In my last blog post I posted a comic that I was hesitant to put online (the bottom comic with me and My bf in bed together). I feel really vulnerable when showing it to people, it's a conversation that most people would keep private.
I often get anxiety before putting a comic on my social media (Twitter and Tumblr ; I will eventually get an Instagram when I run out of business cards that only list my two current social media accounts). But occasionally, I don't just feel anxiety, I get genuinely scared. Some of it makes sense; Everything's Fine is all about me being insane, so it's understandable why it would make me feel a bit exposed to be putting it out into the world. Safe is an example of where I felt insanely vulnerable putting it online, even though it's not apparent why. I won't go into why I felt that way here, but it is an extremely personal comic for me despite being fictional.
All of these works can be found just by googling me. All of my social media and this website are under my name, and I am the only Anna Sellheim on the internet (with the exception of an Anna Sellheim that died in the late 1800s that you can find if you go through the first few pages of google), so people see my stuff and thus know some very intimate details about my life.
The reason I post my work here and elsewhere, the reason I actually make comics, is to connect with other people. It's an odd, very niche way to go about it, but that is my motivation to stay productive. I make comics of things that I feel compelled to express. That's why I really don't do fan art or commission work. That's why I really have never drawn anyone else's script (though I would be open to that maybe, if it was the right script for the right price). As such, my work doesn't connect with everyone. It doesn't connect with the majority of people. But when my work does resonate with people, it resonates hard. I might have less than 1000 followers on tumblr, I may not have a published book, or ever won a comic related award but there is a guy out there with my avatar tattooed on his freaking arm. When I exhibited at TCAF, my sales were slower than anyone else in my section. The guy next to me literally had a line so long that it often blocked my table. But people that bought my stuff on Saturday went out of their way to come back on Sunday and tell me that they loved what they had bought (almost every one of these was about Everything's Fine: And On And On- available in print here or as a PDF here. This made me really happy because that and Safe are the two comics that I am most proud of).
For a while I thought my comics might be a barrier to connecting with me in real life. After all, I am more than just my mental health baggage. I am more than just solid fictional work. But then I landed a boyfriend because he read my stuff and really liked it. I've made new friends because of them, and have strengthened old friendships because of them.
So I will keep posting work that comes from a private place, an intimate place. And I will always appreciate when people take the time to read them, despite it often being scary as hell.