With all that’s going on right now, we need to be cognizant of not just our physical wellbeing, but our mental health as well.
Case in point: when COVID-19 first settled stateside, I could not stop googling the news about it. I’d just have to. Next thing I know, it’s two hour later and I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of news articles and opinion pieces. The result? My anxiety would spike hardcore, and I needed to get all my thoughts out there and just vent and vent and vent (mostly to my parents, who are indeed saints for dealing with me), my mind a non-stop roller coaster of awful. And it would always be right before I’d go to bed. The worst time to have my brain running a hundred miles per hour.
I’m not promoting ignorance. At all. It is important to stay informed. But this is not being informed. This is me racing through internet pages and internalizing everything awful, then spewing it back out.
The fact is, I need to step back. For me to stay in one piece, I need to keep myself from this horrible habit. I’ve been trying – a few slip-ups here and there, but for the most part, I think I’ve done okay. I’ve learned that I need to redirect myself or physically hold myself back. I don’t know if it’s some weird OCD thing or not – I have not been diagnosed by a professional, so I really don’t want to classify it as such. But I do need to breathe, and back away from the Google, if I want to have any chance of coming away from the COVID-19 pandemic mentally together.
If reading the news helps keep your anxiety in check, great. Go for it. But I know that I can’t right now. Because I won’t get anything from it. My anxiety will just suffer.
So I will step back. Breathe. Knit. Draw. Whatever.
I need someone to do this to me in real life, just to stop the almost obsessive need to check the weather over and over and over again. ‘Cause it’s not going to change in the 30 seconds since I looked at it.
I may or may not have gotten caught in this awful cycle for a good 30 minutes a couple nights back. I may or may not have also cried out of frustration. My brain is a strange and terrifying place.
I am well aware that I have a very small audience.
A handful of people reading this blog, a slightly bigger handful following me on Instagram – not a whole lotta eyeballs looking at my work.
So, one of the things that I do find myself fantasizing about is gaining that audience, having people follow me and seeing what I do. And maybe, if I got big enough, I could even try and make this a career. I mean, that was the dream when I was younger, right? Professional cartoonist.
However – and this is a very BIG however – there are moments where I pause and say, “Do I want that? I mean – really?”
Because people, in my honest opinion, are terrifying.
They whine if you don’t do this. They can rip you apart if they so feel like it. They complain, spread rumors, drag your name through the mud, try to get you “cancelled” – again, all terrifying.
There is this YouTuber that I enjoy, Kurtis Conner. Nice enough guy, I like his commentary. He had a friend who said something stupid, and suddenly he got dragged into it simply by association, being the bigger name. Another artist who just released a generally well recieved cartoon pilot is facing people digging up dirt from when she was a teenager – stuff that she had already apologized for and was, overall, generally irrelevant.
And don’t get me started on the Pokemon community as of late. That’s more than enough to make me want to hide under my covers forever.
So right now, I’m feeling stuck in this odd place – wanting to get my name out there, and scared of what would happen if I do. Fun stuff, all around.
I’m going to keep chugging along and drawing, of course. But, man. People. Exhausting.
Still getting used to the new car, as you can see, even though it’s already been two months.
There have been times where I’m like “NO NO NO NOT AGAIN – oh, wait, it’s just my knee knocking against the paneling.” Or I tune into a certain sound and turn off my music to find out what it is, only to found out it was just a part of the song.
Clearly, still a bit traumatized from the Incorrigible Bastard.
I should’ve known what a handful you were going to be the moment that blasted clicking noise started.
It wasn’t too long after I’d gotten you – according to the blog, it was June of 2015. Just driving along – don’t remember where to – and suddenly, I heard this little click popping up every so often. At first I thought it was just the song on the radio. So I turned it off. And surprise, surprise, it was still there. Turns out it was the signal for the high beams flickering, even though they weren’t even on. Weird, but whatever.
Then everything started going wrong.
The radio started fritzing, to the point where it wasn’t even worth turning on anymore. Whenever I did turn my headlights, they would indeed flicker, making driving at night embarassing and me hoping and praying that I wouldn’t get pulled over. And of course, the stuttering. The worst part of all. You would pause, then go. Pause, then go. I was terrified I was going to get into some kind of accident.
And let’s not forget that one incident driving home from my friend Chelsea’s house. It was late, Panic! at the Disco was playing, I’m cruising along – and BOOM. All the lights go off. No sound. No nothing. And then everything just turns back on. It was short, granted, but good Lord. Apparently, you wanted to give me a heart attack.
We tried to figure out what was wrong. I’d drop you off at our friendly neighborhood car shop, the one that takes care of all our cars, and they’d find nothing. I felt like I was going crazy, like I was driving the Michigan J. Frog of cars, acting up just for me.
As it turns out, after some detective work, it was the key. The spare we’d give to the car shop worked find. The main key, the one I had, was warped, causing some kind of disconnect in the electrical system. So, we swapped it out. And suddenly, everything was fine. Perfect even. You kept driving along like this would never happen again.
Until it did.
Over and over and over and over and OVER again, for the next 4 years. The same things every single time. Flickering lights, malfunctioning radio, stuttering – and the damn clicking noise. And let’s not forget those nice moments where you wouldn’t even want to turn on. Always at the most inconvinient times, when I had to get somewhere or had to go home, you would decide, “Nah. Don’t feel like it. Sorry.” And then suddenly, you’d turn on. Like magic. Of course, everything had reset itself. Again.
Just – ARGH.
We tried. We really did. We replaced your battery so many times, and it would do the trick – for a few WEEKS, a few months if I was lucky. Then everything would start up again. Like clockwork.
And these past couple of months have officially been the final straw.
You were no longer reliable. You were some kind of demon car, hellbent on stranding me places, including my own house. I would cross my fingers and hope and pray that I could get to one place and back without something going wrong, which is something no one should have to do. Your air conditioning had decided to conk out. The CD player was making some god awful noise on a near consistent basis.
That Thursday, though. That Thursday when you left me high and dry in the Chipotle parking lot – that was it. That was the moment where I couldn’t drive you anymore. That was the moment I threw up my hands and said, “I give up. I need a new car.” You were just too far gone.
And so, I did.
Get a new car, that is.
He’s truly a beauty. A 2016 Ford Focus. Silver. Perfect condition. Everything works, from the AC to the CD player.
Does he have heated seats? No. A sunroof? Not really. But do I need those things. No. I need a car that get me from Point A to Point B without giving me a migraine.
So with that, I can say, I’m done with you.
I’m done with the CD player that hasn’t worked in months, that would keep CDs trapped until it decided to spring back to life. I’m done with the air conditioning that no longer functions, forcing me to roll down my windows so I don’t show up looking like a drowned, sweaty rat. I’m done with the stuttering that probably made me look like an incompetent boob behind the wheel. I’m done with all the lights going on and off, with that stupid, awful clicking noise that will probably haunt my dreams and has caused me to jump at any single noise my new car makes.
And most of all, I’m done with you not wanting to do what you were made to do: turn on, and get me places. That’s it. I know I don’t go to a lot of places, but I still need to get there. And you can’t do that anymore.
So. Here you are. Sitting like a lump at the end of the driveway. All my stuff is cleaned out. The license plates have been removed. And I am more than ready for you to go.
I remember driving you off that car lot up in Maryland and being absolutely terrified. My grandpa and stepgrandmother paid 7000 dollars for you – in cash – and suddenly, you were mine. I had to drive you all the way back home, and I was so worried that I’d get into some kind of accident or get hideously lost.
But we made it home in one piece, and thus began our 4 year long journey that has now resulted in you absolutely refusing to work at all.
Not that we haven’t had some good times together. You were there for me when I went job hunting. You were there for me when I managed to snag an interview and got the library page position, after failing to get it the first time. You were there when I got the job I have now.
You were there when I managed to make the friends I have now. You got me to places, helped me meet up with them, and now here I am, with a good solid friend group that is truly some kind of miracle. And I thank you for that, really.
What? No, I didn’t draw my car as a person because I can’t draw cars. Where would you ever get that idea from?
But yes. My car has become nothing more than one huge headache. I’m just done with it at this point. It gets me to one spot, then decides to not turn on at all, then magically works again, then dies again. The radio’s gotten spotty, the CD player likes to eat my CDs, there’s that stupid clicking sound, the lights won’t stop flickering – it’s a mess. A bloody, bloody mess. And I frankly don’t trust it anymore.
So it’s been decided: I need to get a new car, pronto. Hopefully this weekend. We’ll see. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? No, of course not. But it needs to happen.
I am just so ready to send this car off to the junk heap, I can’t even begin to tell you.
Dryer decided to start making terrifying noises last week, pretty much signalling the end. No one wants to turn it one and risk the life of their laundry, so it’s time to find a new one. Whee.
As I still needed to do my own laundry, though, I had one of two choices: either wait for the new dryer and run out of socks, or wash it all and figure out the drying situation as it arose.
Needless to say, I went with the second option. And, well, it has involved a bit of ingenuity – and taking over of certain spaces (guest room, older brother’s vacated bedroom) – but hey, I’ve gotten it all done! So I now have clean, and most importantly dry, clothes. A little stiff. But clean.