Friday, May 5, 2017

Alive and Well in Sunny Stevens Point

Surprise! A spontaneous blog post coming to you all after nearly six years. A whole lot has happened the last time this sisters blog saw any action. I'm writing this now from my bed in Stevens Point, where I will soon graduate from the university! I have a lot of conflicting feelings about finally being done with a decade and a half's worth of school. I went from Rossman Elementary School to Central Middle School to Hartford Union High School to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to pursue something I have always enjoyed--art! Of course, with the added bonus of a philosophy degree. School is all I know. My summers have always ended with an impatience to get back in the classroom for something more to do. I worry a lot that when I graduate I'll be extremely bored and lose contact with everyone. I panic about that. A lot. But! I am hopeful, since I currently do quite a few things separate from school. Two jobs--a teller at UWCU and a caretaker for a disabled man--and odd-end tasks, mostly art related. 

My goals after graduation are as follows: make a website to display my portfolio and contact information for commission inquiry, along with prices; create alluring business cards advertising my art services; pay off one of my loans before interest develops; move into my new apartment with my boyfriend of five years; work on living a more sustainable lifestyle that includes producing little waste and eating well (local, organic, fair trade--the good shit!); lastly, finish this dang comic that's been sitting on my desk for a while that I'm working on with a writer from Kentucky (funnily enough, a good friend of my current philosophy professor and advisor). I went to a panel recently at C2E2 (Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo) and the speaker said two things that really stood out to me: "Money makes people funny" and "What do you want and what are you willing to do to get it?"

It's weird to think now that I have my whole life ahead of me when I graduate. I mean, I've always had my whole life ahead of me, I've tried not to think of school not falling into the category of "the real world," but it just feels different. School changes a lot of things in a person's life; I'm not just talking about ideologies and goals, but when you're taking classes you work less, do fewer hobbies, do more homework. Without having to dread getting up early for classes and having to complete what I've always seen as "busy work," I have more time for things I enjoy! ...Right? Or am I just lying to myself? Worst case scenario, and what I think is actually the scarily common scenario, is that I'm working constantly and outside work I'm too brain-dead to care about doing anything else. My fear is that nothing really changes, because I've always had enough time to engage in my hobbies--I just wasn't making the time.

"What do you want...
and what are you willing to do
to get it?"

I'm worried that besides changing dramatically over the years in a lot of ways, a lot of my bad habits have consistently stuck with me. Mostly that includes procrastinating and not following through on the "harder" goals. I find myself saying frequently, "When the weather gets warmer I'll do ____," "When I graduate I'll do ____," "When I move into my new place I'll do ____," "When it's summer I'll do ____." It's infuriating! Why am I constantly putting off what I see as "the good life"? Excuses, excuses, excuses. (Heidi emailed me a wonderful reading on developing good habits...I just have yet to read it.)

Some wonderful things that have happened to me though, let's talk about that. I made a Postcrossing account, where for every postcard you send, you receive one in return. I have about thirty now, from countries like Poland, Germany, Russia, India, and China! This is a hobby I started in winter, to keep my spirits high while I was stuck inside all day and it got dark at 4pm. I also signed up for a membership with the Letter Writers Alliance. I sent all the letters I could to immediate friends and family, with few replies, so I decided it would be cool to have a penpal. I have four currently; Gi from the UK, Prya from Singapore, Claire from Boston, and Eathon from Arkansas. Sometimes it takes a while to get a reply and maybe even longer to send a reply out, but I've felt few feelings better than looking in my mailbox and receiving a letter or postcard. I love getting creative with my postcards and putting a lot of effort into them so the receiver really feels like they've gotten something special:

Art has never been more important to me in my life than right now. I'm more excited about discovering different illustrators and comics than ever before. My book shelf is rapidly filling up with comics of all varieties. My most recent purchases have been: Low Vol. 3, Smut Peddler, Chester Vol. 2, Saga Vol. 7, The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, and The Sleep of Reason. I've also been drawing constantly, which is some bizarre phenomena. Honestly, I have no idea what has come over me! I felt very conflicted for a while calling myself an artist because I was never doing any art, and even the projects for my classes were half-assed, thrown together with little thought right before the deadline to get the grade. I started doodling constantly in class though to help focus my mind while busying my hands. I started to improve too, and get more ideas for illustrations.

It feels great to be passionate about something, be it drawing, reading comics, writing and sending letters, or eating good food, it feels good to have drive again. There's a gigantic pile of dirty laundry on my bed next to me currently and I have tons of things to complete in between two jobs before the semester ends, but I am doing just fine. Alive and well! And it is a beautiful, sunny day in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.