why penny arcade strip search was important for me…

This is the story of a very small, very terrified, very determined girl.

When she was little, she wanted to write, and she wanted to draw. She wanted to make pictures to go along with her words, because it made her happy.

When she was in her teens, she decided to write political cartoons involving mice. She loved the silliness of presidential races and figured who doesn’t like looking at mice that are dressed in suits having a debate about which one of them should be president?

The girl loved to share what she did with her friends and family. She loved their giggles and the joy something she loved brought to their faces.

Then she went to college where she decided to major in graphic design. Her first semester, she had a drawing teacher that told her to give up. He said she had no ability and she should drop out of his class and switch majors. She asked him if there was anything she could do to improve and stay, but he told her that some people have no talent, and she was one of those people. So she focused on her writing, and switched her major to English.

Her sketches moved to journals that she kept mostly to herself.

In college, the girl made many friends. Some of them were supportive when she showed them her doodles, and some of them were not. One of them continually told her that drawing was not her gift, and her sketches and doodles were silly.

The girl believed her friend, and she gave up entirely. There were no more sketches in journals, no more doodles to show.

One day, the girl was feeling blue and decided she wanted pictures with her writing again. She decided that it was time to give drawing another try. Her confidence was still shattered, and she was unsure where to start, but she knew she had to give it a shot. So, she started a comic, and began drawing backgrounds for it.

The girl had a friend who pushed her to be better and believe in herself. Her friend wanted her to enter a competition, and the girl was unsure if she should. However, the friend was convincing, and the girl decided to send in an application. She had very little hope of moving on in the competition, but just sending in the application felt like a big step to her.

On her way to work several weeks after turning in the application, the girl got an email saying she had made the first cut. She was stunned! How could it be? There must have been a mistake. Maybe she had misread the missive? No, she had made the top 100. Then, a couple weeks later, she received a second congratulatory email, she had made the top 40!

She felt as if she was living in a dream. People believed in her. People thought she was worth not just a second, but a third look! It was almost more than she could bear. The girl suddenly had the confidence of her youth back. Suddenly she felt like the teenager drawing political comics, and the small girl drawing pictures to go with her stories. She was renewed, she was whole again.

When the final round for the competition came, she got a different email, this one was a rejection. However, it was not a soul-crushing rejection. She had made it to the top 40, and that was so much more than she could have imagined. After a quick cry, and a deep breath, she smiled and moved forward to other possibilities, thankful for what the competition had done for her. This was not the end to her fairy tale, there were more happily ever afters to pursue.