subject matter of my early commission work, this was a fetish I'm forced to admit actually interests me, but it was embarrassing to be revealing that side of myself. I'd set up this account to be a general depository for my work, and the fetishistic content was consuming my identity, and I feared it was possibly turning away everyone else who wasn't into that stuff. I eventually did what I should have done in the first place, which is set up a second account for most of the kinkier art. Thus rocketXpert was born (there's a user name I kinda wish I could change, though to what, I'm not sure).
The increased attention my art was getting still didn't make me as happy as I'd hoped. It all felt a bit hollow; I knew people were now mostly flocking to me for the fetishistic stuff. It doesn't require a lot of talent to get noticed for that. You could have the same level of artistic ability as the average grade schooler, but if you started drawing guys in dresses, I'm sure you'd be getting thousands of views in no time. Yeah, it's opened up more opportunities, which I'm grateful for, but my struggles with depression have prevented me from taking full advantage of those, sadly.
I'll skip ahead to 2014. Those paying attention may have observed a sharp drop in my creative output. My muse has been taking an extended leave of absence. I've been in sporadic slumps ever since joining this site, but it's gotten especially bad this year, and it's hard to pinpoint precisely why; it's probably a multitude of factors. I've started to worry that people will forget about me or realize they can get the same type of art elsewhere from more talented artists who don't feel the need to inflict their angst on their watchers.
Earlier in the year, the friend who had introduced me to deviantART in the first place had commissioned me to do yet another piece for him, and I was having a more challenging time than usual getting started. He eventually gave me an ultimatum: get the work done in the next few days or refund the money he'd already paid me. It was a totally reasonable request, but I didn't much like being pushed into a corner like that; I feel you can't just pressure someone into being creative.
As much as I needed any extra money I could get, I shocked him by agreeing to refund his ten dollars (or however much it was). He then offered an alternative solution: rather than refund the money, I could gather together every drawing I'd ever done for him- not just commissions but sketches I did for free- stick them in an envelope and mail them off to him so that he'd have the physical copies and I'd pay him back that way. As I found out, it would have been way easier just to draw his commission; it was a much more monumental task scouring through over a decade's worth of sketch pads trying to find every little doodle on his list. Also, while I had little problem parting with the commissioned work, ripping pages out my sketchpads felt a little like ripping out small pieces of my soul.* I was depressed already, and none of that helped me very much.
I may have hit my lowest point when my sister commissioned me to draw something for the weekend of her graduation and wedding, but I failed to finish the project on time- or at all; I got halfway done, then couldn't go any further and basically gave up. It turned out to not really be a big deal for her; I suspect part of the reason she commissioned me was just to give me something to do, but I felt very guilty nonetheless.
What she'd wanted me to do was draw personalized images reflecting something about each of the attendees of her big weekend, which she and her boyfriend/finance would print out as trading cards in the style of Magic the Gathering or something along those lines. Part of the problem is that some her ideas were damn vague, such as, "Deanne: waving a magic wand leaving a purple trail of... smiles and musical notes and stuff?" And there were certain people who I didn't much feel like drawing anything for, especially our dad's girlfriend, who'd been kind of terrible to my sister.
*I refer to the soul in a metaphorical sense; I'm not saying I have one.
Oddly enough, over the past few weeks, I've felt more like drawing and being creative than I have in ages. It's lousy timing, considering I need to be focusing most of my energy on moving. Procrastinator that I am, maybe this is my way of trying to avoid more vital responsibilities. Hopefully, this feeling will still be around once I'm able to actually devote more time to my art.
You know, I didn't just join deviantART to show off my crappy art, but to try to meet people as well. Maybe I haven't forged as many deep connections as I might have liked- I guess I'm almost as bad at making friends online as I am in real life- but I have encountered a number of nice, cool individuals on here and I'm appreciative of the support I've gotten. I'd like to thank those watchers who have continued to stick with me through my various ups and downs. And thank you if you managed to actually read through this whole thing.