“You have a dark side,” a friend said to me.
Other friends have said it, and they are right to a certain degree.
It’s not that I seek out the darkness or that my life is miserable. It’s that the special gift of living with bipolar is that even when life is in complete perfect order, there’s a veil hovering, waiting to fall.
Sometimes it’s just dark tulle. Other times it’s a freaking burkha, constricting and smothering even the most creative impulses.
Summer the veil didn’t just lift – it was shredded. It was space exploration. It was an age of discovery as I rebooted a cartoon I’d started over a year ago but had not fed very well. Stumbling over a way to marry two avocations – doodles and documents – that had been staring me in the face for quite some time gave me something completely unexpected.
I’m not the class clown. In group settings I can never find the right words, so when cartoon feedback came in saying I was funny (people who had never seen my face even), I was shocked, shocked I tell you.
I won’t lie. Flattery works on me. It worked enough to get me to commit to a toon a day just to increase the odds of getting an ego-boosting email (I also love tooning in and dropping housework).
And as it happens, committing yourself to daily creative toon-foolery is a great way to avoid having yourself committed (I can ‘t predict what the kids will do on that score). Finding the funny moments on an upswing is like finding grass in a haystack. It’s a little harder finding the funny going the other way, but committing to it even once a day turns out to be a great coping mechanism.
It’s a less permanent but still powerful prozac that ironically sometimes finds a more interesting funny. And it’s helped me find something else.
“You’ve found your voice,” a recent email from a toon reader read, and, like my friends, she was right too.