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.