I wish I could say it began with the end of the world. That the illness began with the pandemic. That my life paused when everyone else’s did. But that just wasn’t true. Fact is, I’d been on pause for a while. I was bored, unhappy, and I’d long since abandoned any agency I had in changing the matter. I came rationalize my malaise as the natural result of an unprecedented upheaval of normalcy, but in truth, I knew the ills plaguing me far predated the pandemic. I knew the feelings of self-loathing, of inadequacy, of ennui, of listlessness; those demons existed far before the apocalypse. The circumstances only served to exacerbate them. Without the mundane distraction of everyday life, I had nothing to prevent me from spiraling down, deep into the well of worthlessness and despair. And without the privilege of interaction with others, I had no one to pull me out from the abyss. Or, so it seemed, at the time. See, it’s often in those profoundly ugly lows that we finally begin to find ourselves. It’s when we begin to examine what isn’t working, and why it isn’t. When our needs become eminently clear to us, and we begin to understand how to meet those needs ourselves.  It’s when we finally learn to define ourselves on our own terms. Perhaps more accurately, redefine. For a long time, I had been defining myself only in comparison. To others, yes, but more so to ideas. Specifically, the idea of who I should be. I idolized that so heavily, I came to hate the person I was currently. This exhaustive inner conflict became the basis for my comic strip, “RAD!”, in which meek comic artist “Raf” meets the fantastical cartoon version of himself, dubbed “RAD!”. The two diametrically opposed personalities must learn to coexist, and more importantly, accept each other. While the comic is very much in its infancy stage (2/3 through the coloring process of the first page as of the time of writing), it’s been one of the ways I’ve been learning to define myself, so to speak. A tremendous step on the road to self-acceptance and discovery I’m happy to say I’m still trekking.

Thanks for stickin’ all the way through to the end! Worry not, dear reader, your loyalty shall soon be rewarded. Here’s a sneak peak of “RAD!” #1 !

See you in the next one!


One thought on “RADefinition!

  1. Lauren Melendez

    Hi Rafael,
    Wow! You really were able to rise like a Phoenix from it’s ashes during this pandemic. I really like that you spent time with the identity questions you had about yourself and instead of letting this inner conflict defeat you, you were able to reinvent yourself through your comic strip you created! I love that your comic was able to create a alter ego. We all literally have many sides to us and this is such a artistic and creative form of expression for showing just that. I look forward to seeing more of “Rad”!

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