As time went on it seemed forever

#TheRamones

As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been in a bad place recently. My thoughts were drifting towards more negative thoughts and I’ve been feeling extremely anxious all the time.

I feel like I’m getting better now. It’s always the same. Every month there is a time when I feel like everything is negative. It’s related to my menstrual cycle and it’s extremely frustrating because it doesn’t matter how my life is going, I always feel horrible.

Now I finally feel like I’m back to normal, thank goodness.

The thing is that when I’m feeling down I can’t draw at all. All the insecurities I’ve been fighting come rushing back and I don’t feel strong enough to push them back into the small box I keep them in and stash away in the back of my mind.

All the fears come crawling back to the front. Fear of the blank page. Fear that if I start a drawing it won’t be as good as others I’ve made. Fear that I’ll never be as good as the artists I admire. Fear that this will never amount to anything more than a hobby. Fear that I’m just kidding myself.

When all those feelings disappeared and I felt like myself again, I started to feel frustrated because, even though I felt more confident, I still couldn’t bring myself to draw.

Then one day, as I was scrolling down my Pinterest homepage, I came across a picture of an obi belt. The pattern was beautiful and an image immediately popped into my head.

I rushed to my room and sketched it out.

I inked it in and decided it would make a great birthday present for my mum (it’s her birthday tomorrow) if it turned out OK.

I decided to change the colours so it would better suit my mother’s taste, so I grabbed the Japanese colour dictionary I bought while in Japan and looked for a colour scheme that I liked.

I slowly coloured it in, being extra patient and letting each layer of colour dry before I added the next one (I mostly use watercolours, and I didn’t want the colour to bleed).I got scared sometimes, especially because I was choosing colours and making decisions on the spot, but I soldiered on. I kept asking my boyfriend to give me his opinion because he’s an artist and has a good eye for colour.

When I finished, I was so incredibly happy with the end result that I almost ran and showed it to my parents. I can’t wait to see my mother’s face when I give it to her. She always gets a bit emotional when I show her a drawing because she knows what I went through after university.

I’ll only post it online after she gets her gift, just so there’s no risk she’ll somehow stumble upon it. But let me tell you this: when inspiration comes, don’t wait until later. I honestly think that if I had waited, those fears would’ve come back and stopped me.

Inspiration is something fleeting.

I’m not saying you should wait for it, either. I know that doesn’t work. You’ll end up waiting forever. Keep drawing, something will come out. But if you do have an idea, don’t wait. Do it.

Here’s a sketch. No. A finished drawing, that I’m quite proud of.

Fox Shrine (2)

The Sardine.

It’s the terror of knowing

#Queen/DavidBowie

Lately I’ve been feeling extremely anxious.

So much so that the usual pain I feel in the muscles around my neck has gotten so bad that I had to take some muscle relaxants.

All because I suddenly found myself without time.

It’s funny how that sneaks up on you, when time didn’t disappear or fast forward, it’s been moving at the same pace all along. I just hadn’t prepared myself mentally for the string of changes that’s going to happen in the following months.

When you’ve got your next few months completely planned out, it can feel like your life has become a line of dominoes just waiting to receive that push that will make them all fall one after the other.

Revision for tests. Tests. Reports. Going to my summer job in the UK. Going to Sweden for a week. Coming back to Portugal for the summer. Finish emptying my childhood room. Selling my car. Moving to the UK. Teaching course. Coming back home for Christmas. Finding a job in London.

That’s my life until January next year.

I’m excited about it, of course, but at the moment I feel unprepared. Like I’ve wasted all these months I’ve been in Portugal when I should have been getting ready.

I thought I was looking forward to all of it. And I am. I just didn’t realise it was going to make me feel this anxious. Anxious to the point of twisting my back muscles into knots, to the point of having acid reflux, to the point of having light panic attacks.

I’ve been trying to make myself relax. I’ve written lists of the things I need to do and pack, which made me feel more organised. I don’t have to follow them religiously – if I don’t tell myself this, I know I’ll get even more nervous – but at least I’ve thought about it, and that makes me feel more prepared.

I’ve arranged a day when I’m going to get rid of all the books people didn’t want from my collection, as well as CDs and DVDs. I’m putting everything I don’t want in bags, rather than piles. I’ve booked all my flights. I’ve started to divide my things between “Stuff I’m taking to the UK” and “Stuff I’m leaving behind so I won’t have to pack a suitcase when I visit my parents”.

Yes, I’m still feeling anxious, and I don’t think that’ll go away until I start my summer job when I’ll be too busy for thinking. But at least I’m not panicking anymore. I feel ready and mentally stable for the changes about to come.

I look forward to what the future brings, and am in no rush. Each thing will happen when it’s supposed to happen and I’ll make sure to enjoy each second of it instead of worrying about what’s next.

Here’s a sketch. No. A finished drawing.

_20180523_165819

The Sardine.

 

 

Alone, I often fall into nothingness

#VirginiaWoolf

This week I haven’t been able to draw. It’s probably because I’ve been feeling down, as I do every month, so when I’m feeling down I try to write, as I’ve found it’s a good frame of mind to do so.

I mean, if I’m going to feel down anyway, I might as well get something out of it, right?

In my writing, I’ve been trying to describe a feeling that washes over me when I’m having a particularly low moment, as if the world slows down and every shift in the air is picked up by your skin. As if you’re on drugs and everything seems hightened and dull at the same time.

Have you ever had that feeling? When you can feel every individual muscle moving as you go up the stairs and it feels like you’re moving in slow-motion and yet the world hasn’t changed at all, it’s you who’s different somehow.

It’s a very difficult feeling to describe. I wonder if it’s the brain’s way of protecting itself against whatever dark thoughts are trying to emmerge and take shape. Maybe it has to become slippery  in order to stop those thoughts from latching onto it.

I have since then began to feel better, I guess this month’s cycle is almost over, but as I was looking for better ways to describe this mood I happened upon this quote by Virginia Woolf:

Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

This. This is what it is.

I’ve been struggling with describing this, and Virginia Woolf had it all along. This past week I’ve been wondering if it was something unique to myself. I’ve got mixed feelings about discovering that it isn’t. Relieved because I’m not different and frustrated because I’m not.

Here’s a sketch (sorry about the quality, I don’t own a scanner).

IMG_20180523_115109_166

The Sardine