Last Week

Been a while since I drew these guys.

Last week.

My god.

Last week was one of the longest, most excruciating weeks I have had the displeasure of experiencing period.

Like, all of the anxiety I’ve had during 2020 was jammed into the span of a week and heightened to levels that I haven’t felt in years.

All due to a very particular event that pretty much captured everyone’s attention and likewise had them refreshing endlessly whilst fueling their own worried states – Election 2020.

Jesus, give me strength.

Sunday and Monday were fine.  Normal even.

Then Tuesday rolled along.

I remember the last Presidential election and what it did to me.  How when states started falling to What’s His Face, I immediately had a massive panic/anxiety attack and fell apart.  So, I thought I’d be wise and turn my phone off all day, making sure to hide it away in my brother’s room just to be safe.

Didn’t stop me from worrying, but I thought’d that would be fine.  I’d manage.  Sure, there was anxiety building up, but then I’d go to bed and wake up to some sort of result.

Wednesday – of course, no result.  Because nothing can be easy in 2020.

After having some bizarre Election dreams and not sleeping well at all, I wake up to a big old mess.  Nothing’s been called.  Votes are still being counted.  Joe Biden’s behind in several very important states.  Another four years of What’s His Face.

Anxiety and stress levels immediately skyrocket.  What fun.

Several things happen when I get stressed.  One is that my sleep patterns go straight out the window.  Two is that I can’t eat.  I am not a stress eater.  At all.  My stomach just won’t let anything in.  Of course, if I don’t eat, my stomach immediately goes, “Why haven’t you eaten anything?!  Eat something now!”  But then if I do get something down, it’s all “Why did you do that?!”

So I’m exhausted, not eating, and chain-worrying.  I’m stuck in some weird suspended animation, just constantly refreshing, refreshing, REFRESHING.  Not doing anything else – I don’t have enough bandwidth to do so.  My attention span shrinks, only able to take in a few minutes at a time.

And I thought I was okay.

I honestly did.  I thought I was managing things just fine.  This was okay.  Totally, totally okay.

Thursday – I am not okay.

I am so far from okay it’s not even funny.  Exhaustion is catching up to me big time.  I’m probably dehydrated at this point as well.  Still can’t do anything else except hit that damn refresh button.

I should also mention that I was home this entire time.  Didn’t have to go to work Tuesday through Thursday, which really would’ve been a big help in keeping me distracted.  It seemed great weeks ago – until I got stuck in Election Purgatory.

And – a very BIG and – we had people working on the house, replacing the siding.  Which turned out to be a noisy process.  A very early, noisy process.  So sleep ended early.  And my psyche slowly cracked further under the constant hammering coming from every which way.

I do manage to make my way to my friend Suzy’s house, which ends up being a much needed respite from the noise/anxiety/screens/refreshing/everything.  Honestly, I’m amazed that I make it there, considering how tired I am.  But we talk.  We sat in her basement room, and just hash it out.  The first time that week that I say out loud to someone other than myself that I am not okay.  That I am stuck deep in some anxiety hole.

That evening, I end up getting so overwhelmed that I break down into my Chinese food.  I’m tired.  I’m hurting.  Why can’t I break out of this cycle?  Why am I here in this pit?  Why can’t they just call the stupid race already my GOD.

Friday.  The workers are gone.  The house looks nice and fresh.  I get to wake up naturally.  I get to go to work.  I’m still a mess, but at least I’m functioning kind of.  And things are starting to look up Electionwise.

Which is where more what ifs show up.  What if there is 4 more years of What’s His Face?  What if Pennsylvania doesn’t flip?  What if, what if, what if.

And yet, for the first time in days, I’m hopeful.  It’s just a spark, but it’s something.

Still can’t eat properly, by the by.  And starting to feel a depressive front moving in.  Just what I need at this time.

Then, Saturday.

Glorious, glorious Saturday.

They start calling the Election.  Biden’s in the lead – and he’s won.

I’ll get further into the story Wednesday but holy crap.  Like, holiest of craps.  What is happening.

What am I feeling?  Relief.  Disbelief.  Shock.  This isn’t real.  But it is real.

And the anxiety fog starts to lift a bit.

I’m actually able to eat a full plate of dinner.  I manage to sleep through the night.  And Sunday, I can take a nap without struggle.  It’s amazing.

So, here we are in this week.  I’m still feeling the after effects, honestly.  And I still need to be careful of what I’m checking on my phone because anxiety is a beast and I don’t want to set it off again.

But I’m so much better.  Each day I feel more and more alive again.  I’m drawing.  I’ve started a new book.  I’m turned on my Switch.  All the coping mechanisms I should’ve been using all of last week, according to my therapist.

I’m glad to be out of suspended animation.  I’m glad to be moving around and feeling human again.

And I’m feeling very, very good about the next four years.  But again, that’s for Wednesday.

Right now, I’m doing stuff.

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Intro: Eliza

So. Much. Glitter.

Here she is – the ball of energy that is Eliza the red panda!

…honestly, there really isn’t much of a deep backstory here.  I drew a red panda once, liked how she turned out, and just kept throwing her into comics.  That’s pretty much it.  Kind of funny how that happens.  Now, what happened to the kiwi bird I drew her with, I dunno.  But Eliza’s still here.

I will say that she is one of the harder characters to draw.  She has a lot of different details to get right, especially with the shading of her body and tail.  It took me a while to get her design down, but I think I’ve got it squared away at this point.

Fun fact: I got her name from an article about baby animals born in zoos.  There was a trio of red pandas born, and one of them was named Lizzie.  So when I started drawing a red panda of my own, I decided on Eliza.

Thinking about it now, Eliza is definitely not an Elizabeth.  She’s an Eliza, straight up.

An Eliza who uses way too much glitter.  That’s gonna be found everywhere…

Next up: Jeff the Reindeer!

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Intro: Willa

Eliza probably supplies about 75% of that chaos.

Here we are – I Draw Walrus’s resident voice of reason, Willa Olsen!

With that third panel, I did have the Mary Tyler Moore theme song going through my head.  “You’re gonna make it after allllll…”

To be honest, growing up near Minneapolis, I’m sure Mary Tyler Moore was a big inspiration for Willa.  There is probably a photo somewhere of Willa posing next to the MTM statue attempting to throw her hat in the air.

And yeah, I did have a series of characters through middle school and high school who were all precursors to Willa, acting as the one normalish character who found themselves dragged into whatever chaos was going on.  Kind of like a Doctor Who companion.  At this point, though, Willa has lasted longer than most of them.  Sorry Debbie, Jade, and April.

I think I really wanted another character when I first introduced Willa – a third to round out me and Lars, acting as the anchor for whatever nonsense was going on, while having a bit of nonsense herself.  So, there she was – Willa Olsen.

Side note: at this point, with it now being September, Willa would be that person who has her Halloween costume all picked out and the Halloween decorations all up.

Next up: Eliza!

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An Intro to Intros

Thank you DOT.

So.

In an attempt to reach a larger audience, I have started posting some of my comics over on my Instagram (@i_draw_walruses).  And I’ve been a grand old time – the algorithm is a beast, but I’m working on it.

However, in my excitement to do so, I have not really provided much background/context on these characters that I have developed over the past 5 years or so to this new audience.  So it’s been hard for them to jump on board or even really understand what goes on in the I Draw Walruses universe (it really is its own bizarre, strange universe at this point).

So I have deemed September Character Month – I’ll be doing a whole series reintroducing my characters, providing some much needed background, starting with what I consider to be the Main 7 at this point (Lars, Willa, Eliza, Jeff the Reindeer, Cleo, Dot, and Quincy).  The rest will fall in line.

Hopefully this will be helpful.  If it isn’t, well, then, I at least explored my characters a bit more and fleshed them out of bit.

I have a lot of them, I’ve discovered.  Like, more than I realized.  But it’ll be fun.

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Masks

The answer, Willa, is *SHRUG*

Seriously, folks.  Even though everything is starting to reopen, COVID-19 is still bouncing around out there.  So let’s not be stupid here.  Wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing.

Because if a guy with metal hands and maybe a gas mask face can do it, you have no excuse now, do you?

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Walrus Studies: Graduates

Actually had to double check I hadn’t done this one.

It’s been a while since we’ve a walrus study.

But hey!  Looks like our walrus friend and his red panda sidekick have graduated!  From now on, they are proud alumni of Miss Petra’s School for Tea Parties and Fun.

It’s a very exclusive school – only the best get in.

It’s been a bit rough, though, considering they’ve had to have virtual classes for the past couple of months, which really isn’t the same.  Hard to hold tea parties over video chat.  But they did it!

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