And, Doggone It

So, I asked for a raise from one of my outlets.

(I would have asked for a raise from more than one, but I suspect doing so from the second might have ended with either a no or, worse, a “What if we paid you less instead?” which, as surreal as it sounds, is what happened last time I tried.)

The entire notion of asking for more money is a fraught one for me, tied up with issues of self-worth and selfishness and the like; the very idea that I could think, “You know, I do so much for you guys and it’s actually much more than it used to be, I think I deserve to be paid in such a way that reflects that,” comes with a sense that I somehow have ideas above my station and deserve to be swatted down for it. It’s not a good way to be, I know — I’m in therapy for a number of reasons, after all — but it’s there and I have to deal with it nonetheless.

All of this was exacerbated by the way in which I had to ask, which saw me screw my courage to the sticking post and make my case to my immediate supervisor and then, following his okay, have to make my case in more detail, with an argument for why I’m worth it, to his boss. (Admittedly, my imposter syndrome has to deal with the fact that I have been approved once already, but still.) It’s this weird, awkward experience that forces me to wrestle with my own insecurities multiple times, with me thinking, Actually, never mind, I’m fine, the whole time.

I’ve not heard back, yet, as to whether or not I’ll get the raise. It’s the limbo part where decisions have to be made and balances have to be checked and I’m here, feeling simultaneously anxious and self-consciously proud for having raised the subject it the first place. But if I don’t get it…? That’ll be awkward.

Vote For Me And I’ll Set You Free

I’ve been thinking about “influencers” since watching that Netflix documentary about Fyre Festival recently; the notion of holding such social currency that a recommendation from you has monetary value to others. I’m egotistical/realistic enough to know that I’m a quasi-influencer in the world of comics — at least, insofar as what I write about in outlets can be influential — but no-one has ever tried to pay me for that purpose. It’s something that makes me uncomfortable, anyway, the idea of me recommending some random comic and it becoming a thing, and I do it far less often than I might otherwise for that very reason.

(Also, I tend to recommend things that are niche, if not downright obscure, which arguably devalues my nascent influencer status. This might be unintentional self-sabotage, I wouldn’t like to say.)

Still; I cant quite get my head around either the influencer or the influenced. What is the appeal? That you too could be like this person if you like what they like and buy what they buy? Is it aspirational in that sense, or simply the effect of fandom and wanting to understand and share your hero’s tastes? Is there a hope that, if you follow in their cultural and capitalist footsteps, they’ll know and like you more, or that you’ll share their inexplicable power, somehow?

All of this was in my head as I watched Fyre, distracting me from the (genuinely staggering) story of mismanagement and enabling and greed, because even as the festival got shoddier and more pathetic as it edged closer to existence, I couldn’t shake this one thought: All of the attendees kind of deserve this for falling for it in the first place.

In Transit

I remember telling a lot of people, at the time and in the immediate aftermath, that last year’s San Diego Comic Con was a very strange and emotional experience for me, but what’s interesting looking back at it was how true that was without me realizing it at the time — but it was San Diego that crystalized a lot of feelings that I was having about where I was (and wasn’t) in my life, and just as importantly, opened my eyes to the potential that was out there that I hadn’t really allowed myself to really think about before. I’m very self-conscious about it, to be honest; who has a week of emotional epiphanies at a comic book convention? The answer, I’ve learned, is me. I’m not sure if these images are actually both from the flights to and from Comic-Con that year — they almost certainly can’t be, that’s almost too perfect that I had them on my phone — but in my head they are, and that’s pretty much all that really matters, in a strange way.