Breathe Easy

What a wonderful feeling.

Saturday.

I was at work, doing what I needed to do, collecting books to be placed on hold, trying not to think about anything super hard.  I’m just about done when I hear this noise.  No idea where it came from, almost sounded like some kid that was either really upset or super excited (hard to tell sometimes).  I shrug, and wander into the back room to start processing books.

That noise was my boss.

And that was how I found out that Joe Biden won.

Honestly, right now my feelings are a bit more mixed than presented in the comic.  Characterwise, I’m sure Lars is breathing just fine.  And so am I.  It’s like 2020 decided to finally throw us a bone at the end of the year.  Kind of like a miracle.

And yet.

I’m still struggling with this deep down feeling of doubt.  Like, some lingering unease or anxiety lurking about.  What if something else happens?  What if things suddenly flip and What’s His Face manages to pull something off?

What if, what if, what if.

I want to be Lars here.  I want to be able to fully embrace this and just breathe without these under-feelings.  And I believe I can.  I need to take care of myself, though.  I need to make sure that I avoid falling down certain rabbit holes and winding myself up, period.

Then I can settle into this peace.  Hopefully.  And actually celebrate.

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.

Cars

I art so well.

Really, I try to avoid to draw anything with wheels.

Had a brief moment of panic this past week when my car decided to not start one morning.  Instantly thought this was gonna be Old Car all over again, with the added twist of “BUT I’M STILL TRYING TO PAY THIS CAR OFF HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME RAAAAGGGHHHH.”

Turned out, my car just needed to have a new battery.  It’s nice to have a car where someone mechanically inclined can actually pinpoint what’s wrong instead of being stumped.  Truly glorious.

Mistakes Were Made

How will I check Instagram 10 times an hour without it???

Yep.

Fell down a rabbit hole of election news for a good solid hour a few days ago.  Managed to get my heart rate/anxiety up.

On the plus side, this is the first time I’ve done that in ages.  And I don’t plan on doing it again soon.  Because I’m not actually learning anything or taking anything in.  Just worrying.

Therapist Hunting

It’s one way to handle the search.

I know what you’re all thinking.

And the answer is – yes, I really can’t draw dartboards.  Looks like I’ll have to add it the list, alongside cars.

In all seriousness, though, I do need a therapist to get my anxiety under control.  And I am in the process of looking for one.  It’s not as easy as I would’ve hoped, and it does honestly feel like I’m throwing darts at a dartboard hoping that one will stick.  I just don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Oh, and also I don’t know what Quincy is either.  I…just liked the way he looked.  So, here he is.

I seriously need to introduce some characters.  I still introduce Dot’s monster friends.  And get back to her storyline.

One thing at a time!

Right now: therapy.

4 AM

I stand by my statement in panel 2.

Yes, this comic was based on an idea I had when I woke up at 4 in the morning.  No, I didn’t write it down.  Just hoped that I would remember it by the time I got out of bed.  Like I always do.

Weathering the Storm of Anxiety

MUCH later.

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.

2020

Happy New Year, everyone!

There isn’t a new comic today (unfortunately).  But, with it being a brand new year and, heck, a brand new decade, I still wanted to pop in and post something.  More specifically, what I want to try and make happen this year.

So, here it is – Drew’s List o’ Goals for 2020.

1. Make it to the gym at least 3 times a week.  Weight loss tends to be one of the more common New Year’s Resolutions, and Lord knows it’s been one of mine for the past few years.  And, well, it really hasn’t…worked out.  So, maybe this is an easier, more concrete goal: get to the gym at least one more time a week.  And maybe watch what I eat more.  I’m a bored eater – I eat when there’s nothing else to do.  So I have to make the effort to watch what goes in my mouth more.

2. 10:00 – all electronics go OFF.  The laptop is easy enough.  The phone, on the other hand – that’s where I get in trouble.  I’ll end up falling down a rabbit hole and the next thing I know, it’s closing in on midnight, when I wanted to go to bed at 11.  So it’s time to make the attempt.  10:00 rolls around, and the phone is off.  Hopefully this’ll help with my sleeping habits as well.

3. Read read read READ.  Going along with the last one, it would probably behoove me to pick up a book and just decompress before I go to sleep.  But I also need to read more in general.  My book list is getting ridiculous.  I’ve got birthday/Christmas books lying around my room that haven’t been touched.  It’s kinda sad.  Also, I need to break into the myriad of cookbooks I’ve got lying around.  I love to look at them, but I really need to use them.

4. Explore more original characters.  This is probably the one goal that is most related to I Draw Walruses.  I’ve got all these ideas bouncing around in my head for new characters, some that have come about due to Inktober, and I want to get them out there.  So, that might be popping up here on IDW and my Instagram.  Now, Lars, Eliza, and everyone else – they aren’t going away.  Trust me.  Just want to give these new guys a bit of spotlight, that’s all.  Pretty sure that’s why I made this Christmas story about the Seasons.

5. WRITING.  UGH.  Another one I say every year.  And I barely make an effort to do so.  But I’m not letting go of it, because I know I need to do it.  Writing is a part of me, and I need to delve into it, to make sure my skills don’t just rust.  One of my professors straight up said that we will not write once we graduate – not unless we make the effort.

Damn.  He was right.

6. Let’s play some video games.  Bit of an odd one.  But there are video games that I want to try, and I just haven’t.  I could – but instead I end up doing what I always do.  YouTube and Reddit.  So maybe, when I get bored, I could try something else, like exploring some new games.  Or – again, a bit odd – watch some new shows?  Or at least catch up on some old ones.  I’m still in the second season of one show, and it just released it’s fourth, so I’m waaaaay behind.

And there we go.  Goals for the new year.  Not resolutions.  Goals.  I’ve got 12 months ahead of me to try and make these a reality.  Have to tell myself that.  But I’m looking forward to trying them out!

Here’s to 2020.  And here’s to making it an awesome year.

Ugh People

DREW’S HAVING FEELINGS

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.