November 1, 2021 • By Christine Pasalo Norland

On Grace

Two months into building Hello Barkada has come with many realizations. Good habits and poor ones have shown themselves. Self doubt is a constant nag.


For instance, publishing new content on the website is followed by a time-sucking carousel of reviewing each Hello Barkada social media profile over and over to see if followers reacted in some way to the content. My internal dialogue goes something like, "Instagram? No. How about Twitter? Yay! How about LinkedIn?" and so on.


It's not smart and only serves to slow one down, like when the main characters in a movie continue to look back at what's chasing them as they're running away from it. Enabling the addiction built into the use of those platforms is time that could be better served planning ahead, slaying another task, or claiming a moment of rest.


Thankfully, reflection exists in more constructive ways. Like this essay and writing a quiet part out loud.


Reflection also rewards when we pause to take in the view. Two months in and I've experienced the endorphin rush of regularly hearing "yes" to my ideas. "Yes," plain and simple. "Yes" followed by sincere and earnest action to make it happen. "Yes" accompanied with trust, not disbelief or suspicion. "Yes" coupled with support.


"Laneha House Gets Animated" happened because Breena Nuñez and Lawrence Lindell agreed to a video call. "Trinidad Escobar Believes" happened because Trinidad made time to answer questions over email. Hello Barkada Comics is a thing because Maxi Rodriguez, Angel Trazo, Tatum Begay, and Breena Nuñez said "yes" and delivered their works by our agreed submission date.


"Celebrating Jackie Ormes" happened because Steenz said yes to the idea in an Instagram DM before I pitched it to Regine Sawyer, the founder of Women in Comics Collective International (WinC). It happened because Regine followed with "yes," plain and simple. It happened because Bianca Xunise and Barbara Brandon-Croft said they were in over email. It happened because Barbara, Bianca, Steenz, Regine, and I acted with intent and immediacy to coordinate a date and time for the event. It happened because Barbara, Bianca, Steenz, Regine, and WinC members and followers helped spread the word of the event over social media. It happened because energy was never wasted responding to "Why Jackie Ormes?" because the question never came up.


Yeah, I've got some bad habits to break. And true, I've got to find a way to be cordial with self doubt. But damn:


This is what it's like to work without microaggressions. This is what it's like to work by the grace of a like-minded community.


Now that I know, I won't ever give it up.


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Updated December 20, 2021 to include the full list of comics artists published this year.

TAGS: ESSAYS

White text says, "Allowed with MariNaomi. On Thursday, October 13, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. PT, join @HelloBarkada on IG Live as we chat with Bay Area-based cartoonist and comics veteran MariNaomi about friendships, memory, and their upcoming collage-comics memoir I Thought You Loved Me." Text on a darkened photo of MariNaomi and a page from the memoir.