I’m in the process of moving (literally relocating 20 minutes from where I live) and yes it is stressful and yes 87% of that stress is in my own head and entirely self created but I’m making the quantum leap from suburbs to city so it’s worth it
For some reason I simultaneously thought grown up life would be both a lot harder and a lot easier (??) and I thought there would be more açai bowls ???
Attempting to assert my independence and attempting to do it nicely but also attempting to prioritize myself and my feelings??? (??)
I tried to be vegan then tried to be vegetarian and now I’m just tryna be human and we’ll go from there
Sold my TV (and yet somehow I’m still paying for cable?? Cable that I never even used not once??? Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by XFINITIY!!)
Cancelled Xfinity. Roughing it out here with no wifi just to prove a point to no one in particular (I love a good self-sabatoge)
I’m almost finished my first year out of college and I spent so much time stressing and thinking about how that first year would be and now I’m about to start the year after the first year and like what even is that isn’t that just the rest of my life???
I’ve definitely heard that women are socialized to have a perfection complex but for some reason I always thought that frame of thinking was limited to appearance (the perfect hair, the perfect body, the perfect clothes.) I’m only just starting to realize how deep these Jedi mind tricks actually go.
I know some of the most incredible women in the entire world. Exceptional, capable, intelligent women who could save the entire world and they keep telling me things like, “I can’t apply for that job my cover letter isn’t finished yet,” “I can’t start that business plan my idea isn’t done yet,” “I can’t do that fellowship my portfolio isn’t where I want it yet.” But they don’t mean not finished or done yet, because of course it’s all finished, they mean it’s not perfect yet.
How many opportunities do we miss out on because we are waiting until it’s perfect, until we’re perfect? And why do we all think we have to be perfect in order to be worthy?
The fact that we’ve been manipulated into believing this
concept, that society has implicitly or explicitly enforced it our whole lives,
and that it’s still existing subconsciously in most of our minds (I know for a
fact it’s in mine) is illogical. Perfection is unattainable and our constant
pursuit of it does nothing but paralyze us until we miss out on opportunities
all together (which maybe is what the system wants?..) If I’m going to be
manipulated and lied to I at least need it to make sense.
What’s even more frustrating is as I see the women I know force themselves to be perfect I watch, aghast, as certain men actively flaunt their mediocrity more blatantly than ever before. Look at all the nonsense they’re doing: unqualified, unstable, and unable to do these jobs and doing them anyway regardless. They’re becoming Supreme Court justices, fucking president of the United States; the system is basically telling on itself. Do you think they ever sit and wonder, “hm, am I good enough or even qualified enough to be doing this or going after this opportunity?” No, they’re not.
If this is happening with some of the most powerful positions in the world I don’t even want to think about the smaller ways this plays out everyday. It’s really ridiculous. Basically I don’t have the bandwidth to give every woman on the planet the pep talk they need but society can’t handle us second guessing ourselves because the more we count ourselves out and hold ourselves back from opportunities the more unqualified people takeover. There’s already enough structurally in our way on behalf of society; the last thing we need is to get in our own way.
It’s 2019 and I’m resurrecting the blog because when life is going sideways what better way to cope then to narrate and condense my persona for the internet to consume!
I’m now 23 years old and it’s been exactly 239 days (7 months) since graduation. I’ve been working for 7 months, I’ve paid rent 7 times, I started and stopped my MFA, I bought plants, considered a PhD, deleted Instagram off my phone but kept it on my iPad, and whatever else millennials do.
I have a good job doing work I actually like and I’m able to work remotely and live in a one bedroom apartment with no roommates. Lately I’m realizing how often I catch myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was a studio art major in undergrad at a small liberal arts school in Virginia — how the hell did I end up with a full-time graphic design job where I have healthcare and benefits and a 401k and vacation days I don’t even know what to do with??!
I was so sure that I needed to suffer more to really “earn” this (although I definitely did my fair share of suffering in undergrad) that I applied for an MFA a month before classes started because full-time school with my full-time job seemed like a great idea. I swore I would never go if by some miracle I got in because it was way too expensive but I ended up getting a merit scholarship and enrolled then hated the program and left.
I’m very afraid that I don’t know how to let things just be enough. I’ve worked so hard for every single piece of the life I’m living right now and I still don’t think I’m good enough to have any of it. I keep thinking I need to do more and be more or the universe will realize I’m not worthy and will take all of it away.
The hardest part of post grad has been loosing the audience of classmates and professors I definitely took for granted. With everything I create or write, if no one sees it does it matter? Do I?
It’s not that the career stuff has been easier than I thought it would be; I think it’s more that I never realized how high my tolerance for difficult really was.
The weirdest part of post grad has been commitment. Signing leases, signing job contracts, MFA or PhD — these are years. The new standard of time is years. How am I supposed to know what my 27 year old self wants I’ve only just started understanding the crap my 21 year old self did??!
I wish more people talked about what you do when everything goes right (because frankly I have no fucking idea). What do you do after sitting alone in your apartment filling out w9 tax forms for The New Yorker and double checking to make sure you put in the right direct deposit info for your Condé Nast invoice? What do you do when you’ve meal prepped for the week and unpacked from your vacation to Florida to see one of your best friends slaying it at vet school and have already taped on your wall the letters your old studio/soul mates (shoutout Nene & Jinny always) just sent you? Like what the hell???
I really really do like my life. But I wish my friends were closer. I wish I didn’t feel the need to dilute all of the goodness happening by talking about the semi-failure of my adult socializing life in order to make the business school majors I encounter feel better about their own poor decisions even though some of them were the same ones who gave me hella shit in undergrad (“Studio art major? So you like want to be poor?” I kid you not a direct quote). I wish I didn’t keep saying “I don’t know how all this happened” as if I couldn’t give you an itemized list of all the internal jujitsu I put myself through in order to handle all of the freelance commissions, thesis projects, skill learning, concentration forcing and mental capacity pushing that I did for four long years of college (on top of the whole school and being on an athletic scholarship and trying to have life thing).
It’s so annoying how much the gendered stuff starts to slowly but surely reveal itself you. It’s like a re-introduction from the “you” you thought you were to the “you” society trained you to be. All of that stuff about how woman are socialized to put other people’s emotions over there own is a full on fact, that women downplay their accomplishments and bracket them with some type of flaw to make it more digestible for other people is another fact, and fact: I’m guilty of doing both. But, fact: it’s a new year and I’m gonna try to do better because even with all of the BS being a woman is still awesome.
As I’ve gotten older I’m starting to really understand how much some (and by some I mean a hell of a lot) of men (cis straight men in their twenties) are incredibly self tortured. It’s wild to behold; people who have everything laid out for them, all of western society literally engineered for and by them to succeed — and what do they do? They drive themselves insane in their own minds like some kind of sick cosmic penance for all of the inequality that exists.
Recently became painfully aware of how often I do things out of politeness and the desire to seem appeasable even if it’s at my own expense (heavy sigh). What makes this even more frustrating is that I’m fully aware of how gendered this mannerism is (heavier sigh).
There’s this theory called panopticism that was developed by a French philosopher named Michel Foucault. The theory is based on a scenario where there’s this prison with a watchtower at the center and all of the inmates are in separate open-air cells surrounding it. These super powerful floodlights shine down from the watchtower onto the prisoners so they can’t ever tell if someone is in the tower or not. Because they can’t see inside the tower the prisoners behave as if they are constantly being watched regardless of if they actually are.
I can’t put my finger on exactly why this correlates to what I was saying about acting against your own self-interest in the name of politeness but I’m positive it does. Maybe it’s because of the constant feeling that being disagreeable somehow lowers a person’s a woman’s self worth and someone somewhere has to be keeping score because otherwise why would we all collectively put up with this nonsense?
It’s very annoying that women are socially trained to please, even more annoying that I haven’t taken the time to analyze how much it impacts my daily behavior and decision making (heaviest sigh).
Today on #MentalHealthDay, even though there’s only 40 minutes left of it, I’m going out of my way to cut the crap and you should too.
Ladies and gentlemen I have officially finished the first huge chunk of my project for my fellowship!! It has been a long 10 weeks, very long. There were whole days when I would never even leave my apartment (the glamorous freelance life) or have any human contact at all. But it’s done and I’m so happyyyy.
The finished project is somewhere between a comic and a graphic novel (it’s about 50 pages so a long comic or a short graphic novel I supposed) but I will be posting it chapter by chapter on my website over the next 7 weeks (1 chapter per week). Now starts the journey of turning it into an animation which is going to be quite the experience but with everything already drawn and written it’s not so bad. I’ve gone through the planning phases of so many different projects and ideas and now that this has been completed a weight has been lifted.
My project is called How to Win a Race War and for now will only be featured online but I may offer print copies of it at some point (we shall see).
In the meantime, I’ll just be over here figuring life out or whatever it is 21 year olds do.
New week new video! (I think Sundays are gonna be my post days because what better way to start you week then with a double dose of me 💁🏾) https://youtu.be/QyeVGMOzscU
This week has been painfully boring. I wake up, I do work (aka draw pictures), I walk around, I do more work (more pictures) – there are full days when I never leave my studio. I need an excuse to go on a trip somewhere fun and exciting (not that Richmond isn’t an absolute whoot but I need a change of scenery). I just discovered AirBnB (I know, I’m so late) and I want to be anywhere but here. Please, someone, hire me for something in another country and give me a reason to finally book a ticket (just putting it out there, Oslo and Reykjavik are currently at the top of my list)!!
I mean if I’m in my studio with no windows and no sense of time then I could be anywhere really – Iceland, Norway, Japan, Mars, Saturn, who knows! At least I’ll always have a free round-trip ticket to my imagination *sob* (please someone save me from mundane routine – pleaseeee).
I got the results of my DNA test a little bit ago and it was so fascinating (I highly recommend this to everyone, it’s just such a cool experience)! I’m a visual thinker/processor so naturally I had to draw myself in the traditional outfits of all the places I come from. We are all much more connected then we think we are. 👐🏾
This summer I am resurrecting my blog from the depths of the post-final exam slump it seemed to have fallen into a few weeks ago. The last time I posted I was working on a self portrait piece that will actually be on display in The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art here in Richmond from late August to mid September if any of you lovely people wish to stop by and see it.
I have a research grant this summer (#EmployedArtMajor) to basically do whatever piece I want which is actually the most intimidating thing ever. No rules, no guidelines, no boss (okay no – I actually do kind of have a boss but he’s super chill) just limitless possibility. I’ve decided to make an animation and am currently underway on script #2 and character design #4. Eventually it will all come together, I’m not that worried (yet)(*hyperventilates*).
Here’s a snazzy little picture of my desk in my very own *studio* (bolded, italicized, and asterisked because it’s that big of a deal).
I love my studio but the worst part is I’m not by any windows. There is zero natural light by me whatsoever which would be fine except I completely lose track of time. For instance today, I went into the studio just for a quick second at around 2pm – I thought I would be at most an hour, and imagine my surprise when I leave and it’s pitch black outside and 10:30pm. I was pretty peeved until I remembered I get paid by the hour 😉 (Mwahahaha!! But I can only work 40 hours a week so there’s really no need for me to be there that late).
This summer as well as my yoga practice (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday vinyasa yoga and yes it is kicking my ass) I’m also practicing the art of extreme budgeting. So far I’m definitely not doing so hot but as senior year looms so does rent and groceries and adulting which I hear is quite expensive so I’m hoping to get the hang of this sooner rather than later. Summer in RVA is so pricey because there’s so much to do!! Literally everyday is some kind of festival or event (yesterday’s was the DJ concert at Kabana Rooftop, today’s was the South of the James Market and the Greek Festival, tomorrow’s is the Broad Appetit food festival on Broad Street). So much to do, so little time, and so sooo little funds.
I was able to save some money this week though because my friend Mary did, rather absolutely slayedddd, my hair! It was the first time my hair has been straightened in a while and it is official: I have medium length hair! I have completed the full hair spectrum!!! I’ve had long, I’ve had short, and now finally – medium. I feel like this must be how Aang felt when he mastered all four elements (Avatar: the Last Airbender reference, it’s basically one of the best cartoons ever if you haven’t seen it make that a top priority).
Probably the biggest news of the week is I have finally forreal joined YouTube! I was kinda-sorta on it with a few short animations I made but now I’m a full on YouTuber, an Anim-illust-uber (Animator+ Illustrator + Youtuber) to be exact. You can watch my latest video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UimEHs01chU
Watch, subscribe, like, do a dance then sit down and read a book or something (currently reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith and I’m really liking it).
I’ve been super busy lately! I’ve been working on a new photo series called Warrior (Self Portrait 2017) and I’m really happy with it so far. I’m very interested in exploring the phenomenon that is black women and what better place to start than with myself? I’m working on a lot of projects right now, 2 animations, this photo series, and a printmaking project, all revoling around this idea of race and identity. I can only show this one picture for now (and honestly it could still change quite a bit) but stay tuned for much more to come!!