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I think my life would have played out very differently had I stayed in NJ, yes. Yes, it is much more liberal than most of the rest of Texas. There’s a lot more about me and my life that isn’t in the book, and will never be a part of my public persona, and that’s really just to protect myself. Many teenagers out of step with their environment end up seeking connection on social media.
It’s a struggle though – people read Spinning and feel like they know me. Did you eventually find a community or space online that became important to you? I never felt entirely comfortable online, I don’t think it’s ever really suited me.
I need to be great at this.” And that of course led me to think “I will be great at this. I was very conscious that I was putting that in SPINNING. I wanted people to know that I felt desire towards women and girls at the age of 6. Just because I was too young to have the words to explain how I felt doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel it. There’s a musical called Spring Awakening, and that changed everything for me.
Everybody in the stories is queer and it’s built into the world so there’s no real structural homophobia (though as we expand the world to other nations and continents we’re playing with different forms of structural oppression based on gender and sexuality, as well as class). Reading it felt so intimate, I kept flashing back to my own teenage memories.So much about being a teenager is about learning what you do or don’t have control over. Which sort of endlessly cracks me up and also makes me feel a little weird, haha.I was sick to my stomach with nerves at the first story summit, because I wanted everybody to like me, to think I was smart and creative, and also I wanted to find a way to put my own mark on the series.It was a stressful balance, but it also seemed like what I wanted was what everybody wanted: to create something awesome and come out the other side friends.
And good lord, does that parallel me and my comics.