Life usually shifts in small, unnoticed ways.
This isn’t a new idea. There are reams of words written on slow shifts – how we often accept a norm without thought or make small compromises on our way towards our goals, and suddenly… things are different then they used to be. Life, is usually passive and requires our quiet consent. Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be quiet.
On Sunday, I started the day with a panic attack. This tends to happen on occasions where I confront the idea of death. As it turns out, I’m not a fan of inevitabilities that are beyond my control and the idea of a stop, sudden or otherwise, fills my heart with dread and my lungs with poison. Danica calmed me down, as she always does, and I walked through the day with a brain filled with a dangerous electricity.
During these post-panic phases, I usually find myself reenergized. As ludicrous as this might sound, I repeat a mantra I discovered from comics – specifically an issue of Fantastic Four that was written by Matt Fraction a few years back. In the issue, Reed is confronting his own mortality in an overly bombastic super heroic way, and has left a message for his children. He speaks about not believing in an afterlife or a higher power, and notes that while some people find that possibility to be bleak, he derives power from it. He discards the idea that nothing matters if this is all there is. In fact, he states that if this is all there is, then everything we do now matters. How could it not? If this is it… if this is all we have… then it is only our actions now that have consequence.
I carry that idea with me. It is what fuelled me to start up a comic store with my wife, and it has been the fire behind the way we run our business, and the decisions that we have made for it. People often ask why we choose to be so outspoken about representation in pop culture as a business entity, when we could merely sell the product with greater ease by keeping our mouths shut. The reason? Our actions matter. Our inactions matter. It all matters.
In the past few months, there have been a lot of changes in my life – the most public of which was the moving of Variant Edition’s from Oliver, to the west end. This was a decision born from the idea that everything we do, matters. When it became obvious that the store’s original form wasn’t going to work with three different parties involved with very different ideas, we split, instead of letting things linger. Time, after all, is a limited quantity, and why waste what we have when we could all be sharper version of who we wanted to be. So, Danica and I moved Variant Edition’s out west, and took our ideas of what we’d like a comic store to be with us. It wasn’t the easiest path we could take… but it was, and is, the right one.
We are not content to let life slip by unnoticed. We want to do more, to be more, but… we also know our limitations. We’re just two people, with limited resources and circumstances. We can’t, won’t and shouldn’t speak for all – and we can’t, won’t and shouldn’t be everything to everyone.
What we can be, is the best version of ourselves, and of our store. We can put forward our ideas, and hope they are met with empathy and kindness. We can be a foundation… or at the very least, help build it, with your help.
The past couple of months have been hard… and while we would never change our decisions, we know that we would be in a far worse state if it weren’t for the community of people who have gathered around us. While our own insecurities cause us to scratch our heads in disbelief when others attempt to tell us about the good we do, we have appreciated all of the kind words, and all of the support that’s been provided to us over the past few months. Because of this… because of you, the store landed on its feet. We landed on our feet. We have the ability to move forward, and that’s saying something.
We are here, because of you. The people who see something in us that we can’t see ourselves. The people who believe in our vision. The people who arrived while, for a period of time, we let life shift around us and compromise where we wanted to go, and who we wanted to be.
Thank you for making us stronger, and for helping us get back to where we need to go.
We won’t let you down.