Anonymous, 2019: accepting that fear as normal

How to read this transcript: An overall description is provided to give a sense of the style and aesthetic of the comic for those who are unable to view the images. The transcript is then broken down by page and by panel. Individual panels are denoted by page#.panel# (ex: 1.3 is page one, panel three). Any words spoken in the panel are written after this #.# signifier, followed by a bracketed description of actions occuring or other important visual changes.

Overall description: This comic is comprised of loose, sketchy pencil illustrations of an anonymized figure (white, non-binary, short hair, goatee, collared sweater, dark pants, seated) usually shown from the waist up or as close-ups of their hands. These images are interspersed with xerox transfers of photographs. Text is hand-written in all caps withiout speech bubbles. Panels are rectangular grids except where otherwise noted.

Page One:

1.1: Um, I guess as far back as I can remember, like... I just wanted to be "normal?" And I kind of knew I wasn't "normal." [waist-up, making finger quotes]

1.2: Like, whether that was some sort of innate sense of queerness, or just innate sense of... [close-up of hands gripping each other in their lap]

1.3: Nng... Being different, or, um, having... according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability. [hands are fidgeting]

1.4: Just not wanting to stand out and just wanting to go along and get along. And not have anyone be mean to me. Um... [waist-up, smiling sadly]

1.5: And I feel like most activism or at least the classic sense of activism is being out there and making yourself vulnerable. [montage of xerox transfers of various protestors being arrested or otherwise harrassed or injured. Each image is in a triangular panel, the four of them coming together to form one long rectangle across the width of the page. From left to right: 1) people with their hands up 2) activist in a wheelchair with her arms cuffed behind her back and being pushed by a uniformed cop 3) injured protestors being treated for their injuries 4) elderly activist with her hands ziptied together and a cop leading her by the elbow]

1.6: And I don't like to be vulnerable. [long rectangular panel. Figure is seen from the waist-up, spotlighted with the background fading to darkness around the edges]

Page Two:

2.1: Um. Yeah. [shoulders-up, head nodding side to side]

2.2: Like talking on this tape! Even though I volunteered to do this! [chest-up, laughing]

2.3: "Well, that's fair. I feel the same way when I'm in front of the camera." [borderless panel, my hands outlined in ink holding a smart phone that shows the recording in pencil. My speech is in a speech bubble. On the screen, the figure is rubbing their neck and saying "*sigh* Yeah, so..."]

2.4: I guess after the election, I had this sense that, like, I need to do something. And, like, I need to be more active. [Borderless panel. Figure sits at the left of the page rubbing their neck. Right side of the page is a xerox transfer that fades into a US flag and a rally in Boston]

2.5: But I still don't know how to... do that? And still feel... safe? [torso and upper legs, sitting on a chair, right arm out of view as they are still rubbing their neck, left hand on their thigh]

2.6: Even though just, like, in general, you know, I don't feel 100% safe. [both hands on their knees, fingers spread and hands relaxed]

2.7: And especially after the election... [hands tensed into loose fists]

Page Three:

3.1: I was ready to, like, run to Canada. [xerox transfer of overlapping post-election headlines, including "Canada sees a steep rise in US asylum seekers" and "Refugees asking for asylum in Canada argue the US is no longer safe"]

3.2: And so maybe now that I'm, um, feeling less need to [long, dark panel showing hands fidgeting]

3.3: grab everything and drive to Canada on short notice, [long, dark panel showing hands fidgeting]

3.4: that kind of urge to... to be an activist has kind of dwindled. [from chest to knees, hands fidgeting in their lap]

3.5: And just, y'know, watching the special counsel investigation and just going, "Okay... Maybe this'll take care of the situation." [xerox transfer of the special counsel investigation shown on the screen of a hand-drawn smart phone]

3.6: *sigh* But there's this pessimistic part of me that thinks that removing him from office will just make things worse. [from mid-shins up, hands fidgeting in lap, face half in shadow]

3.7: And that kind of angst will reemerge and we'll just be back where we were in November '16. [xerox transfer of a Civil War reenactor overlain with headlines reading "Another Civil War? Pessimism About Political Violence Deepsn In A Divided Nation" and "'The civil war lies on us like a sleeping dragon': American's deadly divide and why it has returned."]

3.8: And I just don't know what to do about it. [waist-up, head turned to the right, hands gripping in their lap. The figure is spotlighted, with dark fading in around the edges of the panel]

3.9: Like, I know I had kind of made a commitment to try to do something each day to make the world a better place, [waist-up, gripping hands in lap, looking toward the camera]

Page Four:

4.1: but that's kind of... fallen by the wayside. And part of that is just dealing with my own crap in my life. Um. [waist-up, looking into the camera]

4.2: But I do *sigh* I do feel kind of guilty about that, still. [shoulders-up, looking distraught]

4.3: And, like, I'd made a commitment to try and make my family see the reason, um, why the election was so upsetting to me. But, ahh, I just kind of lost... [long, rectangular panel showing only hands as they fidget anxiously. The pair of hands repeats in a gridlike pattern with subtly changes in position as they fidget, repeating four times across the page, then another four times below the top row]

4.4: After a couple of arguments, I just kind of lost the... the... motivation to do it? [chest-up, looking distraught]

4.5: It just, I don't know. Again, the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. [closeup on fidgeting hands against a dark background]

4.6: And accepting... second-class status, or accepting that... that fear as normal. [closeup of hands clapsing each other tightly in fists against a dark background]

4.7: Um. But being too afraid to do anything about it. [waist-up, looking defeated]