Make Yourself Comfortable

Original Photo Credit: Carolyn V / Unsplash

Where I live was entirely gloomy, rainy, and nearly cold last week. Like, couldn’t-sleep-with-the-fan-on cold. Like, actually-wearing sweats-because-of-the-weather-and-not-the air-conditioner-running-non-stop cold…

So that’s it. I now declare it FALL.

I realize it doesn’t technically start yet (the 22nd maybe?). And I’m also blissfully disregarding that this week the forecast is warmer and nearly in the eighties… NO. IT IS FALL.

*Disclaimer: I also realize that weather is a fickle, location-based experience. So, maybe you’re thinking “yeah, that’s nice but I live at the beach” or “literally everything is fire here.” If the former, I’m nearly jealous, but incredibly sun-averse, but yay, how fun! If the latter, I AM SO SORRY. I hope it rains and you stay safe!!

Really, whatever the weather, it’s the middle of September, and it is now the time for Autumn, even if it’s only in our hearts! 😛

So here are my very simple, self-indulgent tips for staying super cozy and enjoying Fall. Oh, my credentials? For one, I’m still not over hygge (the Danish concept of coziness), and for years have been persistent in my quest for being cozy-comfy at home no matter the season. Also, feeling cozy is basically a requirement for me to make art anymore.


First up! Candles!

I grew up with pyramid-scheme candles in disgustingly strong scents that the sales reps would joke “this one smells like Mel Gibson.” (Yikes). So, I was pretty convinced I didn’t care for candles. I thought candlelight was pretty and cozy, but the smells? YIKES. I think I have a keepsake box I put some cucumber melon tealights in without thinking and it now reeks every time I open it. It’s awful… But, in the last few years I have learned about fancy, good-smelling candles that while kinda pricey are absolutely worth it. The scents are delicate and comforting, deep woodsy earthy smells, or light clean fragrances. Mmmmm, candles. I’m burning a giant Birch candle right now and it’s just wonderful.

So the Danes and I would both tell you — candles are cozy! They would say to skip the scents, but I say skip the smells of CHEAP candles. The nice ones are lovely and last quite a while! We stock up on a few from Archipelago every year. And this year, for late summer, I bought a candle from Otherland that smells like tennis balls. TENNIS BALLS! It’s cut grass, cucumber, and something else I don’t remember, and it really does kinda smell like tennis balls? Even though I’m normally scarred for life by those crap cucumber tealights, this one is wonderful! So yes, candles. (And obviously be safe and careful and stuff, because it’s comfy cozy but also it’s literally FIRE.)


Next up! Socks!

This one is especially important for the ladies. Y’all. Our socks are junk.

I recently bought some cheap casual men’s crew socks (basically the “fashion socks” for men). And they were SO THICK. SO COMFY. LIKE WHAT THE HECK?! My normal lady socks feel like tissue paper in comparison. I’m not saying I can wear men’s socks all the time…but we deserve thick socks!

Mr. Husband usually buys me a pair of fancy, thick, woolly women’s hiking socks for the holidays — to, let’s be honest, wear around the house like slippers. But now we know that a pair of regular ol’ men’s socks will do just fine!

SMASH THE PATRIARCHY! WEAR BETTER SOCKS! 😛


Next! Food!

While it’s not quite winter chili season, it IS yummy pies, and soups, and heavier pasta season! I’m of the opinion that a meaty bolognese sauce is to Fall what pasta primavera is to Spring. (Okay, so bolognese doesn’t translate to Fall the way “primavera” is LITERALLY “Spring” but just go with it.)

And seasonally available veggies? Yes, please! I don’t know what they are because I don’t cook, but whatever they are, I say go for it! …Oh yeah! APPLES! It’s definitely the season for apples! Time to make an apple pie! Apple cake! Drink apple cider! SO GOOD! …Also now is the time for Oktoberfest! No really, Oktoberfest is in September! We definitely cook up brats and eat a lot of spaetzle this time of year, just because we can! It’s basically a mild tradition for us now, and it’s very cozy and very Fall! (Also, Oktoberfest is the best style of beer and deserves to be celebrated.)

So, if you don’t have a cozy Fall food tradition, may I politely suggest you make one up?!


Finally, the Danes would say that you can’t really “do” hygge by yourself. That you’ve gotta have your peeps with you, so you can all be cozy together… But I say it’s 2020 and I’m going to make it work, thank you very much.

In fact, I’d say that BECAUSE it’s 2020, hygge and coziness are even more important than usual. This year is not easy, and I’m going to do whatever I can to reasonably make it as comfortable as possible.

Even if you take none of my advice, I still hope this list inspires you to take a little time in these later months of the year to figure out ways to stay comfy and cozy at home. Whether it’s wearing men’s socks and sweats all day, everyday, or wearing make-up and heels for working at home. I don’t care! Just do you! I bet you already have things that make you comfy, but we’ve been at this year for a while now, so it’s totally okay to brainstorm and try new ways of showing up for yourself!


What are your favorite ways to celebrate Fall?! Let me know in the comments!

The Shallow End – September 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello September!

After spending so much time in my sketchbook lately, my goal for this month is to work on some actual art pieces. In theory I’ll be able to keep up my new sketching habit too, but honestly, who knows?

As I’m getting back into art outside my sketchbook, I’m trying to exercise some patience with it. I don’t usually rush my work, but I do get obsessively focused. Like, “I must now work on this non-stop until it is finished” focused. After so many months of practicing the role of “fine artist” instead of “artist entrepreneur extraordinaire” I’m learning it’s okay to take my time…so I’m trying to find a new slow and steady pace for working.

This new outlook and time management is letting me work on multiple projects at once, tackling one thing at a time, following my creative interests as they ebb and flow, and letting the paint actually dry before starting the next bits. My days are even less structured than before as a result, but honestly I’m not making any less art. I’m probably not making more, but definitely not less, and I’m finding the whole process to be far more relaxing.

“The Mountain Waves”

I’ve painted a new landscape duo “The Mountain Waves” and am working on painting the landscapes I drew last month, and painted my first map! I’ve also got full-detailed sketchbook studies of maps that I want to try to do in larger scale as finished illustrations. And I’ve been simmering on a few ideas that I’m looking forward to exploring in my sketchbook eventually. So yeah, definitely not less work. Just different work, and more thoughtful work than I’ve given myself room to make in quite a while.

Sneak peak of a study for a future map!

Outside of work, I’m still just livin’ my best quarantine life. Hair is mostly shaved again, and I’m a bit late to jump on the bread-making bandwagon, but it’s nearly fall, so why not?!

We finally finished watching Dragon Ball Super, all hundred-plus episodes… But our Adult Swim addiction continues with YOLO: Crystal Fantasy. It is bizarre and brilliant and I love it. I’m so sad that there are so few episodes. I don’t know that I recommend it, technically, because it’s so weird and I don’t want to be judged… but I like it!

And if you didn’t think I could get any nerdier, I’ve started brushing up on medieval history…for fun! But also so I can make maps of medieval-ish walled cities (see photo above!) that are grounded in a little bit of accuracy, even though I plan on making them up otherwise. So I started reading The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. It’s pretty good so far, and way different than most history books I’ve read, which is interesting. Coincidentally, I’ve recently learned about “Bardcore” music. Yup. Bards. It feels like ages since I’ve listened to music regularly. But now it feels like “middle ages” instead. Heh. (Okay, I won’t pretend I’m listening to it a lot. But it’s been fun to listen to Bardcore covers of modern songs now and then, because why not?!)

This is fine…

Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

P.S. – I just realized I haven’t shared a poem in months. Oops!

The sky glows
golden clouds
upon a soft
still brilliant
blue.
The trees burn
in their colors
against the growing
gray shadows
of sunset.

Places

Original Photo Credit: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

One of my favorite ideas to explore when making art is a sense of place — either small spaces, like a bouquet of flowers in front of a window; scenic locations often viewed through a window; and large landscapes.

Admittedly, I never really noticed this pattern before. It wasn’t intentional, it just keeps showing up, and I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern. I mostly enjoy making art that when I look at it, I can kind of imagine I’m taken into the piece and find comfort and happiness there.

But, I mean, occassionally I’ll draw something like a croissant as the moon… so like I said, it’s just ONE of the themes in my work.

Anyway, I say all this because I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of place. I suppose one finds the time, when one doesn’t leave their place for months… But the real inspiration was in maps and mapmaking.

I think old maps are super neat, even though I don’t know anything about them. I just thought they were really pretty, and super interesting as a part of history. (Side note: the Galileo Museum was a hidden gem in Florence, Italy. It has so many old maps! They were incredible!).

A celestial globe at the Galileo Museum

Apparently I also didn’t realize that hand-drawn map making is still a thing, a genre of illustration. Once I learned, I was like, “I have to try this…why did I never think of this before?!” (Side note part two: I think for like one second in the Galileo Museum I was inspired to make my own map-styled art, but never thought about it again, because it was Florence ITALY and I was inspired by everything…)

So, I’ve bought a book on map making, because learning always starts with a book! And now I’m learning to make maps! I am still at the very very beginning, but I really like it so far. I’m excited to explore new ways for representing places in my work. I haven’t decided what kind of maps to make… I immediately thought made-up fantasy maps would be a lot of fun, but I’m just excited for all the different possibilities!

A compass rose!

It’s also exciting to be able to work on map stuff while I wait for watercolors or ink to dry… I’ve realized that painting is a game of patience (ugh!). So while normally I stick to one project at a time, I’m looking forward to having a couple different pieces to work on right now. After all, the days are long and I can only do so much puzzlin’!

The Shallow End – August 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello… August?!

This last month I took a sort of mini-staycation from my art. I stopped working on any big pieces, and got back into a sketchbook habit. I was already working on figure drawing and learning how to draw people. But this time I really tried to focus and keep at it.

To keep my practice simple, I just started drawing bits of my day, as a sort of mini-selfie. Taking out the trash, working on puzzles, and laying on the couch. It’s been a fun, informal kind of project, and while I don’t do it everyday, I do keep coming back to it when it’s time to practice.

This month, I can already tell I’m shifting away from my abstracts temporarily and returning to my illustrations. My creativity ebbs and flows, and right now I’m just really having fun drawing (thanks sketchbook habit!). As a result, I’m wanting to work on some bigger drawings outside of my sketchbook… I’m working on a few landscape illustrations right now. Just sketching and inking for now, and will go back and add color with watercolors. I’m really enjoying each step of the process, and am excited to share the finished pieces!


In other news, sports are back…

Well, they’ve been back for a while now (Liverpoooool! You’ll Never Walk Alone!)… but now there are even more viewing options! Fun fact: the WNBA is awesome! Go Lynx! This is my first time watching them play, but I’m already hooked.

In theory, I even feel inspired to go outside and kick the ball around or shoot hoops… but also it’s really hot outside, so maybe I just keep watching the pros?


I just finished reading a book for the first time in what feels like ages. The Power of Ritual by Casper ter Kuile is totally awesome and I highly recommend it, if you are into that kind of thing. Basically, it’s a fascinating read about secular and religious rituals as a source of meaning and connection in the modern age. That’s totes my jam.

I’m also obsessed with the Lumberjanes comics. Coincidentally, I’m officially coping with quarantine by imagining that this is just really long summer camp. There are a variety of activities (friendship bracelets, anyone?), s’mores (if we could freakin’ get graham crackers — I guess we’re not the only ones with this idea), and I’m thinking about getting a vuvuzela in lieu of a bugle for the daily wake up call…

This is fine…we’re totally fine…

And I clearly never went to summer camp, unless watching The Parent Trap a million times counts…

I feel seen. ✨ Credit: Girls’ Night In on Instagram

Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

Notes on Style

Original Photo Credit: Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash

When I start a landscape, still life, or a drawing of an astronaut in space, the one thing I don’t have to think about is style. I have to consider the composition, color, and size of the piece before and during an art project, but the actual drawing style relies of experience and intuition. It evolves gradually, combining techniques and tips from artists I admire, but making those decisions, at this point, is largely more dependent on intuition than intention.

Yet, it seems pretty common for artists to worry about style at some point, and for me that has begun just recently, as I’ve started expanding my horizons for what I’m capable of drawing (i.e. learning to draw people!). So I thought this month I would share a few of my observations on style and what that really means for an artist…

First, no matter how you create, you have a style. This isn’t limited to fine art, but is true for home decor, fashion, writing, and really any creative form of expression. The way you choose to express yourself is your style. To me, style is just another word for approach — so, no matter what you make or how you make it, you are expressing a style. Learning to acknowledge that is the easiest part, which is good news. The bad news is that sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds.

It can be hard to recognize our own style. We get numb to our unique way of thinking, realizing our approach is not likely to be identical to anyone else. Like, when was the last time you paid attention to your handwriting? I personally don’t think about it, I just write! It’s only when someone else says “that is your handwriting?!” that I stop and take note…and usually shrug, “oh, I guess?” As with handwriting, we don’t usually worry about naming or categorizing our style of writing, the way we can get transfixed by the names of fashion looks or home decor themes (e.g. “gothic coastal librarian” or “glam minimalist desert”). So when it comes to using our creative powers to make creative things, it can be easy to get distracted with what to call it — but the special part is that we made it, and named or not, it reflects our original approach to creativity.

Second, style can change, and that change can be intentional. Style reflects all the things that influence us in our work and creative endeavors. We all choose what we let influence and inspire us, which is then reflected in our unique tastes and approach (style). I’m personally interested in and influenced by Impressionist paintings, graphic novels, and Cartoon Network, among others. But because I tend to draw more traditional art subjects and not silly stories (usually), it becomes it’s own thing. And every artist makes these kinds of decisions. We all get to learn from who we consider to be the masters, and translate it into our own natural approach and let it gradually influence and evolve our style. We all learn and get inspiration from others, no one learns in a vacuum, and it’s the unique combination of experiences and influences that make you unique! And as much as I resent practice — it is practice where that influence transforms from intentional to intuition.

Third, don’t give into envy. There are so many ways to be creative. It can be hard to know what to choose to let inspire us, and to what extent. Nothing makes me more insecure as an artist that finding the style of an artist I love and realizing it looks so incredibly different than my own. Do I simply admire their work and let that be enough? Or do I learn from it and let it influence my work moving forward? A little bit of both? There are no clear answers (besides obviously not copying another’s work and using it as your own, but that’s a whole other conversation). Whatever I do, I find it is always the least helpful to beat myself up for not being creative the same way someone else is… Much of the time, the real joy (and anecdote to envy) is found in admiring another’s work for it’s own merit, and standing by my own as equally valid and creative. It takes confidence, and that itself can take practice too, but it’s never a wasted effort!


The Shallow End – July 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello July!

While I’m still not comfortable with re-opening my shop just yet, I’ve recently started to imagine what it would look like when that finally happens. It feels like kinda sorta starting to maybe get ready to re-open, which feels hopeful.

I mean, I have a lot of art work I’ve made recently that I’m excited to start turning into prints! But I’m also looking into eco-friendly packaging options and moving away from the plastic covers that I’ve used for storing and shipping prints. I always enjoy a good research project, and I’m glad to see there are so many resources available!

So alas, I don’t have plans to re-open my shop just yet…but it feels encouraging to consider as a possibility for the near-ish future-ish…


In the meantime, of course, I’m keeping plenty busy with writing poetry, watercolor painting, and drawing. I recently started a small series of watercolor abstracts inspired by our solar system. It’s been a fun little challenge to give myself a theme to work with, each planet inspiring a 5″x7″ painting. I’ve only made it to Earth, so I still have a bit of a way to go!

“Venus”

I’ve also been revisiting ink drawings again more than I have in a long while. I started with a space-themed landscape (go figure) that was a lot of fun. I really tried to add more detail than I’m used to, and added color with my watercolors. I think it turned out well, and I’m hoping I’ll come up with new, similar ideas to approach in this style.

Untitled

Right now, I’m also working on learning (once again) how to draw faces and figures. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, but I’ve been terrible at learning. But it can feel pretty limiting as an artist when the subject matter of “people” is just not available…

I guess I somehow missed the stage as a kid where you draw your favorite cartoons or comics or manga characters. So it seems a little ridiculous to be starting that now at this age — I’ve started studying manga in particular. But I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot, so who cares?! …I’ve read a lot on figure drawing in all kinds of styles (it’s really the practice I struggle with), but I recently started Mark Crilley’s Mastering Manga series. It’s been super helpful with the techniques it uses, so much so that I’m actually enjoying the practicing part… so yeah, highly recommend! And I’m excited to see what new visuals I’ll be able to create as my practice evolves!


Okay, so admittedly, a huge part of the inspiration for my art lately has been thanks to the anime show Dragon Ball Super! Haha!

Right before quarantine began we started watching Dragon Ball Z Kai. My husband watched it as a kid, but I had never seen it. So we made our way through like seven seasons of ridiculous fights in gorgeous scenery. After Kai comes Super apparently, which luckily is on Hulu, so we’ve been watching it now pretty regularly. Kai was good but in a totally ridiculous over the top way, but Super seems to have leaned into the ridiculous making it genuinely funny and entertaining. Plus the artwork is STUNNING. I still don’t care about the fighting sequences, but the linework and color use is incredible, so I keep watching (also fighting isn’t even the main story for Super, thank goodness!) … And I don’t watch a lot of anime, in general, we also watched Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt so I’ll Max Out My Defense on Hulu this year, and it was fantastic. Can’t wait for season two!


As for reading, it is staring to feel like I’ll never actually finish a book! I can’t focus on any one of them, so I currently have a stack/list of half-read books on my desk and my Kindle that I rotate through. I tend to do this now and then, but this time is especially bad… Anyone else struggling with that right now, or is it just me??


Oh yeah! I almost forgot — time to share a poem!

The sky doesn’t feel blue
when the light shines through
yellow from the sun into
the glimmering green of the trees
I see outside the windows
and everything glows
with the lime light of nature’s
constant stellar performance.


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

The Shallow End – June 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello June!

I finally feel like I found a natural rhythm to my work day. I took the pressure off myself to reach specific daily goals, and found that in giving myself that space to follow my intuition instead of a to-do list, I’ve become more productive overall. I’ve been painting and writing nearly every day now (in case you missed it, I’ve started writing poetry!). If I miss a day, it’s no worries. If I mess up and toss a painting, that’s okay too. Because overtime, I’m slowly developing a portfolio of new art and collection of writing that I’m proud of. Yay!

As I’m working more consistently and on projects I completely enjoy, I’m finding renewed confidence as an artist. I think previously I knew I made art, but I mostly viewed what I did as being an entrepreneur “who happened to make art.” But I think I’m starting to view myself as a fine artist first and foremost. It’s not a huge change, but it is still a shift in perspective that I’m embracing. And I’m excited to see what new possibilities for the future this mindset may create… Like, maybe there will be a day when art fairs will take place again in the parks, and galleries will reopen. And maybe when that day comes, I’ll be there too…?


I’m not watching much in the way of TV shows or movies. Bundesliga (German soccer) has resumed, so we’ve been watching that a bit over the weekends. It’s been interesting to follow different teams and players than we usually watch, so we’re enjoying it. Our local club also plays old matches throughout the week, so we’ve been watching some of the games we attended or were before our time. I can’t think of when else we would get the chance to watch that, so it’s been pretty neat!


As for books, I’m still reading a lot of poetry. Still. If you want the pro tip on how to be a better writer it can be summed up as thus: “read a lot, write more.” (As my husband observed, that’s the formula for how to get better at anything — “study, do.”)

That said, here’s a poem a wrote:

I live in the meanwhile
the time between
waiting for things
to happen
tending to that which I can
control, to distract
from the helplessness
of that beyond my reach
meanwhile…

hope.


Thanks for joining me at The Shallow End!

Early Days

Original Photo Credit: Freestocks / Unsplash

The espresso machine
fills the cup
with dark, warm
nectar.
It hums, it buzzes.
And soon,
so will I.

Sooo…I’ve started writing poetry!

It was something I had tried a bit last autumn on a whim. I literally have no memory of what compelled me to try to write that first poem. I know I had been reading a lot of poetry then — so I guess I’m just super impressionable that way? I don’t know…

Anyway, I stopped writing poems over the holidays. And then quarantine happened. I started reading poetry again, and in greater quantities than ever before. That basically encouraged me to start up writing again.

I genuinely love it — there is just something so interesting and challenging about poems. It lets me explore ideas and thoughts in a way I can’t always work through in my visual art. Plus, the process of writing poetry feels a lot like joy and contentment. And I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a bit more of both right now.

Maybe it weird to admit to it so early, but honestly, I’m hoping to turn my poems into a book! I’ve always wanted to write a book and I for some reason I thought that meant I had to write a novel… but I don’t actually like writing stories like that. I’ve tried! So, I never before considered there were other kinds of books to write — oops! …But now it feels like maybe this is something I can actually do! Yay!

It’s still very, very, early days for this project. So, I don’t know if I’ll use my artwork or create new artwork for the book, or skip including art altogether. But, I’m excited to have a new way to spend my time during the day. I still paint, make no mistake, but it’s hard for me to dedicate a whole day to painting or drawing. So, it’s been really nice to kind of follow a rhythm of moving between the two creative outlets throughout the day.

I know this will be a BIG project, and I’ve got a lot I’m learning about the process of writing and publishing. That said, in the meantime, I’m hoping to start sharing some of the more finished poems on my social media!

Originally, I was kind of embarrassed at the thought of sharing my poems (does this make me a poet now? an “instapoet”?? what is happening???) I’ve always considered myself an artist so sharing my art is very natural feeling. But sharing poems is so new and makes me nervous! But I’m going to do it anyway! And obviously, I hope you like them!

So let’s talk — have you started any new stuff during quarantine? Is there a hobby you’ve wanted to try but haven’t? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. – In case you need to hear it — you don’t OWE anyone discovering a new hobby right now or starting a big project or whatever. If the timing feels right, great! If it doesn’t, that is OKAY too! ❤

The Shallow End – May 2020

Original Photo Credit: Etienne Girardet / Unsplash

Hello May!

I hope to reopen my Etsy shop as soon as possible, but more importantly, as soon as reasonable and safe. Unfortunately, I do not believe that is right now. But I appreciate everyone’s patience and support right now.

In the meantime, I’ve been focusing on other business-y tasks that I usually don’t make time for… like, updating my website! I recently changed up the layout and design, and updated the gallery to better reflect the work that I’ve done in the last few years. I really like the look of the site now and hope it’s a lot easier to navigate too. Yay!

I’m also still keeping busy with my abstract watercolors. I’m having fun playing with new color combinations — something I’ve usually found more challenging than enjoyable. In some ways the abstracts feel like a far departure from my ink drawings, but I’ve also really tried to bring some elements from my drawing style into my paintings which I think works as a sort of bridge between the two genres of art.

I will go back to drawing eventually. But I think being limited to inspiration at home, abstraction has given me a lot more room, so to speak, to work and explore. For me, it draws more on a dreamy imagination than those sharp details that come from working directly from life or a reference photo…

Plus, it’s a lot of fun! I spend as much time in my sketchbook working with the water and paint to see how ideas will work and testing new techniques, as I do using my fancy paper trying to execute those concepts as a final piece. It looks less structured than my drawings, but it is way more thought out than I used to give abstract artwork credit. It’s a delicate balance between intuition and intention. I love it!


As for staying entertained while staying home, I’ve finally started to watch some television again, which I guess is a baby-step back towards normal. I was watching Veep before this all began, and now I’ve resumed watching it on Hulu the last week or two. At the rate I’m watching (nearly constantly during the day as background while painting — provided I’m not taking an Animal Crossing break), I’ll probably be finished with it in a few more days. Then I can go back to staring at the wall, or even better — my new hobby of playing solitaire until my eyes glaze over… but mostly, Animal Crossing…


I’d like to say I’m also reading a lot right now, but I’m not really. Or, I guess more accurately, I’m just reading differently. Lately I’ve found a renewed interest in poetry. When it start to feel like the anxiety is never going to stop, I open a book of poems. Right now, I’m reading the works of Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Morgan Harper Nichols… oh man, Nichols’ “All Along You Were Blooming” was published this last month, but what I’ve read so far seems like it was only written this month, it has so captured the feelings I have about quarantine. It’s uncanny. Definitely recommend!


Thank you for joining me at The Shallow End!

Normal

Original Photo: Diane Alkier / Unsplash

I shaved my head.

Correction — I made my husband shave my head.

My hair has gone from shoulder length and permanently in a messy bun, to an undercut pixie thing ala Abby Wambach.

So we’re handling stay at home pretty well. Obviously…

I kid… not about my hair. That actually happened. But about it being some sign that we’ve officially “snapped” under quarantine.

This is not my first foray into super short hair. I first cut all my hair off in high school, wore it short all through college, and again a few years ago. According to a few pictures hanging in my office, I basically had this exact hair cut at least once before. (Weirdly I like this version better; my husband was fearless, whereas many stylists understandably are nervous to do a big cut like this.)

Anyway, I quickly realized that while the decision was spontaneous and immediate, a drastic hair cut with a beard trimmer and office scissors is, for me, way less impulsive than it sounds.

In a way, it is actually a return to myself.

Staying at home is really really hard. And I say that as someone who is intensely introverted and would only leave to go to the store once a week…or recently, to go to therapy to discuss, among other things, figuring out how to get out of the house more (heh, great timing!).

Yet, as hard as it is, in some small ways, I’ve found it also kind of freeing.

I used to declare before that I was “beholden to no one” in regards to my schedule. I had work and I had free time and I could mix and swap them as I pleased. Now though, I find myself “beholden to no one” in many other areas of my life. Social norms kind of go out the window when you officially stop being social.

Apparently, upon introspection, a lot of my “normal” was just a reflection of those social norms. My hair is just one example of “things that I delt with because I thought it was expected, but really doesn’t matter to me.”

I’ve decided to view this time of social distancing as an opportunity to figure out who I really am when no one is watching. My goal isn’t self-improvement, but more of a self-reflection. It’s not re-invention, but re-discovery.

It’s not about coming out of this better than I was before. Instead, my goal is to know myself better and to know exactly what I’m made of, while in the midst of all this.

For me, this is a silver lining to the clouds of anxiety. This small shift in mentality is making things feel just a little easier, a little more comfortable, rather than make a hard time even harder by feeling pressured to reach big goals and make big changes.

Again, “we can do hard things.”

Stay well.