Growing up was a bit of a depressing story in my case. We moved a lot, far too much for a kid that needed education. So in the end I spent quite a few years in the care of people who cared little.
I learned a few things there that still haunt me. Like that there are no personal belongings. Anything physical, anything that had some kind of form you can grasp, can be taken away. And will be taken away. All it needed was a neighbor kid who pointed at one of my toys, telling my aunt it's theirs. And then it was theirs.
So, I learned early not to cling to materialistic possessions.
Years after having been able to leave that place, I still think the same way. Some patterns can't be deleted once they are not needed anymore. There are not many things in my home I couldn't replace easily. Some items would be missed more, some less. But all can be replaced without getting more of a reaction out of me but a "eh, happens."
Just not my ideas. The world in my head is mine and mine alone.
I said in an earlier journal that I love it when people copy my drawings. That is still true. I love it when I see how people copy what I draw - to draw it too, to learn from it, because they loved the pose, the colouring, whatever the reason might be. All it needs is a small note that they copied it from my works and I'm ok with it.
Heck, I'm even ok with it when there is no note that it's mine.
But when someone traces my works and then uploads them, claiming the creature to be "my very first totally self-created and very personal OC" (I really wish I was kidding, but those were the exact words, just in German and not English), even asking others for fanart, that's the moment the little kid in me realizes that there is someone walking through its world, taking what is not meant to be taken by strangers.
And the moment I read the part, where someone asked if they can have the OC and the reply was "Nope, he's mine, but you can draw him, if you want to!".
That was the moment I literally snapped.
I would like to be a person who can just shrug such things off. I would like to be balanced and calm. I would like to be able to see such things as "just Internet".
But I'm not. And I can't. I'm not nice enough. I was raised that way and I developed a mean streak.
Especially - as it turns out later - since that kid actually apologizes for watermarking the traced works of other artists and mine. Reason: she does not want people to print it out like that without her getting paid.
At this point I had to leave the computer, before I had one screen less in my household and a reason to see an emergency room (never punch glass, seriously stupid idea, I can tell you that).
It's hard to believe in people when they do such things.
That would normally be the point where artists swear to use big watermarks or even delete their works from the net.
But... that is not the full story. By the time I got myself calmed down enough to go back to that page, others had found it too. And were defending my drawings. Complete strangers, who stood up for my works, linking original sources and telling the kid off.
I never had strangers fight for me. That completely took me by surprise. Not in a negative way, mind you.
While the encounter with the thief was nasty, the encounter with the people who cared for my drawings confirmed again one thing: People can be awesome. And for every asshole out there, you can find ten or even more people who are fantastic, brilliant and wonderful beings (that sounds so very Doctor Who...).
So, of course I will keep drawing and posting it on the internet. And of course I will keep using minimal watermarks. I don't see why I should punish all those awesome people, because one single person is a jackass.
I only regret that I will never be able to put into words what it means to me, that someone, I never met, stands before something that belongs to me and defends it. For me. That really makes a lot of the things in the past better now.
Thank you, all the awesome people on the Internet.
Sadly, the story did not end here either. The gal just deactivated her page without a word in my direction or even taking down the other copied works from her personal FB-Profile. We'll keep watching her, no worries.