I Wanted to be a Female Animator

By Suzanne E. Jannett

It’s 2007 and I am a teenage girl at comic con. At this point in my life, I want to make comics about hot chicks with cat ears. Chicks that live with their best friends, somewhere very romantic, like New Orleans. A man lets me cut in line with him, so long as I pretend to be his girlfriend. When I say yes, he grabs my hand tight. There is a thick layer of dirt caked under his long nails. He smells like a wet dog. We watch the Adult Swim panel.

The panel is full of clones. The same man over and over again seven times in different beat up heavy metal T-shirts. The light in the auditorium goes red as the clones all speak at once. Their voice is like the scraping of swords:

We have never had a female showrunner. A time is upon us, not many years from now, where we will have to let one among our ranks. Make no mistake, when she comes we will gut her. Empty out her every strong instinct. She will be Our well decorated husk. She will be Our agent.

When the panel is over, the dirty man tries to kiss me. I run off. Later, I tell my dad about everything: the man, his fingernails, the clones. He asks me with a smile if I’ve learned a lesson.

I go to Planned Parenthood in secret, and ask them to cut out my third eye. I never want to see anything like the clones again. The doctor is nice and gentle. She is glad to secretly do the procedure, but warns me that one day it will grow back.

Things are pretty mellow for a while. I am a young woman now. I am not a female animator. I am not really anything at all. I forget about the clones. I quit school, I forget why. But, before I can help it, my third eye, bulbous and bloody, pokes through my skin like a raw pimple.

I notice its effects, at first, when people talk about Star Wars. I hear the silvery voice of the earth mother call out, “It’s not safe for you here,” and she ferries me to the bright warm kitchen that exists in the back of my head. When I come to, my pocket is full of singing golden rings.

It ushers in a recurring nightmare where I actually finish college. I buy a yearbook and all my male friends line up to sign it. Each and every one of them comes up to me, with a wink and a pat, and writes:

Who hurt you?

When I wake up I check Instagram. These men are making movies. These men are making TV. These men are telling the world how hard they’ve worked. These men are turning thirty-five, and boy howdy they are discovering the secret of time travel. They find nineteen-year-old me on winter break. They need to talk they need someone to talk to they need someone to understand. And they take all their failed marriages and workplace conflict and broken friendships and slow isolation and they shove it deep down my throat.

And when I ask them why this is, they say:

When you’re born a bastard, you die a bastard. Your computer needs a new graphics card.

Suzanne, 27, is lurid proof you can take the girl out of the valley but you can’t take the valley out of the girl. Despite her tough big city dyke exterior, she still enjoys splitting a Cheese Cake Factory caesar with the gals. She is a Los Angeles forever resident with a background in cartooning and a bone to pick. Above all else, she is trying her best.

Find out more at Instagram: @hellcatmagma and suuzanne.com