Yeah, Yeah, I’m Supposed to Be “Glowing”.

My life is no longer my own.

This fragile, needy entity growing inside my body will henceforth circumscribe every part of my existence until I am dead.

Even as I experience physical changes—flesh meeting in unfamiliar places, a new creakiness and frailty in my joints, unaccustomed heaviness and slowness—I’m aware that they’re nothing to the other changes that are imminent.

Insofar as I’ve ever had a stable sense of identity, it’s been wrapped up in feelings of isolation and aloneness that sometimes occasion bitter sadness, but just as often a fierce and exuberant sense of possibility.

Since my family never pressured me to achieve anything more concrete than “happiness,” my disappointment with myself has revolved around my failure to make art, to achieve financial security, to write prolifically enough. Still, I’m fine! I’m not incarcerated or destitute or friendless or miserable. The crushing sense of failure I’ve often experienced has been largely a function of too much time and analysis, too little grace.

From now on, though, things will be different. My failures will have the potential to damage a tender and porous little human for whom I am responsible. It’s terrifying to think of the power I’ll have. I want to purge myself of every particle of dysfunction so as to protect my child and insure that I won’t hurt them. But even if I could accomplish this (and I can’t)—the world will hurt them. How will I cope with that failure?

Even as I reflect on my hopes and fears about parenthood, it still seems very abstract. I don’t feel like a mother yet, and I can’t relate on any level to the women who write gushy letters to their unborn children, signed “mommy,” and accompanied by a photo of a beaming woman next to a cutesy chalkboard illustration of the vegetable or fruit to which her fetus is supposedly comparable in size.

What is not abstract is my feeling of loss. Loss of autonomy, of youth, of the ability to be willfully irresponsible, of aloneness.

Of course, this would all occur sooner or later, with or without children. Maybe the sense of isolation at my core, the origin of which I could never quite determine (was it self-imposed? An intrinsic feature of my character? An indicator of maladjustment? A combination of factors?) is, as much as it feels like an essential part of me, an unwholesome and ultimately poisonous indulgence.

Who knows…

But today, I grieve the loss of the fantasy that I answer only to myself, that I can do anything I want to do at any time, that I can abdicate all responsibility and just disappear. That I can be really, truly, alone.

sad sack selfie

Drawing At the Bar

To the surprise (and occasional dismay) of my friends and family, I like watching football. While most people would agree that this is a perfectly legitimate and normal pastime, many of those in my circle are indifferent to (or even frown upon) organized sports, football in particular.

I’m a casual fan: my grasp of the game is basic at best, and if the Seahawks aren’t playing, I couldn’t care less. But spending a few hours surrounded by people who are all excited about the same thing, drinking beer, and watching insane feats of athleticism is pretty fun. The beginning of my enjoyment of football coincided with the end of my self-identification as a misanthropic loner. I’m still an introvert who cherishes my solitude, but my identity no longer includes shunning things that have mass appeal.

All that said, it still feels really weird to spend hours watching a televised event. So when I watch football, drawing during commercial breaks (of which there are many) helps me to feel that I’m not wasting my life.

Discreetly drawing people who are constantly moving is hard. I do my portraits as quickly as possible –  so they are very, very rough! The following were all done at bars during Seahawks games.