So this past weekend, I was lucky enough to be an artist guest of honour at SpoCon. This was my first public appearance since starting my transition and I was honestly terrified. Here I was, barely able to walk into a supermarket and I was about to speak at panels and have a big spotlight shined on me.
Once I got to the convention, my fear and anxiety immediately began to melt away. I was welcomed and respected in ways beyond what I deserved. Every single person at that convention treated me exactly like I'd hoped. Every. Single. Person. Everyone was comfortable around me and didn't make a big deal about my gender. Not once, was I dead named or misgendered. No one stared, no one snickered and no one made any rude comments.
During the weekend, I found myself actually forgetting that I was trans, for hours at a time. Up until now, it was always the loudest thing on my mind when I was in public. Normally, if I was in a group or crowd, I'd immediately be sizing up people's reactions. Trying to figure out if I was making anyone uncomfortable by being transgender and fearing ridicule. But this past weekend, for the first time, I stopped doing that. I just enjoyed being social and experiencing the convention.
At this tender stage of my transition, this weekend could have been devastating. I went out there emotionally exposed and any one of those people had the power to crush me with a few choice words. But they also had the ability to help me grow into myself and that's exactly what they did. This weekend was more important to me than most people realised and it couldn't have gone better. I now feel like it's okay to be comfortable with myself, even though I have a long way to go.
So if you ever want to go to a small but super fun convention, filled with warm, wonderful people, I highly recommend SpoCon.
Thank you, everyone who was there!
I've tweeted about this but I know not all of my readers use Twitter, so I figured that I should post this here as well. I'm transgender. This is going to be very strange or uncomfortable to some of you and I totally understand and respect that.
My breakdown in 2014 was the result of me trying everything I could to ignore this side of me and just live with the dysphoria. Or at least find other ways of coping that didn't involve me acknowledging this aspect of myself. I've been to two gender specialists and I've been on hormone replacement therapy for a little over 2.5 months now. Things are going really well and even though I'm still at the beginning of my transition, I'm super happy about the results already.
I'm amazed at the way my depression and self hatred have just melted away. I feel confident, energetic, social and creative. I know that transitioning is going to bring me through new difficulties and present new problems, but I feel like whatever comes at me, can't be as bad as wasting away like I was before admitting this to myself and to those people in my life.
My pronouns are she/her and I'm in the process of changing my name to "Ellipsis Hana Stephens" (Ell or Elli for short). If you're communicating with me and you misgender me or use my old name, don't even worry about it. This is an adjustment for everyone, so I promise that I won't be offended or annoyed (unless you're doing it on purpose).
I know this is going to cost me some readers, but this is something I just have to do.
Thank you so much!
ASMR IS SUCH A WEIRD PHENOMENON
For those who experience it, ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a euphoric sensation that at times is overwhelming. For those who don't, it's usually "that cringy, awkward, creepy stuff". Little research has been done on ASMR and the world still doesn't really know why it happens.
I'm not a neurologist or a scientist, but I've spent more than 40 years experiencing and contemplating ASMR and I have some theories that I think genuinely explain what ASMR really is and why it happens. I believe ASMR has a purpose and played an important role in our species' evolution and survival. And while I didn't name it ASMR, I'm partly responsible for why we call it that today. I'll explain that in a bit.
WHAT DOES ASMR ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE?
Once it's triggered, ASMR creates a very pleasurable, tingly feeling that glides across the scalp in friendly waves and can even seem as though it's being felt deep under the scalp. The feeling can sometimes travel down the neck, shoulders and back. This feeling varies in intensity and promotes a euphoric sense of calm, relaxation and well being. The person experiencing ASMR is usually filled with a strong desire to simply remain still and enjoy the sensation until it fades (usually in 2 to 10 minutes, given the circumstances and the person). As someone who has battled an opioid addiction, I can tell you that strength and intensity of ASMR is easily comparable to the strength of a drug like euphoria. The ASMR feeling does not hinder a person's judgement by making them feel high or drunk. The subject remains clear headed and aware (though usually very relaxed).
IS ASMR SEXUAL? COME ON, IS IT? BE REAL WITH ME.
No. Not in the least. ASMR is often mistaken by people without it, as a kink or fetish. This is in no way true. The pleasurable feelings ASMR brings do not induce sexual feelings or urges. "But Tarol," I hear you saying, "I know people online who say they DO find it sexual". Yes. And there are people with a kink for combining food with sexual arousal, but this does not mean that the pleasure we get from yummy foods is sexual in nature. Some people are turned on by bondage, yet this doesn't make ropes innately sexual. Lots of people enjoy incorporating otherwise nonsexual aspects of the world around them into an erotic experience. The pleasure experienced by ASMR is no more sexual that the pleasure experienced from eating our favourite foods.
AFTER HEARING ABOUT THIS ASMR THING, I THINK I MIGHT ALSO HAVE IT.
I hear this a lot. It's an understandable reaction to something that is often so poorly and vaguely explained. "Oh it's a good feeling? Hey, I've felt good feelings before! Maybe I have it too". Let me sum this up. If, after hearing/reading about ASMR, you're saying "I think I have that", then you don't. If you're not completely sure if you have ASMR, then you don't have it. The ASMR sensation is so hard to explain, because it's so different than almost any other feeling. We try to compare it to other sensations like "tingly goosebumps" etc, but this hardly covers the actual feeling. ASMR is unique and impossible to miss, when it happens. It's like if I told you that massive dinosaurs were stampeding through my living room every morning and your response is "Hmmmm. Now that you mention it, I think dinosaurs might be stampeding through my living room too". If you actually have dinosaurs charging through your living room, you absolutely know it. If you have to think about whether or not dinosaurs charge through your home, it's definitely not happening to you.
Triggers are the events or experiences that can create the ASMR sensation. These triggers can vary a bit from person to person, but they all follow specific rules that give away the whole purpose of ASMR. Common triggers include whispering, chewing, gentle touching or close up focus on the ASMR subject (like a doctor shining a light in your ear or quietly listening to your heartbeat with a stethoscope). When looking at the pleasure that the ASMR subject feels and the apparent intimacy of some of these triggers, it's easy to see why non-ASMR folks might think that it's a sexual thing. What's worse, it's very common to see someone with an actual sexual kink, swearing up and down that "It's not sexual! Really". So an ASMR subject promising that it's not sexual, can leave their friend rolling their eyes and thinking "Oh yeah, this stuff is TOTALLY sexual"
MY LIFE WITH ASMR
I know that this blog isn't about me, but I think that recounting my discovery and gradual understanding of ASMR might help a bit to explain exactly what it is. I'll mark these bits with a "TL;DR" so you can skip them if you like.
I WAS NOT A SMART KID (TL;DR... I didn't know where the tingles were coming from, I just accepted it)
I was born in 1973. It was in the late 70s that I started to experience the ASMR 'tingles', usually at school. I had no idea what was triggering it, I just knew that it was this wonderful feeling that happened sometimes and I didn't consider the reason or cause. Kids are very good at just accepting the world for what it is. To make my point, here are some things that I actually believed as a small child...
- I had no idea that elevators were meant to go up and down, I thought they always stayed still. I calmly and thoroughly believed that when the elevator doors closed with me and my Mom inside, the world outside the elevator was morphed into something different. I remember standing in an elevator and as the doors closed, I noticed a man standing in the hall just outside. When the doors opened again, an old lady was standing more or less where the man was. I thought the elevator had turned him into the old lady.
- I thought that if I smashed my family's TV screen, the cartoon characters would come out of it and play with me. I remember grabbing my 12 inch Spider-Man doll and hitting the screen over and over as hard as I could, during an episode of Tom & Jerry. Lucky I was not a strong kid and I failed to break the screen.
- I thought that the scuba divers I'd seen on TV were stupid for lugging around those big, heavy tanks on their backs. I thought "If I ever get to go scuba diving, I'm gonna cut the mouth piece off of the tube attached to the tank so I can breathe through that without needing the tank. They're dummies for not thinking of that."
- I once asked my Mom where babies come from. She told me "The man puts a seed inside the woman and that grows into a baby". That afternoon I stole a big box of sunflower seeds from our cupboard and went to the playground. I handed out sunflower seeds to all the girls to eat. I was excited about all the babies I was going to have.
So as you can see, it's no surprise that as a kid, I shrugged and accepted that the tingly sensations just... happened.
DISCOVERING MY TRIGGERS (TL;DR... I discovered that certain things trigger the sensation)
I kept the tingly feeling to myself and never told anyone else. For a lot of my childhood, I thought that I was the only person in the world feeling those tingles. I started to learn what the triggers were and I became more familiar with what caused the sensation.
- At one school I went to, we'd eat our lunches at our desks. As we all sat at our desks, eating out of our paper bags and Scooby-Doo lunchboxes, the girl in front of me happened to be a rather loud chewer. I sat eating my lunch and enjoying a session of tingles.
- At another school, the classroom was very silent as we all focused on an important math test. The girl in the desk next to me was breathing kinda loudly through her nose. This also set off the sensation.
- As a kid, we had a cool
button stamp. We'd put the little metal disks into the device and pull
the lever, creating a wearable button that showed off whatever picture
we put inside. During the Christmas season, I used to draw dozens of
colourful Christmas pictures and create tons of buttons. I'd then set up
a table near the mall and sell them to people passing by. Many times,
I'd get those tingles while watching someone slowly looking over my
- I remember sitting at my desk at school and the boy sitting next to me didn't have a pencil, so he asked if I had one I could lend him. I opened up my pencil case and handed him my extra pencil. As I watched him concentrate on his schoolwork, using my pencil, I started to get the tingly feeling.
YOU MEAN I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE?! (TL;DR... I discovered that another kid also had ASMR)
One of my favourite triggers was a lice check. See, if a kid at school was sent home with lice, they'd get nurses to go from classroom to classroom, carefully checking each kid's hair for lice. They'd gently search through your hair with what appeared to be chopsticks. This was possibly the strongest trigger for me. I secretly loved lice checks. One day, two ladies came into our classroom to do a check. I inwardly cheered. Then suddenly a boy near the front of the class yelled out "Oh boy! I love when they do this! It makes my head feel all tingly!". What?!? No one could tell, but in my mind I was freaking out. What I thought to be something that only I experienced, suddenly became something others can have too. From then on, I looked at the phenomenon very differently. If it happens to others, then there must be a reason for it. Suddenly I was immensely curious about it all. I would have gone and talked to that kid about it, but... I hated him so much. He once asked for a bite of my doughnut and then shoved the whole thing in his mouth, grinning at me. Damn, I hated that kid.
THE INTERNET CHANGED EVERYTHING
Years later, this weird internet thing was suddenly exploding everywhere. I remember being at a friend's house while he showed me a few others, how it worked. We entered the word "vampire" (it was the 90s. Vampires were the most popular thing in the universe) into the pre-Google search engine and gasped as literally DOZENS of websites about vampires popped up! I quickly realised what I could do with something like this! I could type "boobs"! Later I realised that I could finally learn about these weird tingles. That's when I found that searching for info on something that has no name and is nigh impossible to describe, was really hard. I found nothing. Every year or so, I would get curious about the sensation and try another internet search. I don't remember the actual year that I finally found a forum on the subject, but I remember it was the computer set up that I had on 9/11, so it was somewhere around then (no disrespect intended, that was just a time we all remember clearly).
WE CALL IT ASMR PARTLY BECAUSE OF ME. ...SORT OF.
I was excited to jump into a group (I think it was on Yahoo or MSN or something) where I could finally talk to other people about this! We regulars in the group would talk about triggers, theories about why it exists and many, many complaints of trying (and failing) to convince others that this was in no way sexual.
A thread eventually popped up, discussing how this thing needs a name. We started suggesting ideas for what we could call it. I don't remember my suggestions but I'm sure they were awful. The name everyone settled on was... "Brain Orgasm". The new, official name was quickly used by the group. When I discovered that Brain Orgasm had been chosen, I wrote a thread arguing that we really shouldn't use that name. I explained that if we want to convince others that this is not sexual, we really should avoid the word "orgasm" in the title. Everyone agreed and so the naming process started again. This time a lady (I vaguely remember her being a doctor but I might be wrong about that) suggested that we call it "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" or ASMR. I immediately hated the name and declared that it was "worse than Brain Orgasm". I argued that it was hard to remember, hard to say and even the initials didn't roll off the tongue. I was sure the name wouldn't stick. But everyone except me loved it and so that became the official name for it. Obviously I was very wrong about the name and I'm glad everyone had the sense to disagree with me.
WHY DOES ASMR EXIST AND WHAT IS IT FOR?
Okay. Remember that while I honestly think I'm right about this and have spent four decades coming to this conclusion, this is just the opinion of one person familiar with the subject matter. As far as I know, there have been no proper studies to back up what I'm about to say.
We've all seen creatures like apes grooming each other, picking bugs, etc out of each other's fur. The ape being groomed always seems to be sitting still and calmly enjoying the attention. For those apes, grooming each other is a great way to keep clean and more likely to avoid diseases or infections. It's also a great way for creatures with simpler communication practices to bond socially. This bond encourages the animals to stick together for safety, share food and even defend each other when attacked. So grooming each other makes sense as an important instinct that would evolve over time. Dogs and cats have a form of this that has developed from our symbiotic relationship. They enjoy being pet or scratched which seems less about grooming and more about creating or strengthening a social bond (though I once found a tick on my dog while I was scratching her belly). Cats even purr, which honestly, if I had to attribute a sound to the feeling of ASMR, purring fits it perfectly.
So it's possible that the ape being groomed or the cat
being pet, is feeling some form of ASMR. And it's just as possible that
our hunter-gatherer ancestors who groomed each other in similar ways, also felt a kind of ASMR. In a harsh world of survival of the fittest,
those who evolve the ability to feel pleasure from it are more likely to
gain more benefits from the higher amount of cleanliness and social
bounds. Consider what the ASMR sensation encourages the subject to do.
Keep still, quiet and not interrupt the person triggering the feeling.
Sometimes relaxing enough to fall asleep if the situation warrants it.
All these tendencies brought on by ASMR aid the grooming process.
Now let's look at the triggers. If what I'm saying is true, then that explains the ASMR from something like a lice check, but what about those other triggers? They all seem to play a part in the grooming process as well.
- Whispering: The sound of someone whispering suggests physical closeness. The kind of personal space sharing required for ape-like grooming. Look at the ASMR videos on YouTube. They all whisper as close to the microphone as possible, creating a sense of intense closeness. Whispering is only heard if the person doing it is positioned very close to you. So it fits the grooming theory.
- Chewing, breathing and mouth sounds: Like whispering these sounds are almost always heard if the person making them is close to you. During those classroom lice checks, I'd hear the nurse breathing right into my ear, as she was very close. The tiniest movement of her lips or mouth was easily heard. It seems logical to me that as we evolve to adhere to being groomed, we'd respond to the sounds and sensations that would commonly be heard during each grooming.
- Borrowing my pencil or studying the buttons I made: The two important details here are focus and the subject's sense of self. The ape doing the grooming is going to be focused intently on what they're doing and that focus is completely on the subject being groomed. I thought of my pencil as 'mine'. An extension of my person. The same can be said for my buttons. I drew each one of those pictures by hand and so they were very much mine. When the kid focused on his schoolwork and therefore on my pencil or those people quietly studied my little pictures, it triggered the ASMR as if a groomer was focusing intently on me.
I've never been into the YouTube ASMR roleplay videos, but look at the themes used to trigger people's ASMR. Roleplays about someone shaving you, cleaning your ears, doing your hair, etc. Those all point directly at grooming. Every trigger seems to be either a sound that's usually only heard close up, intense focus on the subject, gentle touching or something that mimics a feeling of isolated intimacy.
So to put it bluntly, I believe that ASMR is essentially a largely redundant grooming instinct left over from our times as hunter-gatherers, when grooming was far more important and vital.
My comic: http://www.goblinscomic.org/(anyone is welcome to repost this blog anywhere they like. I only ask that you credit me and include those links. Thank you.)
I want to say something about Trump's reaction to today's tragic shooting in Pittsburgh. I don't want people to misunderstand my intent here though. Obviously this isn't about me. This anti-semitic attack of terrorism was against the Jewish community and I wish the best for the friends and family of those involved as well as the safety of Jewish people everywhere.
Today Trump said something that frightened me more that most other things he's said. "I mean the world has violence, the world is a violent world." This is one of the worst, most damaging things he could have said and it scares the hell out of me. I'll explain why.
When I was a young boy, I got beat up a lot in school. Sometimes it was as mild as being pushed into a puddle and laughed at and sometimes it meant being held down and punched repeatedly in the face. I always knew it was a bad one, when I could hear the kids saying "ew" at the sight of my damaged face while being punched. The routine went like this... I got teased, pushed down, straddled and punched. Then a teacher would come running over, stop the "fight" (I was like, the wimpiest kid. My attempts to fight back were comical at best), and bring us into the principal's office, sometimes taking me to the nurse's office first. If it was bad enough, our parent's were called.
We'd sit in those cheap, bright orange, plastic chairs, sometimes with me holding an ice pack to my face, and we'd listen to the bully being told very thoroughly why he cannot do this to "poor Tarol here". Then the bully would usually get some kind of punishment like detention or something. He'd often be forced to give me an apology, which he would moan out reluctantly while giving me the required, minimal eye contact. Then the worst part of the whole thing would happen. Far worse than the beating itself. At the time I didn't know it was the worst, most damaging part. At my young age, I barely noticed it happening at all, but it happened every. Single. Time.
A teacher, nurse or principle would decide that everything was smoothed over and then utter a powerful phrase to all of us. "Boys will be boys." This phrase would always get a chuckle out of the adults in the room and sometimes one of them would break into a story about how her son is so mischievous "but what can ya do, right? Boys will be boys."
As I grew up, I began to understand what this phrase was. This was a statement of status quo. I proclamation that this is expected to continue. By saying this in front of the bully, they were saying "Not only is it okay for you to keep beating up kids like Tarol, but if you don't beat them up, you're not a real boy". Although the bully was being lectured and punished, he was ultimately being taught that by beating up the smaller kids, he was an upstanding representation of his demographic. Almost as if he was fulfilling some prophecy that caused the surrounding adults to chuckle, smile at each other and bond over his admirable boyish adventures.
After I discovered what this phrase 'was', I started to wonder why it was said so often. Why, without fail, it was a mandatory part of the whole routine. Eventually, I came to grips with the reason for the phrase's importance. The school was removing responsibility from the bully, sure. But the real reason it was said, was to remove responsibility from the school. If this is all part of some unending force of nature, that "boys will be boys", then the adults can all openly agree that none of this is their fault. This was unavoidable. This has always and will always happen. The adults weren't trying to get the bully to beat me up again next week. They were simply dodging responsibility. Accepting this as "the way things are", placed no blame on them. But taking new steps to try and really stop this from happening again, would have meant that they could have taken those steps earlier, but didn't. It would have exposed the possibility that they were not doing everything that could to keep the kids safe. That previously they were doing a bad job.
"Boys will be boys" was said by the adults for their own benefit. I'm sure many of those adults didn't understand why they liked saying the phrase. They just knew that it made them feel better about everything.
So when Trump said "I mean the world has violence, the world is a violent world", it stood out to me and the same tool as "boys will be boys". Hearing Trump say this leads me to strongly believe that he accepts these shootings as normal and will allow them to continue. The longer they go on, the more it proves that they're not his fault. It's not him at all. It's simply that the world is a violent world.
Now run along and play.
The comic is currently in a three page arc that has Idle explaining how she deals with her curse that requires her to die once a day. A couple times now, the comic has touched upon the physical pain she feels during each death, but right now, she's getting more into the feeling of actually dying. Her feelings of passing from living to dead and how she's learned the best ways to, as she puts it, "let go" during that transition.
I want this skill of hers to be understood by the reader. However, it occured to me last night that her explanation could potentially be seen as the comic advocating suicide. At the time of writing this, no one has brought up such a concern (as far as I know), but I think that suicide is an incredibly serious issue and I'd hate for anyone to think that Idle's description of a "beautiful death" is something that it isn't.
Idle's skill of "letting go" is about seeing something beautiful in something normally seen as scary. Yet at the same time, not devaluing the legitimacy of that fear. I still have one more page that sums up her unique skill, but it is important to me to get the message out right away.
Idle's curse and how she deals with it has nothing to do with suicide. It is not my intention to glamorize suicide or make it seem attractive in any way.
If you're going through something difficult and you need help, here are some contact options...
In the U.S. - Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
In the UK and Ireland - Call the Samaritans at 116 123
In Australia - Call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14
And although I'm not an expert on the subject and can't replace professional help, feel free to tweet to me if this recent arc in my comic has caused you to feel anything confusing or distressing.
So I'm alive and it appears that I'll be staying that way for a long while. Here are the details of how that went down...
On Saturday December 23rd, I was sitting at my desk, drawing stuff. I'd had a pretty bad headache for most of that day, but I get a lot of headaches, so I didn't think much about it. Suddenly, I got super dizzy and nauseous and my headache kicked into a high gear that was new to me. My right eye crossed and gave me double vision. I kept rubbing the eye to try to correct it, but it stayed crossed until it corrected itself a few minutes later. During that time, I sort of... fainted I guess? I remember going limp in my chair, unable to move, but my eyes were kinda open and I was aware. Once that all passed, I was feeling really sick and under a lot of pain, so I laid down for about 45 minutes before getting up again. This was the start of a migraine unlike anything I'd ever felt, that would continue for the next 2 weeks.
With the pain continuing the next day, Danielle drove me to the hospital where they gave me an I.V. drip of Maxeran. We went home, with my headache slightly lessened. The morning after that, we returned to the hospital where they gave me a CT Scan and sat me in a chair, explaining that it'll take them about an hour to get the results looked at by a Neurologist who was in Vancouer (I live in a tiny town that is a ferry trip and a couple hours drive away from the bigger cities). The nurse explained that the Neurologist handles scan reports in order of severity, not in the order they arrive, so it may be longer than an hour.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, a nurse arrived with a wheelchair for me and started wheeling me into a private room filled with a lot of expensive looking, high-tech equipment. As we were entering the room I asked if anything was found on my CT scan.
"Well, we found some bleeding in your brain so we need to decide how to proceed."
"You mean like... aneurysm type stuff?"
Now, I don't know a ton about brain aneurysms, but I know they commonly kill those who get them. Y'know what, here's Sterling Archer to explain better than I could...
They quickly decided to have me immediately helicoptered to Vancouver General Hospital, where there would be much more powerful scanners that would be able to pick up more info on my condition. During all of this, Danielle had yet to shed a single tear. As soon as I was wheeled around a corner on a stretcher (Danielle couldn't come with us on the helicopter), I asked someone to go back and help her. I knew that she was holding it in, to stop from freaking me out and the second they wheeled me away, she was going to break down. It was one of the helicopter pilots who darted back and hugged her. That man's name was Graham. Graham was amazing.
After being injected with some kind of radio active dye and being put through a CT Scan with VGH's much bigger machine, they discovered that what had happened, was a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A doctor said that I was very lucky to still have an active mind without any confusion as to who I was or what was going on.
After a few days of close observation with the nurses taking bloodwork and asking me every 1 to 4 hours if I knew my name, the date, asking me to identify objects in the room, etc (by the way, one morning when the nurse asked me if I knew my name, I said in a very serious tone, "I'm Batman". I couldn't resist.) Anyways, they wanted to do an angiogram just to make absolute certain that they knew everything about the hemmorage. This is where they put some kinda camera thingy into an artery at your groin and snake it up through your body and into your brain looking super duper closely at how it's doing. I remember the doctor casually telling me that there was a small chance that I could have a stroke during this process. I know, right? I was pretty damn scared.
Okay, so here's where it got really weird.
While looking for more info on my subarachnoid hemorrhage, they stumbled upon something else. Something unrelated to the hemmorage. They'd found a dural fistula. From what I understand, I think this is where an artery in the brain is growing into an outer layer and becomes a ticking timebomb that will burst at any moment. It's fatal and from what I've been told, can only be discovered with one of these scary angiogram operations.
From here on out I was no longer talking to one Neurologist. From that point on it was always a team of 4 or 5 of them at once. I was very seriously explained that given the severity of the fistula, I had a 10% to 15% chance of dying per year. If I hadn't had that extremely rare hemmorage that amazingly, didn't kill me or do any damage to my brain, no one would have discovered the fistula. I would have suddenly just dropped dead within the next handful of years. As a friend put it, I'm clearly made of natural 20s.
So I was scheduled for some serious brain surgery to fix the dural fistula. Surgery that, again, could give me a stroke on the operating table. But all went well and after 13 days in the hospital, most of it feeling the worst pain I've ever felt in my life (I admit to crying noises that I didn't know I could make), I was starting to improve and I was finally discharged.
Danielle stayed by my side the entire time. I slept about an hour each night, never more than 10 minutes at a time. She slepted only slightly more than I did, focusing 100% of her attention on me. Between the two of us, her experience was the worse one. I'd rather be the one going through it, than have to watch her go through it and I know she feels the same way.
When we finally got home last night, I could barely stand with a cane. But we put on a good, slow Ed Sheeran song and quietly slow danced together, sobbing. We'd made it. With all of the possible outcomes of this, this was the best one and it had happened.
There was awhile there in the hospital that Danielle and I had both accepted that I wouldn't be surviving this, as everything at the time suggested there wasn't much of a chance of any other outcome. In the middle of the night, I carefully went through a few future scenes from Goblins that she didn't have all of the details on. We both kept breaking down in tears as I spoke. She recorded what I was saying, with her phone. Luckily, she won't need those recordings, though we decided to keep them anyways.
So there it is. My story of how I was dunked in concentrated luck. More than I deserved. Thank you so much for all of the kinds words of support. Currently, I'm still in quite a bit of pain and I'm not up to drawing just yet. But I promise that the moment I'm able, comic updates will return. And since you amazing people funded the Goblins: Animated mega trailer, I'll not have to focus on that campaign along with drawing the pages. We'll see what that does to update frequency.
If you missed out on the Indiegogo campaign, you can still grab yourself some loot if you like. And again, thank you!
For everything. -Tarol
Hello fellow Goblinites. This is Konstantin aka Duke, a friend of Danielle and Tarol's and their "tech dude" so to speak.
As you might have heard already, Tarol suffered an aneurysm about a week ago before Christmas and he had to be rushed to a big hospital via helicopter.
That was a scary shock to all of us, most of all Danielle who's been at his side ever since. Well... and Tarol himself.
(Hence, me doing the blog post updates for now.)
Tarol is in a lot of pain, but lucid and has been recovering over the last few days.
Without throwing around too much medical mumbo jumbo, he'll undergo surgery today in order to get fixed what caused the aneurysm in the first place and what would pose a threat for future events.
Chances are very good that things will go just as planned, but as with all surgeries, there is some risk to it.
Albeit a very low risk.
Whenever there is something worthwhile to say, I'll keep you all updated as best I can, by updating this post instead of posting a new one, to keep all information regarding the situation consolidated here.
Obviously, comic updates are on hiatus for the time being.
If you want to send well wishes, I think the best way would be via Danielle's Twitter (@DragonTurtle) since Tarol has no internet access in the hospital, let alone should he strain himself with devices right now. Danielle will read those to him tho.
On a much lighter note, since Tarol didn't get the chance to update you here in time, the Goblins Animated Indiegogo Campaign was a success and got funded at 105% of its campaign goal!
Matt and Phil are already at work to make it a reality! (A friggin awesome one, I should add!)
You can and should continue to contribute to the campaign tho, since there are stretch goals to snatch!
That's it from me so far.
Thanks for reading and a Happy New (and most importantly, healthy) Year to all of you! <3
I know, I know. Lately, all I've been talking about is this Goblins: Animated campaign. Believe me, I know how that can feel. I've followed actors or comedians who for a time, talk non-stop about their new movie or book. I know how it feels to be tired of hearing about that one project so much.
That being said, this is something that I and others have been working hard on for almost two years. It all comes down to this moment and I admit, it's genuinely terrifying. I'm terrible at this business stuff. Promotion, marketing, demographics... it's just not me.
So this is me simply asking for your help. This is a chance for Goblins to explode into something massive, but I simply can't do it without you. If I can trouble you to throw in a couple bucks and pass the word out, that'd mean everything to me. It's up in the air as to how we'll do. As of writing this, here's where we are...
However this all turns out, my goal is to be able to focus a lot more of my time on the comic. I understand that I say that a lot and the updates are still slow these days. I also understand why the angry emails about the slow updates are written. By creating Goblins, I've essentially asked you to feel some level of passion toward it. So it'd be hypocritical of me to blame those of you who are angry about the slower updates.
Whether you're able to support Goblins: Animated or not, I'm really thankful to you for simply reading my work. Thank you.
First and formost, I want to offer every ounce of thanks that I have, to those that jumped in to support Goblins: Animated, over at Kickstarter. Thank you so much!
We've looked at the campaign and listened to the feedback we were getting from you. We decided that the best thing to do, was to cancel this campaign and restart it over at Indiegogo, with some much needed improvements. With these improvements, we're very confident that we'll be able to bring this cartoon series to life.
So please stop on by to help us make this a reality!