Haircuts

The horror...
The horror…

Okay, so this might be exaggerating things a little bit.  But the point still stands: I hate haircuts.  Didn’t always, but somewhere in the past decade, getting my hair cut has morphed into this weird, anxiety inducing event.  Thing is, I’ve been going to the same barber shop for years.  But it’s still the same thoughts everytime.  Like, are they going to screw it up?  Are the barbers going to try to make conversation with me?  What if they almost shave my head (it’s happened)?  And why are all these guys with like half an inch of hair here?!  They look fine!  (The answer might be because I get my hair cut on an army post, so these guys need to keep their hair all regulated and such, but still).

And these thoughts only get worse the longer I have to sit there.  Like yesterday, when my mom and I walk into the barber shop to see this whole crowd of people who had decided to brave the freezing rain at 11 AM to get their hair cut.  It’s always best to just get in, get it done and over with, then flee.  Waiting will only prolong the inevitable.

Sometimes, I wish I could just skip the barber shop altogether.  The only problem is my hair.  I literally can’t do anything with it except let it grow out and become super fluffy, so eventually, it needs to be cut.  So, I have to suck it up and just get it done.  Especially for job interviews, of which I have one today.  So it REALLY needed to be done.  (Side note: job interview, yay!  And AAAGH!)

In short, haircuts.  I hate ’em, but they need to happen.  Oy.

Florence Nightingale…ish

The fine line between "I'll do anything for you" and "GERMS."
The fine line between “I’ll do anything for you” and “GERMS.”

I’d like to think I’m more number 1 than 2.  Although, I think the extent of my nursing is continually asking the person if they’re okay until they try to launch something at my head.

Also, is it just me, or is there something inherently sad about having a sick parent?  My mom came down with a 24 hour stomach bug yesterday, and watching her slow down to a shuffle and sounding like she gargled sandpaper was kinda depressing.  Like, she’s not supposed to get sick.  She’s my mom.  She’s supposed to be the strong one taking care of everyone else.  It’s wrong, I tell you, wrong!

Art School: Critiques

Ouch.
Ouch.

One of the hardest parts of art school, hands down, were the critiques.  Nothing says fun quite like showing your artwork to the entire class and professor, only to then get it picked apart while you try to put a smile on your face and not melt into a puddle of despair right there and then.  No, I’d save that for my room, where I could sob into a burrito and watch Chopped for 5 hours straight, wondering why I was such a failure at art.  The professors would say that it was necessary for us as artists to grow and to learn, and all that good stuff.  It still hurt.  Every piece of art is an extension of the artist’s soul, in a way, so to have it get criticized – yeah, it cut deep.  I did go to Virginia Commonwealth Art School, which was pretty competitive, both for the students and the staff (which really should have been my first clue that I was in for a rough time, me being about as competitive as a marshmallow), so I guess people were expected to be this level of critical.  Maybe.  (I also think that some people were simply trying to show off to the professor, like “Look at me!  I can be super duper critical!”  I may have been that guy once or twice.  After all, you were based on giving critiques…)

This critique here was in fact based on a critique I got on a final project in one of my classes Freshmen year.  I can’t remember exactly what she said – I think I pretty much blocked most of it out (I did NOT call her a bitch, though – out loud).  What I do remember was that it followed me around for the entire summer, as did most of the critiques from my Freshmen year of college.  Let me tell ya, it stung.  Bad.  Bad to the point where I actually could not draw at all.  No joke.  My mother had to bribe me to draw, which I know sounds super pathetic, but it’s the truth.  I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up a pencil on my own.

The more I think about it, I honestly think that for me personally, art school did more harm than good.  Now I’m not saying that I didn’t get anything out of it – I did finally break my stupid sketchy line habit, and was able to try a bunch of different things that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  But, yeah, as a whole, for me, it was pretty soul crushing.  I couldn’t sleep at night, and fell into some pretty dark places, mentally and emotionally (nothing says fun quite like curling up in a fetal position and crying at 3 AM over my homework).   I legitimately started to hate everyone – I remember this one moment in February of 2011, sitting in my video project class, watching people sobbing over some video about a lion and thinking, “I really, really don’t want to be here, with any of these idiots anymore.”  Plus, whenever I went home for breaks, I did not want to go back to college.  I wanted to stay home and hide under my bed until next summer.

And not only could I not draw in my spare time without being incredibly self critical, I stopped caring about art period.  It was like, “Oh look.  Another assignment to get done.  Woo hoo.”  And that scared me.  I was always the art kid, taking art classes throughout my entire middle/high school career, talking about being a cartoonist or illustrating children’s books some day.  So to suddenly just say “Screw It” to what was essentially my whole life was terrifying.  When it didn’t get any better once I got into the art department I wanted Sophomore year (Communication Arts), I knew that I had to get out of there.  Especially after a professor (that I was scared of and couldn’t actually learn anything from) pulled me aside and told me that I was borderline D-level in his class.

So I did.  I switched into the English department, and things got…better.  A lot better, actually.  I got to read more, and focus on my writing skills, which I had wanted to do for while.  Although, I did have this weird habit of seeing people lugging their portfolios through campus and thinking, “Oh, God, art students.  Yeesh.”  Like I was better than them or something, for having gotten out of there when I did, while they were stuck there.  Also, I still couldn’t bring myself to draw, telling people that I was on a “break” from art.  And I did get this nauseous feeling everytime I passed any of the Arts buildings.  So even though I got out of there, art school still managed to follow me around.

It’s been long enough now that I’ve been able to distance myself from art school me and start drawing again.  The little voices from the critiques have thankfully shut up to the point where I can’t even remember who said what.  Thinking about them still hurts a little, though, in the sense of feeling that initial pain from the critiques.  But now, it’s all good for the most part.  And I do look forward to seeing where this drawing thing takes me in the future, now that I’m able to think about it clearly for the first time in ages.

Eye See You

I apologize in advance for any nightmares this may cause.
I apologize in advance for any nightmares this may cause.

This came from a memory that randomly popped into my head from 8th Grade.  I was drawing a cartoon character during Civics class, and for some reason, I showed it to this girl named Erin, asking her, “What do you think?”

She answered with, “I don’t know, what’s up with her eyes?” (Or something along those lines.)

Looking back on it, I have tried to give my cartoon characters realistic looking eyeballs, to some extent.  And they have always turned out to be TERRIFYING looking.  Almost anime-esque, and not in a good way, especially since I hated it when people compared my cartoons to actual anime, which I saw as an insult, for some reason.  It also seemed kind of forced and unnatural, like I was trying too hard and change my art immediately instead of letting it evolve naturally.  Those eyes always were way out of place with everything else I was drawing and, as seen here, really weird and wonky (maybe not this wonky, but close).  So, I’ve pretty much stuck with what I know – the “line eye.”  I love cartooning, and it just works within this particular medium.

Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where my eyes will change.  But when it does, it will happen on its own without me having to force it too much.  Personally, I’m impressed with how far my comics have come to begin with, since they started out with dots for eyes AND noses, and crosses for arms WAAAAAY back in the day (like, 18 years ago).  And now I just made myself feel very, very old.  Hoo boy.

So yeah, for now, I’ll stick with the line eye.

Adulting: Snow Day

So much snow.  So much.
So much snow. So much.

I love Winter.  I’ve always thought there was something magical about this time of year.  Whether it’s the cold, or the low grey skies against the naked branches of the trees, or the possibility of snow blanketing everything in soft whiteness – I just love Winter.  And when all these elements align, it feels as though the world is as it should be.  Which is why when December rolls around, I stay glued to the Weather Channel, hoping that we will get at least SOME snow, or at least the temperatures will stay low.  Whenever a warm day does manage to sneak in here and there, it feels as though the world is about to end.

This winter, we’d had a couple of small snow falls – 2 to 3 inches – but nothing really huge, unlike what they’re getting up in Boston (think warm thoughts!).  I was still looking forward to that one big snowfall, the one where schools get cancelled for most of the week, the one where people break out the shovels and snowblowers – as long as we have one, I am pleased (unlike the winters of 2012 and 2013, which I consider to be fails).  This week, I finally got my wish – a good 6 inches of snow fell in Northern Virginia (my neck of the woods)!  Whoo hoo, snow day!

BUT.

This time, it was different.  I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy it.  No no no.  This time I had to be the one to break out the shovel and broom to dig out my car and help my mother clear the driveway before the snow became too cold and stiff to move. And since the temperature has been in the teens for the most of the week, the snow wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and would have be dealt with eventually.

Sweet merciful Neptune, it was hard work.  I can see why my mom always worries about my dad when he’s done it in the past (he’s spent the week in Arizona, so…).  Clearing off the cars was easy enough, but just trying to get through all that snow…it was rough.  Thankfully, our very nice neighbor lent a hand with his (somewhat glitchy) snowblower, but still, there was a ton of snow still there.  I actually sweated quite a bit, which I really didn’t think was possible in that cold of temperature.  By the end of it, I was ready to collapse on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and not move ever again.

All part of being an adult, I suppose.  Having to do something that you don’t want to do but have to do or else (again).  Still love snow, and am really glad that my mom and I were able to dig ourselves out before too long, but – oh my gosh.  So much snow to dig through.  Just, so much.

Graduation Fun

Yeesh.
Yeesh.

This picture pretty much speaks for itself.  I was expecting to take the world by storm immediately after graduating from college.  Instead I ended up holing up in my room watching YouTube for 10 hours straight mired in my own depression/anxiety.  So much fun.

I’ve gotten better though, thankfully.  And I do have this blog to thank for that, giving me some semblance of a schedule and deadlines to work with, as well as making me do something besides being sucked into the Internet.  So, yay, blog!

Adulting: Pumping Gas

As you can see, it's a bit cold outside.
As you can see, it’s a bit cold outside.

I thought pumping gas would be harder than it actually is, which is kind of why I put it off until I started up my car yesterday and thought, “Uh oh,” followed by the thought of me sobbing on the side of the road with an empty gas tank.  Never a good thought, trust me.

Turns out, it’s super easy.  You swipe a card, press a few buttons, open up the gas tank thing, shove in the nozzle, and wait for that sweet, sweet fuel to fill up your car.  The hardest part of this whole experience was simply the fact that it was FREEZING outside.  Like, single digit temperatures with arctic winds blasting me in the face as I scramble to open up the gas tank with gloves on.  Truly, that was the part that made me feel like a grown up – not wanting to go outside, but realizing that you have to or else.  Besides, I needed to make sure that my car would actually run in this cold weather and not just sit there until I need to use it again (oh, God, I do sound like a grown up.  Holy crap).

Also, again, cars are stupidly hard to draw.  I tried to include my own Selena (name of my car) here, but no.  Not happening.

Happy Singles’ Awareness Day

To be honest, I think I'd be terrified if I saw a flying walrus holding a bow and arrow.
To be honest, I think I’d be terrified if I saw a flying walrus holding a bow and arrow.

I love holidays – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, even Halloween to a certain extent.  I love that season, that feeling that keeps building up to the special day where everything comes together in one magical explosion of fun.  However, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I have a tendency of just being like, “Eh.”  Or, like this year, completely forgetting about it until I walked into Giant and thought, “What’s with all of the hearts and the pink and the red…oh.”

I’ve never had a reason to celebrate it, having been single my entire life and (*gasp*) never having actually been on a date period.  So in my book, it becomes just another day on the calendar.  At this point in my life, I have come to terms with my chronic singleness and am quite okay with flying solo.  Dating and relationships in general, from what I can see, take a crap ton of work, and looking back at it, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite ready to take that plunge for a variety of reasons (shyness, school work, etc.).  In fact, imagining myself attempting to have a relationship in either high school or college (ESPECIALLY Freshman year, in both cases), makes me shiver.  I definitely was not mature enough in either case to try to tackle this whole dating thing, and with college, my mindset was all over the place, to the point where I was driving myself insane.  Really could not imagine trying to drag someone through all that with me.

Right now, I’m still trying to work a few things out.  I want to focus on getting a job, saving up some money, figuring out what I want to do with my life – that sort of thing.  Maybe someday I’ll give dating a whirl, but for right now, I’m okay with the single life.  It’s all good.

But hey, to all of those out there who are planning on spending the day with that special someone, Happy Valentine’s Day.  Go out and enjoy yourselves.  Take a romantic stroll through the park, have a fancy dinner, watch out for flying Cupid walruses who might be taking aim with a bow and arrow.  Have some fun.

And for those of you who are like me, Happy Singles’ Awareness Day.  Go buy yourself some chocolate and a Chipotle burrito and stay in to watch some Netflix.  No reason not to enjoy yourselves either.

Although I’d still advise you to watch out for those Cupid walruses – those buggers are heavy.

Drawing Woes 2: Electric Boogaloo

Feel free to marvel at those thumbs.
Feel free to marvel at those thumbs.

It’s the same thing every time: I finish a drawing, sit back to gaze upon my artistic genius – then notice that everything has somehow ended up crooked or floating and try not to throw my sketchbook at a wall.

Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that I have a tendency of working on a not-so-flat surface (bracing my sketchbook on my knees, hunched over on the couch).  My point still stands though – it’s annoying.