Two years ago, early in the year of 2017, I sat in one of my last few classes of my Undergraduate career. Bored, and uninterested in the class, I picked up a pen for the first time in a few years. I had previously become frustrated with art, and wrote it off, but at this time of my life, I was particularly frustrated with the current state of my life, and drawing it out seemed to be the only option that made sense.
Slowly, and almost out of nowhere – this little doodle emerged. Though it is rather basic, and rather “Pinterest-esque,” as I am ashamed to admit, at the time it said exactly what it was that I needed to say. This phrase had recently been spoken over me, and though the phrase was meant as a high compliment, the lips that uttered it felt more like a downfall than a proud moment. The phrase “You are you,” signifies the lack of ability to explain what and how I meant to someone. This speechlessness was meant to compliment me in the way that what I meant to this person could not simply be described, because I, myself, and all that I encompass meant too much to envelope in a few phrases and adjectives. “You are you,” simply means; who you are is what I love, and there are no better words to describe that.
For the past two years, my pens have not left my bag, and I write down every inspiration that hits me. To my embarrassment and dismay, a lot of my inspiration still comes from the same frustrating and heartbreaking source, but the way in which it is now channeled is far more poignant and direct. The subject matter is strewn across my art, and will most likely remain this way until the day when I finally let go.
Following in the same floral, and safe suit, and still being mentally checked out of college, this guy was born. Alligators and crocodiles alike are my most favorite existence, so he only made sense, but I needed the party hat, to make sure that he didn’t make so much sense that he was just typical.
I wasn’t fully ready to dive into my emotions and unleash what was screaming inside of me, so quirky reptiles had to suffice for the time being.
In class, yet again, this one hurt to produce. I had posted it to my Instagram and captioned it as, “Drown in your memories of me.” I vividly remember that there was a strong sense of yearning when the inspiration hit me. However, contradictory to most sense of yearning, I was not wanting something, I was not searching for something – I wanted to be forgotten. The words “forget me not,” were rebellious, because I did not want the other party to forget me in order to strike pain within them; pain because of what they did to me, and how we could not turn back time, and pain that they had memories burning in their mind and they were cursed to remember me forever. Me, however, wanted to be forgotten, to be left alone, to be allowed to move on. Ultimately, I wanted him to drown in regret, but I no longer wanted to be loved by someone who had no right to do so.
This time of my life was characterized by such frustration, that everything I produced I had serious and sad undertones.
Something about me that is important to know, is that I have the hardest time saying goodbye and closing the door on those that I love. Despite the pain and trouble that not saying goodbye was myself and my current relationship, I never shut the door. With each foolish phone call, and answered text, I dug my grave deeper, and intensified my pain and confusion by a ten-fold. The phrase “you are you,” began to feel like a weighted possession, not a means in which I could fly from, because what was possessing me was not something that I could have or should have possessed. Each phone call became more serious, but with each one I felt like I was in need to figuratively check my pulse (as shown here), because I was killing myself slowly. I was a hamster on a wheel, exhausting myself and running to nowhere.
Yet another drawing driven by a forbidden past relationship. I remember feeling like a derailed train; fighting my own insanity and attempting to get myself back on track.
It has been five years since I first started saying this phrase, and two years since I drew this – yet the phrase “thank you for being you,” feels like poison on my tongue. What a beautiful sentiment; thank you for existence… thank you for being exactly the way you are… thank you for being who you are to me. Yet it is a bitter pill to swallow. My mouth feels dry as I think about it, and the words get stuck in my throat as I try to swallow it back, as I try to forget about it, as I try to attempt to pretend that the phrase means nothing to me.
Following drawing this, I posted it to my Instagram and explained this moment as this, “Lately, I have felt a bit like a derailed train. Typically, I am collected, and calm, but as of late I have been frazzled, impulsive, and have had difficulty focusing. Sometimes people from our past come back, and sometimes this feels more like a haunting than a homecoming. Sometimes this derails us; sometimes this causes us to regret memories and actions we never thought we would. Sometimes, the “thank you’s” we used to give have changed, or need to change to “no’s” and “goodbyes.”
It has been two years, and I am still working on this. Old habits die hard.
Make my messes matter, make this chaos count”
Sleeping at Last

This inspiration came from a sudden realization that perhaps I was making my own struggles more difficult than they needed to be. As seen here, the astronaut is carelessly causing the planets to collide; in his own fashion, on his own accord. I had said, “though I may not be the one to tip the first domino, I do not always stop the rest from falling.” In some cases, we make our lives, and therefore our own messes, yet we still want to stand in the storm and wonder where it came from. We often want to talk about the weather, but continue to not carry an umbrella.
“Drunk on memories we should forget”
I am eternally sober. Losing control of myself through the means of substances has never been who I am, and I think that is surely a good thing as I am far too emotional sober as it is. With this being said, it does not mean that I have not been on the receiving end of other’s lack of sobriety, and certainly, others indulgence. I stayed up until about 2 AM, finishing this, the same night the idea came to me. I was mentally and emotionally drained, and feeling what I would imagine “drunk” would feel like, because I felt like I was watching myself make decisions. I felt like I was having an out of body experience; I felt shaky, confused, and unsure – I did not feel like me. My body felt wasted away, hence the use the skeleton, because I felt nonexistent to myself. I felt like I was not walking, I was clamoring, and my words were running together incoherently – but I was still physically sober, my mind was simply drudged with countless emotions, and a feeling of nostalgia that was weighing me down.
The place in which these feelings rooted from, came directly from the nostalgic factor himself. He said, “the bottle is a time capsule,” and each time he drank he reached out to me, but insisted it was merely fits of nostalgia that should have no occurred. I would have been more likely to believe his statement if it was a one time, or even a two-time occurrence, not every week, or twice a week. After a while, I had to come to terms with the fact that the bottle was telling more of the truth than he was, and I needed to swallow the uncomfortable bitter pills that he was feeding me.
11:45 PM
When nostalgia takes over, and you’re no longer reminiscing; you’re acting. Acting without thinking that is. This is a portrait of regret, passion, and undeniable conviction.
As I was filled with embarrassment and disbelief, I recognized the need to let go and change my mindset, as well as the state of my heart. My entire body felt like a roadmap. A roadmap that’s only destination was to somewhere destructive. My mindset was transfixed on what I longed for, but what I longed for was not healthy for me.
My degree is in Psychology, so I know full well that what you think makes or breaks you, and I was fully allowing it to break me. In a zombie like state, I was allowing an inside, as well as an outside force control my every movement, and I allowed myself to become so powerless to it’s desires and new habits. When I love, I love hard, and for longevity purposes, so rewiring my usual love tactics felt like pulling teeth – but I was under the direct affects of this as the teeth that were being pulled were mine. So even if I couldn’t feel it, or fully get on board with it, I put up a “no vacancy” sign on my heart, because what had taken residence within me was no longer welcome. There was a pin drop in my brain, because they remained in my thoughts – I was attempting to be realistic, but my heart… no, my heart could no longer house them. Letting go is an every day process I have learned, but learning that my life, my emotions, and my thoughts are not on a loop, but instead are an exclusive and vast roadmap, gives me hope that I can discover something new and something worthwhile, if I only stay focused.
“Marsh and Garden”

Marsh and Garden represents a place that I was at, quite literally, the summer of 2017, as well as a place that represents me as a person that year. When I was drawing this, I was also saying the type of “I love you,” that means goodbye, and I was being thrown off guard with revelations of life that forced me to grow – this place, this drawing, is representative of that. The definition of marsh is, “an area of low lying land that is flooded in wet seasons, and typically remains waterlogged at all times.” For a majority of that year, I had felt this way. I felt trapped underneath and within the heaviness of life, and unable to escape my own mind long enough to leave the current situation. The garden is self explanatory. It represents what and who I was fighting to become; what I was growing through. It represents the desire to leave the dense, marsh like expressions, and to instead bloom and flourish into somebody new. Somebody that other people may not recognize, but someone that I was more proud of. In June of 2017, when I stood underneath the “Marsh” and “Garden” street signs, I did not yet comprehend their juxtaposition, nor did I internalize what they would mean for me. Shortly after, however, I saw the lesson that life was teaching me. In the moment, I was standing within the murky, marsh like state, but I left there hopeful that I could now grow into something more.
Truthfully, it took me until recently to truly flourish in the way that I was hoping to do then. I know, sometimes I can be quite the slow learner. I moved from trying to leave the area of visiting the marsh area, to fully living in it. I had to hit rock bottom to truly grow, and now I think I am finally blooming.
“Mixed Emotions”

This may be one of my most important drawings, as simple as it is. It is so important to me that it takes up the majority of my forearm in the form of a tattoo, which I got in December of 2018.
People have often asked me where the inspiration for this came from. The story is less exciting than I am sure people want, but it is the truth. I was driving to a location for work, and feeling particularly tired from life, as I was trailing slowly behind a concrete truck. I have always had a fascination with concrete trucks, as I enjoy their size as well as their functionality. Feeling my heavy amount of emotions, and the contradictions within them, I watched the truck spin and mix, and the phrase “mixed emotions” came to me, as I somehow began to compare myself to a concrete truck.
“You Felt like Home to Me”

There is a song by Tall Ships, called “Home,” that resonated with me heavily, and also inspired this drawing, as well as a period self-loathing while I listened to it on repeat. The lyrics are as such:

Hey, you’re back again
I tried my best to pretend
That I was not waiting for your call
It was a pleasant surprise and that was all
So I got dressed up in my Sunday best
But I wasn’t prepared for the punch to my chest
When you walked in and I first saw your face
A familiar vision with a newfound grace
Then you ask how I’ve been
And I do the same
Though years have passed
It feels like nothing’s changed
We all know nostalgia is toxic and dangerous
That it poisons the heart smothers and enslaves us
It’s clear to the both of us
That something rare was lost
But what it is we can’t define
These feelings though cloaked in dust
They never came to rust
Over the years and years of longing for you
‘Cos your love took hold
A dead weight within my soul

Finding the feeling of home within someone else seems ideal for any relationship, as it encapsulates the sense of belonging and comfort. Yet, finding home within someone is dangerous and tricky, as homes can be abandoned, destroyed, and in need of updating and revision. Through this, I have discovered that we must feel a sense of home, and a strong sense of comfort within ourselves, and within the areas that we can control, because when another entity decides it is time to pick up, leave, and move on; there is the potential that you will be left emotionally stranded. There is the potential for your heart to now be out of body and transient, being far more exposed and homeless than before.

In a way that is not intentionally symbolic in a religious form, yet entirely symbolic of the Garden of Eden all at the same time, apples, and the various forms of them was an inside joke of the relationship that I often draw from for inspiration. I often thought of captioning this, “You have Been Corrupted,” or, “Don’t Let one Bad Apple Spoil the Whole Bunch, Girl.” Both would be fitting, yet I let it speak for itself, instead of giving it a title.
The idea was an apple rotting; completely eaten away, and essentially now useless to it’s original function. It wasn’t the relationship that I felt was rotting away, but the person themselves; which made it far more heartbreaking to watch them disintegrate than it was to watch us melt away.
“Finally Saying Goodbye to your Ghost (hopefully)”

It wasn’t goodbye, but one can hope, right?

This was an emotional, and relational death, not a physical one – though at the time, it felt like I was being ripped in two. The words on the headstone were actual words that were said to me, that diminished my role in someone else’s life, and crushed my very hopeful spirit for us and who we were to one another. Though they were spoken as a defense mechanism, and as a means of self-preservation, they still shattered me nonetheless. The history had to be “buried,” they said, and our story needed to be rewritten. They were talking about a lie. They were talking about lying about who we were, what we experienced, and the closeness between us, and why it existed. I was suddenly fading out of my own story. As toxic and as dangerous as we were together, I could not come to terms with lying about it; with lessening us just to appease others. So, we chose secrecy instead, our story would remain ours, and only ours. Just like all the other times, we chose to say “goodnight,” instead of “goodbye” because goodbye was too permanent, and it was as if they were forgetting that they were asking to be buried like a burial isn’t permanency; and in this moment I knew that we could never actually bury this.
“I Want my Cake and to Eat it Too”

You can have your cake and eat it too – I had been doing it for awhile. The problem with this selfishness, however, is that eventually the cake gets sale, or your arm gets tired from moving the fork back and forth to feed the addiction. The main problem is, having your cake and eating it too, is selfish beyond measure. Selfishness breeds loneliness, and who wants to eat cake alone?

“Emptying Bottles into an Already Empty Soul”

For those that are struggling with addiction, please take it seriously, and take the pleas of your loved ones to heart. For those that are struggling with someone else’s addiction; please show them grace and understanding, always meet them with love, and especially meet them with consistent accountability.
“How did I let you let me, make a fool of myself” – The Band Camino

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