I feel loved. And guilty. And grateful.

I have a lot of feelings right now.

Love. Gratefulness. Fear. Excitement. Unworthiness. Confusion. Guilt. Disbelief. Courage.

I’m on day 4 of my Kickstarter campaign to fund my first full-color comic book, “My Life in Japan” (which I wrote about here). I asked people on the internet to pre-order books by pledging money, asking for a total of $4,500 over a 14 day period to cover the cost of printing and shipping 1000 copies of the book. I closed my eyes and fell back into the abyss of the internet, hoping people would catch me.

My project reached 100% funding in less than three hours. They caught me.

And as of day 4, 1000+ people have pledged $34,000+ to read and support my book. 

I was talking to my sister yesterday and she asked how I was feeling.

Excited, of course! I wrote back. I can’t believe it!! AHHHHHH

I am feeling excited. I can’t remember the last time I was filled with this much nervous, thriving energy. I’m on fire with creativity.

But there are also a whole slew of other feelings fighting for control and how I really feel at any one point in time depends on what is currently winning.

Guilt is the hardest to deal with. Because honestly, I feel so much guilt for the things people have given me.

I know that’s wrong.

I have no right to feel guilty because feeling guilty for a gift or for support is an insult to the giver’s generosity. I have no right to dictate who can and cannot support my art based on their financial or economic situation.

It is the giver’s choice to give freely, I tell myself every time I read a message from a high schooler who says my comics have given him the motivation to make it through school or a single mom who watches my videos and laughs every night with her daughter, and who now want to give something back as a “thank you.”

Don’t! I want to write back. It’s not worth it. Seriously. Use your money some other way, please. 

This is an especially difficult feeling to wrestle with because every month between 85% and 95% of Ryosuke and my combined income comes from people who support us (donations, book sales, monthly support on Patreon, ad views on videos, etc).

The more I thought about it, I realized I don’t actually feel guilt.

I feel this overwhelming rush of gratitude, so much that I don’t know what to do with it.

Sometimes it makes me giddy with laughter and other times I break down crying. I feel huge, important, loved – on top of the world – and I feel small, insignificant, unworthy.

I have so many feelings and I don’t know what to do with them.

So I continue to make art. I channel all these feelings into something new and beautiful. And I desperately hope that the giver finds it “worth it.”

This isn’t fair, I think sometimes in the safety of my home.

How can they give me this precious thing? Why do they think my art is worth it?

I don’t know.

But I’m grateful. For everything. 

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About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

38 Comments on I feel loved. And guilty. And grateful.

  1. You should read Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’ – she talks about feeling too guilty to ask for help funding artistic projects online, and how she finally came to terms with asking for help and realising she deserved it, and that there is nothing wrong with asking people who want to help to help! I think you would like it. The audiobook is also great. :)

  2. Anonymous // 23 March, 2016 at 3:25 pm //

    HI, where can I buy the poop hat? You two are lovely people. Thank you.

  3. I just recently discover your videos and it surprise me a lot to see how much effort and thought you put in your project. I’m here discouraging myself on making digital drawings because photoshoot is too hard for me or because i dont have those special pencils and tablets other ppl have, but then i saw you doing your comic in paint, and even then you dare to say “feel free to judge me because i use paint” But believe me Grace, I wasn’t judging you. I was feeling so inspired and amazed that you were doing this amazing work with a pen and paint and full on creativity + talent when i am here just making excuses for myself. I had a sudden feeling that i had long forgotten, and i am so grateful for you to take that feeling back to me that it sure seems fair to me that you are receiving this much support. I wish u all the luck and love of the world :) I am now a fan hehe.

  4. I cannot afford to back you guys on kickstarter myself. In fact, my own kick starter failed. x_X I am starting to understand why though! Not enough effort on my part for one. ALL OF THAT ASIDE! Maybe, if Ryouske were kind enough, I could buy a poop hat at a later time down the road. My husband is in love with them. If not, I completely understand! Thank you.

  5. Grace,

    Your comics are the first comics I have ever gotten into because hey are real. They don’t feature some macho man trying to save the world from a naked mole rat. They feature real people. Those people are hilarious, energetic, inspiring, witty, and creative. They make the impossible, possible. These two people know what a bad hair day is. These two people know that life isn’t perfect, but they still strive to make the best out of every situation. Your comics are amazing.

    You deserving everything that is coming your way and a whole lot more. I totally understand how it feels to get ridiculous amounts of praise just for doing what you love to do. It can, at times, feel scary, knowing that one is reaching far and wide to thousands, if not millions, of people. But you still deserve it.

    Keep being you, Grace. :-)

    ~KM

  6. I am so proud of you Grace! And thank you Ryosuke for supporting Grace through all of this <3 I was in tears by the end of this article. Thank you for showing people that with hard work and passion we can all do something with our lives. I can't wait till I get my books ^^

  7. Wow wow wow! This is wonderful and you both deserve it. Keep changing the world, two people at a time!

  8. Hey Grace! I am a pretty big fan of you guys. I always watch all your videos & read all your comics (mostly sneak watching/reading it while at work xD). It brings me so much joy & helps me get through my day…

    I have to say i am inspired by what you and Ryosuke are doing! It must be scary to sacrifice so much for your dreams not knowing if you will succeed or not; but ultimately its very brave and i can imagine very satisfying.

    I read your post today with tears in my eyes, both touched by your words and feeling how much i can relate to your battle with your inner insecurities. I could feel you somehow channeled my thoughts and wrote exactly how i feel most of the time and it touched me deeply.

    I truly hope you continue fighting for your dreams no matter how hard or scary it gets. I wish you & Ryosuke all the happiness the world has to offer, cuz you guys are awesome people who in turn give so much joy to thousands of those who watch/ read your comics :) <3

  9. THANK YOU for creating such lovely comics. I love drawing myself and have a comic idea I want to start but I’ve been putting it off for fear of not being skilled enough at drawing. Seeing your comics posted online and also now owning one of your books+meeting you and Ryosuke in person inspires me to just put my work out there. Can’t wait for your latest book (and Ryosuke’s hand made poop hat lol) ^^

  10. You have given so much of yourself and I’m glad that I can finally give something back. Your posts and blogs about life in Japan and in particular your experiences as a self-publisher have given me guidance and strength. Last year you posted about how someone said that what you do on youtube is not a ‘real’ job. What you said in that post meant so much to me and gave me the strength to finally be able to look people in the eye and tell them that what I do is a real job. Y’all are the best <3

  11. You’ve shared a piece of yourself with us. That isn’t a small thing. Many people struggle to do that even with those close to them and yet you do that everyday with strangers over the internet. The fact that you are willing to take that risk, and to do a “trust fall” with us on kickstarter, makes me feel like you believe in us. You are here for us, so we naturally want to be here for you.

    That piece of you that you share is worth so much more than you can ever raise on KS or anywhere else, so don’t feel guilty. Feel loved because you are.

  12. Honestly I just feel happy to be able to support a little bit of your work. I haven’t given much, however it’s totally kind of weird how I’m completely obsessed with you guys! Everytime that you post a new video I feel so happy inside! And this is totally stupid but sometimes I do feel like I’m right there with you and your husband.
    I understand how you feel guilty, but you really shouldn’t. It really shows how much effort you put on your work (comics, video, blog posts) and people do appreciate that. That’s why we’re happy to support you! You work really hard. (and I completely relate to your sense of humor :D)

  13. I remember clicking the link and saw it was way over and though “no rush then” and forgot to pledge after haha I will buy it on Kindle if you plan to put it there of course ^^

  14. You are so amazing and so worthy of all of this recognition and so much more. I am so proud of you even though I don’t particularly ‘know you like that,’ but through you blog and books and whatnot I do feel a sense of ‘Grace, you did it!’ When I saw how fast this project got funded.
    I am a huge believer of hard work paying off and I think that it what all of this is. (Though I am sure you know all that already.) I wish you nothing but the best for your book and am excited for the new one! <3

  15. Steven Files // 23 February, 2016 at 10:51 am //

    IMO, this is one of the benefits of crowd-funding websites like the one you mentioned. To us, it’s a tiny amount that probably won’t be missed. But multiply that by a bunch of people who want you guys to succeed it rapidly becomes a large sum of money.

    I’ve always wanted to live in Japan and the culture is so fascinating but I cannot at the moment so channels like yours and Rachel and Jun help me live vicariously through you guys.

    Keep up the good work~

  16. I randomly came across your videos about a year ago? You bring joy and educate us. This is just my way of saying, “Thank you” and “Keep doing art”. In college I was almost an art major I know what is like to make art (for me it’s photography) and put it out there, my husband is a writer. We get it. Also, my husband totally plans on backing y’all so he can have a poop hat.

  17. Creating such art and then feeling guilt? Oh don’t worry about such things because you give people something they can spend time on and even become fans of. There is a reason you have so many views on your blog, so many subscribers on youtube and ofcourse so many backers after so short time for this new book. Just continue, it is great and I am really looking forward how everything will develope for you two in the next years :)

  18. I came across your channel on YouTube about a month ago and I instantly fell in love with it. I then checked out your blog and what you have online for your comic and over the expanse of everything I can see more than anything the time you have committed to it all. You and Ryosuke are so adorable to watch, and share your lives with us AND are entertaining. I want to continue to see Japan through your eyes, whether it be in comic, blog or vlog. And I feel my contribution to Kickstarter is more than worth that.

    Thank you for sharing your lives with us!

    <3 Lots of love from Colorado!

  19. Do not feel guilt…. ever. You help me get through my nights with insomnia. Watching you and Ryosuke tell me a little about Japan and your adventures makes the time I would be staring at the walls go by fast.. Our support of you is a way for us to say thank you.. it’s also a way for those of us to appreciate your art.. art that we get. I hope that you reach $50K so you make a nice profit and can continue on your adventures (sharing I hope)

  20. We LOVE you and Ryosuke, and while we are not always able to financially give to you guys and your art, my entire household loves to sit down together and watch your videos every time I tell them you have uploaded something new. You make us smile with Ryosuke’s antics and make us laugh at your interactions with each other that shows an obvious love and genuine affection for one another. We have learned so many things from you that my family feels as though you are part of it, that even though we have never spoken you have welcomed us into your home and shown us a wonderful culture. I someday wish to move to Japan and I think one of my main goals will be to blog and upload videos, just like you both do, showing people what an amazing place it is and why it has such a draw to so many.

  21. You both give so much to all of us, it is only fair to receive as much in return. Thank you both for making this crazy world a little bit happier and brighter.

  22. Congrats on the achievement!! <3 Even since I came across your channel/blog the end of last year, I had my fingers crossed you'd have a Kickstarter so I could get all your books. Super excited that the project was more than successful!!! What is given or offered is always in relation to what you have offered (give or take). You guys deserve it. Good job!

  23. I was so glad you kickstarted your new book, I just found your channel about a month ago and was getting ready to buy your old books, but now I can get them all in one go.
    Love your channel! Can’t wait for my visit to Japan!

  24. As noted above, DITTO, DITTO, DITTO from me. As some people might say, ‘you get what you give’ or ‘what goes around comes around.’ Ryosuke and you give us readers a lot. So……

    Maybe with more time and experience you’ll feel less ‘guilty’ based on your self doubts and skip right to ‘grateful.’ Savor the success. And use the good feelings, and the money, as a reserve for the times ahead when you might need them.

  25. Grace, you are both just amzing and you really put a lot of your own time and money on us, your subscribers so please dont feel guilty.

  26. I’m a new subscriber but after reading this I feel really happy for you and just wanted to say a big congratulations !! I can tell you put a lot of effort into these comics so you deserve every bit of the support you got ^^ your passion for comic-book writing also really shows through so keep doing what you love and I’m sure you will have much more supporters <3

  27. Ryosuke and you make people happy. You deserve anything in the world.

  28. Look at it this way, you can put the surplus in savings for occasions when income is lagging. You could do an extra project with the extra money. Look at it as being paid in advance. :)

  29. We love you guys so, so much. :)

    You two have created an internet family, and as a family we support eachother. Thank you for the content you create and the life you share with us. This support is not undeserved.

    You two are great, kind, fun, and hard-working people. We want to see you succeed, and this funding gave us a way of showing it. We should really be thanking you! :) Love you guys!

  30. I understand the urge to scream, “I’m not worthy!” I do it at even the hint of a compliment. It took me YEARS to be able to simply say “thank you.”

    Congrats, and I’ll just remind you that you are, indeed, worthy.

  31. Can you feel the pulse now? :D

    That’s the thing about gratitude. True gratitude doesn’t stop with one person. It’s all about paying it forward and loving on others because we were loved on first. We’re blessed to have you and Ryosuke sharing your world and your talent with us, and we’re more than happy to return the favor.

    And really, who can pass up the opportunity to snag a poop hat?

  32. …congratulations! very happy for you!!!!!…now get to work! lol

  33. Prob obvious, but commenting anyway: your works always give me joy and so…”Take my money!” (que futurama meme) XD

  34. Grace, I love how genuine your post/books are. People gladly donate to support such an honest, beautiful person! You and Ryosuke DESERVE it. You willing show us your lives together and it is such a great view. Keep up the good work, you two.

  35. Chris Keppler (@StriderShinryu) // 22 February, 2016 at 2:18 pm //

    For me, it’s not so much that your art is worth it (though it is!). it’s more that you are worth it. You and Ryosuke are such lovely people that give so much of yourselves to us. Being able to give back, even just a little, and let you keep doing what you so obviously love is important to us.

  36. This is a lovely blog post. :) Even those of us who aren’t self-supported entrepreneurs like you can relate to these emotions. Sometimes life is just overwhelming in its generosity and the result is a weird combination of guilt and gratitude. Well done capturing and articulating the tension between those two things.
    And a huge congratulations on this next project! Looking forward to being a part of its readership.

  37. The Art of Asking!

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