For a while now I’ve been fairly ambivalent about Danielle Corsetto’s slice-of-life webcomic Girls with Slingshots. While I enjoy Corsetto’s storytelling talents, I found myself increasingly annoyed with the comic’s primary protagonist Hazel, who was in a self-destructive tailspin of alcoholism and a refusal to face her problems, including the fact her boyfriend wanted a more permanent relationship while she wanted things to remain as they were. Zach left, she went on a drinking binge, and her best friend Jamie ended up staging an intervention to dry Hazel out. But despite this, I couldn’t help but feel that Hazel hadn’t hit rock bottom (due partly to Hazel’s own insistence that she just needed something to drink, even water, rather than admit she was an alcoholic).
And then Corsetto pulled this strip out, which made me sit back and consider something. Much like Hazel, I was running under the assumption that she screwed up (though she used harsher language). But this is actually a fallacious argument, as her gay friend Darren points out. Just because “everyone else” is talking about how she should settle down, get married, and the like doesn’t mean this is something she should do. Instead, she should do what makes her happy. Now admittedly, Darren isn’t the most politic of people and his comments will likely make some people cringe. But that doesn’t stop him from being right. People need to be who and what they feel they are, not what other people want them to be.
The most important thing for Hazel is to live her life as she sees fit. While I feel she needs to admit to her alcoholism (which would help her start to grow as a character once more), she was right not to pursue a long-term relationship with Zach. If she had, ultimately it would have fallen apart because it’s not what she wants in her life. Not now. And Zach did the right thing in moving on as well. Not all relationships last. But you accept each one for what it is. Likewise, Hazel is her own character, and while I might not particularly enjoy her, her mistakes are her own, and help to round her out as a person. This might not be the path I’d like to see Hazel take, but this is Corsetto’s story to tell. Sometimes, critics just need to shut the hell up and watch things unfold.