Young Stuff

Drawing – “Drawing” is a word for artists and thinkers and for people who at least have taken a “something-something 101.” I didn’t do that.

Instead I drew in every class except gym – on every review packet I received. Everything except statewide tests ’cause I feared statewide authority. I drew on paper placemats in restaurants and rarely cared for “Why’s our food taking so long” conversations. I drew during most weekend mornings and afternoons and faced downward a lot. It was always black pen or black sharpie. I liked the way paper pulled ink from me – this wasn’t a place for pencils. And if I messed up, I’d turn the page and start over ‘til I got it right.

I drew away most of my childhood and teen years. It taught me to hear people better, and I grew to hate predictable conversation. This is for that guy who said “Mad chill” all the time. Or for the whiny mom who overuses “Phenomenal.” Or those squeaky people who always said, “something-something-omigod.” Or the “Holy-shit-I-really-DO-hate-everything.”

I just listened and stayed dedicated to the paper. There was just so much time – so much idle time. A dull throb in my neck, and the lines I drew were a dull throb as well, but at least I was doing it to MYSELF. It was kind of like being ok with having a dislocated shoulder or popped-out hip. Drawing on these pages was wrong and weird and onlookers would peer over my shoulder and it’d make me cringe. The sensible ones raised their eyebrows and said, “Wow. You must be bored.” I always hated “Bored.” I stopped using it after I was 6 – it’s a waste. This wasn’t “being bored” – it was learning how to go with the flow. Also? I couldn’t sit still. Or relax after a meal. Or concentrate on a movie from start to finish. Or JUST SIT without eventually picking up a pen. And the conversations around me at the time weren’t particularly interesting or inviting enough. My willpower and degree of concentration in staying uninvolved amazed me and I was great at silencing 9/10 of who I was.

It made me great at thhhhhhhhhinking. I thought and imagined end results of my every move. And the things I DID do were always way too big and each of them later came back to fuck me over. And it made the idea of feeling things (good or bad) way too much for me to handle. A series of “I’ll just wait here ’til the bullshit goes away.” I sickly enjoyed how I’d waste away while everyone else giggled about beer and predictable movie lines. My brain grew with then useless knowledge of what separates a funny conversation from a cliché one. Made me conscious of how language/lingo changed year by year and how I should definitely stay on top of that shit, if I didn’t want to sound dated. I became conscious of the general rhythm of dialogue while also not really loving things or people anymore.

When I got nervous, I drew. It always tided me over from going through a full anxiety attack. I could tell if a person didn’t use his/her diaphragm when he spoke and judged him for it. I knew the difference between a nervous laugh and a real laugh. I could tell if a person was horribly uncomfortable with him/herself and I’d hate him for it cause it meant that people don’t change or heal. So I kept on drawing. It’s kept me very 2 dimensional and when I DID make a 3D appearance, I’d blush easily ‘cause these muscles were so rarely used and my guts would feel sunburned for long intervals of time. I hated when they said, “Enjoy life” because it’s vague and it made life sound like a crappy buffet restaurant (also people who enjoy things get fucked.) I never used the expression ’cause I learned that people don’t like hearing what they SHOULD be doing. And I didn’t want to enjoy life – I wanted it to beat me senseless ’til I got good.

Much later on, I got a new sketchbook with better pens and decided to make a rule that THIS one was only for people-and-face drawings. It worked, it’s working. I still hear everything you say, though, and know pretty much how you operate just by the noise you make.

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