4 min read

...Unless it comes with solidarity and action

New mini-comic zine and all my little note-to-selfs

I was subletting a room in Koreatown last March when my friend Anika sent me a little collage and a post-it note that read “REACH OUT TO PEOPLE” It made me get all weepy. A lot of the stuff that Anika makes has a tendency to do that, all in a good way. I needed that reminder in the before times, and I certainly need it now. I tend to get in my own little loner zone and not call anyone, but I’m getting better at it.

Someone I admire gave me a nice compliment recently, so I wrote it on a post-it note and put it on the wall in front of my desk. Years ago, I put a post-it with Iron Chic lyrics on my bedroom door. I have a custom made banner in my bedroom that says “NO RETREAT. NO SURRENDER.” because I like mantras and grew up in New Jersey so I’m pretty sure that one is legally required.

These reminders can be helpful, but they’re not everything. No amount of “you’re doing great!” is going to fully convince me of anything. Anxiety is wonderful at making sure of that. These reminders also don’t account for things like economics and capitalism and discrimination and Mitch McConnell and access to education and all the other hurdles affecting how people get from Point A to Point B. A single beautifully hand-lettered ode to gratitude isn’t going to heal those things because it’s not just a matter of mindset. Obviously.

My fascination with mantras and encouraging text informs taking further action towards things like universal healthcare, access to therapy and mental health services, prison abolition, or restorative justice. It’s useful to keep some positivity around but JUST KEEP SWIMMING isn’t paying your medical bills or stopping a cop from arresting you for walking while Black. The notion that if you work long and hard enough you’ll succeed just isn’t that simple (or true), but I think that all the hang-in-there-kitten vibes are starting to convince more people that it is.

There’s a lot in the world that tells you that you can’t - you shouldn’t - someone else already did that - why bother - it’s gonna hurt me. You hear it enough and you just start saying it to yourself automatically. It’s easier to back off than it is to try to draw that thing or write those songs or apply for that dream job or go to that demonstration or just reach out to people. When you keep working hard but not moving forward, it’s incredibly easy to just let the apathy and fear win.

Artists deal with this a lot and it’s something I’ve talked to my partner Cassia about quite a bit. We both deal with imposter syndrome because everyone does, but we get to poke fun at each other when we start sounding far too critical of ourselves. So we decided to make something inspired by that.

Cassia and I have been working on this mini-comic-zine called You Can Do It for a few months now, originally sketched up at Helen Jo’s zine workshop back when you could have an in-person zine workshop. Our idea was that I would draw motivational phrases and Cassia would draw a little inner-critic monster who would respond to each of them with something discouraging and mean. We wanted to use the format to show how ridiculous and baseless that inner voice is so much of the time and illustrate how to work through fear and doubt.

I gave paid subscribers a link to this a few days ago, but the remainder are now on sale to whoever else wants one! Edition of 60 - $6.50 including US shipping (email us for international postage).

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You can follow Cassia on Instagram too. You can also find my art insta here.

Stay tuned for more collaborative projects like this and thanks for reading!

**custom banner in the photo up top by Jordan Swartz**


To those who are imploring that  I “choose love and light and peace” over my outrage and anger in regard to racism in this country I need you to listen to me:

Love is ensuring the most marginalized receive justice!

Light is ensuring the darkest areas of our society get seen & held accountable for their harmful actions!

Peace is the ability for black people to know that the color of our skin won’t determine our safety, opportunity and livelihood!

With that being said the only way you’ll TRULY be sending me your love and light is through your intentional and tangible solidarity and action.

If my anger towards injustice makes you more uncomfortable than the injustices themselves then you are indeed part of the problem.

Spiritual bypassing as it relates to race: a gaslighting technique in which someone from the white community insists on dismissing the lived experiences of an oppressed or marginalized group in the name of “love”, “light” or “peace”.

This perceived higher morality is really just their white privilege materializing as the option to opt out of acknowledging or engaging in a reality they aren’t directly affected by.

Good morning 🌞tag the people you’re learning with.

Art by @jeeheipark

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