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Real Talk from the Resident Cartoonist by David Afforo

That’s right, the man who brought you the cartoon analogy of entering a new year being like going on a plane ride decided to put down MS paint because the man (Ms. Moore) wanted me to write an article. So as you figured, my name is David, a junior who’s a struggling animator, starting up an accordion book business and has his own YouTube channel (I know, I know, I’m a triple threat). I’ve been with The Scroll since sophomore year, and while I’ve actually been known for cartoons, I’ve actually written two articles before. 

You might have a class with me and see me as a loud goofball that doesn’t know when to stop. Well in case you haven’t noticed, I struggle with a developmental disorder, and as such, shaking off the goofball qualities has proven to be a struggle. But, those qualities are what make me who I am. 

Or maybe you look past my goofball qualities and see me as a social boy with a reclusive life, however, you should see me as more than that. So, why would you listen to some guy with a disability? Because I care about you. I might not know a lot since you all hang out and do your own thing while I’m stuck in my room editing a video while listening to 80s music, but I’ve spent my whole life taking help from others. Deep down inside me is a person who mentally wants to give you a hug because something tells me you might be struggling like me. And with that, I decided to give you youngins a pep talk about failure and success. 

First, let’s talk about failure. Growing up, I felt like my life had been defined by failure. I would set some type of unrealistic standard for myself, even going to extreme lengths to make sure that goal is met, and then when judgment day comes, I learn that some circumstance has come and undone my efforts to meet that goal. For example, back in 2018, I wanted to reach out to this Youtuber and have him make a video based on an original story I made. I sent off my original story, but come two years later, and I haven’t gotten anything back from him. Did I think too much about the final product, or was I so ahead of myself, I felt I could do this on my own? Well, whatever the reason was, I should know that things won’t always turn out the way I expect, and if I want to at least meet a great deal of my goals, I’ll have to at least consult someone to help me. If failure happens to me, it can also happen to you, so don’t let one simple setback give you a reason to throw in the towel. Failure really isn’t that bad, it’s just a simple, sometimes harsh, reminder that we need to keep on trying.

Another struggle we face growing up is criticism-not for someone’s work, but criticism for being insubordinate or wrongdoing in general. Again, I have a developmental disorder, and as such, I am, at times, an easy target for being chastised. I’ve been corrected so many times that there are instances where even someone I’ve grown close to scolds at me for something and I feel tempted to lash out. However, because I’m not too fast to come up with a comeback, being reprimanded is like taking a shot to the heart. You might think, “maybe you should man up and get over it.” Well at first I can, but then the thought of that one particular moment comes back to haunt me, and then it sends me into a depression and makes me think of all the ways I could have approached it. In short, I can’t shake the thought of my mistakes off, but maybe you can. Whether you have a mental disorder like me or not, being chastised is a part of life, and when it happens, don’t take it the wrong way. Perhaps think about how you got this way and try to find a better solution to go about the situation the next time. And if there’s something you still don’t understand, don’t be afraid to talk to someone, even the messenger themself. 

In summary, don’t be afraid to try. Just because some force is messing with your success doesn’t mean you should give up. And much like failure, criticism is a part of life and helps you to grow. There’s nothing wrong with criticism, but if you can’t take it like me, or if there’s something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to open up to someone. I’m not a perfect person. I’ve done stuff that I have regretted, stuff that would hurt others in some type of way, but I learn from my mistakes, and you should too. The point of this pep talk is to get you to not run away from your problems, and to face them head-on.

Sorry my advice looks and sounds lousy, there’s so much I can say, but I felt that this would then turn into a letter of sympathy, but hey, that’s what you get for being mentally challenged and being discouraged to speak your mind. But you know what, unless otherwise, there is no such thing as lousy advice, so why don’t you get out and inspire someone. For now though, thanks for reading, please do well, and as Larry Cohen would always say, “Keep Smiling…”

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